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Old 05-29-2017, 05:47 PM   #1
malexander
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WCLW - French Louie Loop 5/26/2017-5/28/2017

The boss man called for an early end to the work week on Friday sending me scrambling to finish getting my gear together to get an early start on the weekend. After drenching my pack from a leaking bladder, I made the drive up to Pillsbury Mt TH by 4pm (I suppose that's not the worst thing that could happen from an o-ring problem). I was happy to see that the road back to the trail head has been vastly improved since the last time I was there. There were already 4 other cars in the parking lot and I would later learn that people were parking down the road later in the weekend.

The rain from earlier in the day gave way to a light mist as I made tracks to the northernmost Cedar Lake Lean-to. Made it to the lean-to by 6 after passing one group headed in the same direction. Mud and bug season are in full force right now (LOTS OF MUD!), although the rain kept the bugs at bay on Friday. Had the lean-to to myself where I read the log book and then settled into a book. The night was filled with tons of loon calls and a call and response from 2 owls on either side of the lean-to. It was quite a beautiful area despite the Lean-to being almost directly on the trail.

Saturday morning fog gave way to sun and eventually the black flies that come with it. I spent some time exploring the area around the dam and immediately ran into a couple who had hiked in overnight After breakfast I worked my way south, exploring the other two lean-tos on Cedar Lake and chatting with a couple guys relaxing on their off day. As with most of the weekend, I kept moving to avoid the omnipresent bugs. I took a compass bearing off trail and in a little while was happy to find myself about 50ft from French Louie's cave (better lucky than good!). I explored around a little and despite the AM hours sipped a little whiskey to his memory . After making my way back to trail, I continued on running into a few different groups. I could tell the holiday rush must be catching up to me. Having my pick of the West Lake and South Lake Lean-tos, I settled in to the latter around 3pm for some relaxation. I was later joined for the night by a couple who graciously shared some of their intimate knowledge of the area with me as well as some good conversation.

After a laid back morning, I made my way down the trail to Sampson Lean-to where I met a few fishermen camped at the lean-to. I chatted with them a bit and talked about my plans to fish Whitney Lake that afternoon. They kindly offered me up some night crawlers and a sip of Canadian whiskey to which I obliged. There is no shortage of generous people in the back country! They were not thrilled when I mentioned the impending rain but chuckled when I reminded them that you can't have mud without rain. I made my way to Whitney Lake and spent some time catching only a couple more bug bites.

I decided to make tracks out on Sunday rather than deal with rain so I pushed on back to the car. I ran into a large group who were also finishing up the loop and was completely amazed at how impeccably clean their boots were I told their leader that muddy boots are a badge of honor as I passed them through ankle deep mud Got back to trail head by 6pm and got to work on the gluttonous meal I had meticulously contemplated during the hike out.

It was a great weekend in a very beautiful area. Can't wait to explore the area more!
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Old 05-30-2017, 07:06 AM   #2
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Great TR, thxs!
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Old 05-30-2017, 08:15 AM   #3
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excellent TR, thank you!
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Old 05-30-2017, 07:13 PM   #4
Justin
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Cool report, thanks for sharing!
So did you make it to the cave, or did you end up about 50 feet short?
Any photos to share by any chance?
The French Louie Loop is certainly one the premiere loops within the Adks for sure, and definitely one of my favorites!
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Old 05-30-2017, 10:29 PM   #5
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Was quite surprised to find the cave with such little searching (the GPS stayed turned off).

not too many inspiring pics on this trip @Justin. Mostly "shots from another lens" for those who have been there before me.

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Old 06-04-2017, 07:32 AM   #6
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Nice TR!! Last August we had a quick 24 hours to kill with drive/trail time, so we hit the loop on a short out & back to an overnight on Sampson Lake. Loved it!! Can't wait to go back this season and complete a leisurely stroll of the entire loop.
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Old 06-04-2017, 03:27 PM   #7
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Hey, the "fun house bridge"!
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Old 06-04-2017, 04:58 PM   #8
Justin
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Hey, the "fun house bridge"!
Watch your step!
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Old 06-04-2017, 08:43 PM   #9
JohnnyVirgil
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What kind of fish is that? It looks like a carp.
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Old 06-05-2017, 07:14 AM   #10
Justin
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White sucker?
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Old 06-05-2017, 08:13 AM   #11
JohnnyVirgil
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White sucker?
Doesn't look like it? http://www.roughfish.com/white-sucker
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Old 06-05-2017, 09:59 AM   #12
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I just got back from this trip. I did see moose tracks on my last day. Great trip. Make sure to dump a shot on Louie's grave in Speculator.
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Old 06-05-2017, 10:39 AM   #13
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I just got back from this trip. I did see moose tracks on my last day. Great trip. Make sure to dump a shot on Louie's grave in Speculator.
How were the trail conditions? Many re-routes around beaver activity? I went in August and it was pretty wet considering.
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Old 06-06-2017, 08:09 AM   #14
malexander
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What kind of fish is that? It looks like a carp.
My assumption was some type of chub or shiner.
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Old 06-06-2017, 10:53 PM   #15
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Great TR, and despite your modesty, great photos. One of my favorite areas that I need to get back to soon.
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Old 06-07-2017, 09:16 AM   #16
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How were the trail conditions? Many re-routes around beaver activity? I went in August and it was pretty wet considering.
I have done this loop 5-6 times. This was the wettest trail conditions I have seen on this trail. That being said it was not bad.
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