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Old 05-21-2018, 10:34 PM   #1
jblaser
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West Lake Lean-to #2, West Canada Lakes Wilderness

Does anyone have any information or even photos of the lean-to? I plan on heading in there this summer. Not sure which route is preferable - from the west or from the south. Any information, advice or ideas would be appreciated. Thanks!
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Old 05-22-2018, 12:18 PM   #2
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I have no photos but it is a nice spot- open views of the lake and lots of big rocks to lounge on. It's a much better location than lean-to #1, which is set way back from the water and right on the trail, if I remember right. It's been about 8 years since I've been there.

There are a few lean-to's fairly close to this one that are, in my opinion, even nicer camping locations. The lean-to on South Lake is about a mile or so from this one and in my opinion is one of the best in this area- South Lake has a beautiful sandy beach and great swimming. Lean-to#3 on Cedar Lake is also quite nice- it has a dock and an amazing sunrise view to the east. This one is about 3 miles away to the east I think. A couple wiles to the west is Brooktrout Lake, and the lean-to is great even though it is set back from the water and faces away- the fireplace is built against a huge rock that reflects the heat back into the lean-to- perfect on a chilly fall night. There are rocks to lounge down by the water to enjoy the loons and beautiful setting.

Keep in my mind that all of these lean-to's, except for Brooktrout Lake, are right on the Northville Placid Trail, and so see a significant amount of use. That said, I have stayed at each of these mid-week in the summer before and had them all to myself. I've also been there at times and had a group of ten people pull up at sunset and take the spot over.

As for access, I think coming in from the south via the Pillsbury Mt trailhead would be the shortest route, although not by much. Coming from this way, you have the option to stop at the Pillsbury Lake and Sampson Lake lean-to's at 3 and 5 miles, roughly, if you get tired or a late start. Either way you choose, it's a beautiful area. Enjoy.
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Old 05-22-2018, 12:19 PM   #3
Justin
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West Lake lean-to #2 is the nothern lean-to near the outlet.
It is set back off the lake a bit behind some trees, but a short
walk down to the sandy shore. The quickest access is from
the Brooktrout Lake trailhead off Indian Lake Rd in the Moose
River Plains, but the French Louie Loop beginning & ending at
the Pillsbury Mountain trailhead is an extremely fun loop with
lots to see.

West Lake lean-to #1 is much nicer in my opinion, and is much
more popular as it is just off the NPT. Here's a couple photos...


West Lake lean-to #2:




View from West Lake lean-to #1:




Nat. Geo. Map:


Last edited by Justin; 05-22-2018 at 12:30 PM..
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Old 05-22-2018, 12:26 PM   #4
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Thanks so much for the helpful information and the photos (it's nice to see Jenny again) I am hoping to spend 5-6 days in the area so hopefully I will get to many of the other locations both of you mention. Thanks again.
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Old 05-23-2018, 02:13 PM   #5
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Yeah, looks like I was confusing the two West Lake lean-to's. Justin is correct, #1 is the more desirable of the two. That's what happens when you give information based on memory before consulting the map.

Justin is also correct about the Brooktrout Lake entrance being the closer starting point- it looks like the way from there is about a mile shorter than from the Pillsbury trailhead. However, and I'm going off of admittedly years old memory here, as I recall the hike in from the Brooktrout trailhead seemed more strenuous. It's one of those trails that felt like uphill both ways to me. Also, the trailhead is pretty deep in the Moose River Rec Area and takes a while to reach along bumpy, uneven dirt roads so you might not save any time going in that way. And like Justin said, the French Louie loop has some pretty great spots to visit. And with 6 days you should be able to hit them all if you want to.
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Old 05-23-2018, 08:51 PM   #6
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[
West Lake lean-to #1 is much nicer in my opinion, and is much
more popular as it is just off the NPT. Here's a couple photos...


I can't see the images. All I see is a circle with a minus
sign where the images should be.:-(
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Old 05-23-2018, 09:16 PM   #7
Justin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Schip View Post
[
West Lake lean-to #1 is much nicer in my opinion, and is much
more popular as it is just off the NPT. Here's a couple photos...


I can't see the images. All I see is a circle with a minus
sign where the images should be.:-(
Sorry, this website’s outdated software strikes again.
Are you on Facebook by any chance?
Much easier & more enjoyable sharing photos & adventures over there than here.
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Old 05-25-2018, 03:08 PM   #8
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Yeah, looks like I was confusing the two West Lake lean-to's. Justin is correct, #1 is the more desirable of the two. That's what happens when you give information based on memory before consulting the map.

Justin is also correct about the Brooktrout Lake entrance being the closer starting point- it looks like the way from there is about a mile shorter than from the Pillsbury trailhead. However, and I'm going off of admittedly years old memory here, as I recall the hike in from the Brooktrout trailhead seemed more strenuous. It's one of those trails that felt like uphill both ways to me. Also, the trailhead is pretty deep in the Moose River Rec Area and takes a while to reach along bumpy, uneven dirt roads so you might not save any time going in that way. And like Justin said, the French Louie loop has some pretty great spots to visit. And with 6 days you should be able to hit them all if you want to.
I planned to try for Brook Trout Lake from the Plains Trailhead a couple of years ago. I ran into Jay O'Hearn, the author, in the Plains in the summer, and he told me that despite the Pillsbury trail being much longer, it was much more desirable. He mentioned the "uphill both ways" character of the Plains trail, and also that it is very wet and overgrown because it gets much less use. And it is still 6 miles, after that long drive in. Right now, you would have to add about three miles as the road is only open to the Moose River, and the last couple of times we went in to Otter Brook, the road was marginal from the Moose in, making Squaw Lake also an extremely long drive and hike. I would plan on at least an hour from Limekiln gate to the Moose, and although it is only three or so miles to the trailhead for WCL, I'd plan on close to an hour for the rest of the drive, even if you have 4 wheel.
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Old 05-25-2018, 07:33 PM   #9
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Jay OíHern...nice!
It would be quite an honor to meet him someday! He knows that area very well thatís for sure.
Also, if you donít already own this book, then shame on you...
http://www.hiketheadirondacks.com/pa...al_Adirondacks
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Old 05-26-2018, 03:58 PM   #10
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I have the older version of the book.
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Old 05-26-2018, 11:05 PM   #11
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I have the older version of the book.
Just a heads up...some of the older editions have incorrect mileages that reflected some of the old incorrect DEC signs in the area.
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Old 05-26-2018, 11:12 PM   #12
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Yes, thanks Justin. I do have the new ADK guidebooks and maps as reference, but I appreciate the heads-up and advice. I am really looking forward to making the trip.
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Old 05-30-2018, 11:00 AM   #13
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West Lake #2 and South Lake are both nice. Both get light to moderate levels of use- nothing near High Peaks levels of use, but the area has seen increased levels of visitation overall compared to 10 years ago. Tree cutting especially is starting to be a problem at South Lake. If you visit West Lake or South Lake on a weekend, I'd say that you should be fully prepared to share any of the lean-tos with another group, but for the most part groups traveling in this area usually tend to be small and well behaved so sharing typically isn't an issue. (Spruce Lake, Pillsbury Lake, Sampson Lake, and Cedar Lakes do see relatively higher levels of depreciative behavior but are also typically fairly quiet.)

West Canada Creek and West Lake #1 get a little bit less use but are both still nice. There's no designated tent sites in the area (despite what the official DEC information indicates). In the unlikely event that all 4 lean-tos are filled to capacity, the best ground for off trail tent camping in compliance with the 150 foot rule is behind the West Canada Creek Lean-to- there's plenty of flat ground in open hardwood forest here. Most of the rest of the area has some pretty thick spruce/fir forest and/or swampy ground that is not great for tenting.

I agree that the hike via Pillsbury Mountain/Lake is longer, but is also flatter and so is probably the easier way in overall. There actually isn't a huge difference in distance whether your going by way of Pillsbury/Sampson or by way of Cedar Lakes, and if you're in the area for 5+ days you can easily do the full loop at a fairly slow pace.
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Old 05-30-2018, 03:27 PM   #14
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Great info DSettahr, thanks very much. I hang rather than tent camp so I am hoping I can find some spots away from the leantos to camp. I am thinking of doing the French Louis loop for my 5 day trip and a separate trip from Jessup Road to Spruce Lake. Another time would be Brooktrout from the west.
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Old 05-31-2018, 02:41 PM   #15
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Quote:
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Jay OíHern...nice!
It would be quite an honor to meet him someday! He knows that area very well thatís for sure.
Also, if you donít already own this book, then shame on you...
http://www.hiketheadirondacks.com/pa...al_Adirondacks
Watch the signing announcements for the Book Shop in Inlet right next to Arrowhead Park, Mrs. Chambers has him up usually once a year. And he is generally at the event held at Hoss's in Long Lake around the first week in August. His history of the Moose River Plains should come out this year, he told me it would be out last year, but making books is not like cooking out of a recipe.

I also got to meet Barbara McMartin at the same spot, albeit more than 20 years ago, she was in trolling with a friend and advised my wife and I to get a canoe if we wanted to get some trout. While she was overall correct, we managed supper that day from shore. But her books are a treasure, I have three editions of West Central.
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Old 05-31-2018, 06:36 PM   #16
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Cool, thanks Lucky!
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Old 06-01-2018, 03:15 PM   #17
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Justin, I'm new to this site, so I am still scouting around a lot. Looking at the History thread, I found a post from Mr. O'Hern under the name "Dinner by the Pound." You might try reaching out to him via private message and find out where he will be " randomly scooting" as the summer goes on, I have to say he was one of the more amiable people I have encountered in the woods, and maybe he'll give you an inside on what we'll have new to read in the upcoming months.
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