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Old 12-12-2017, 03:35 PM   #1
camp43
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Winter Camping Suggestions Please

Hello,

I'm looking for some advice and or suggestions. I'm thinking about heading up to the Adirondacks for a 2 or 3 night winter camping trip, around December 28-30/31. Right now I'm leaning towards checking out the Pharaoh Lake area probably approaching from the south up the Pharaoh Lake Trail. If I am reading my maps right, this looks to be about 3 mostly flat miles from the parking area to the lake.

If I go I may be alone and I am looking for a trip that won't involve a lot of elevation or be too strenuous for me. I would probably hike to an area and setup a basecamp and then explore around the area a bit. I've read that the area gets heavy use so I'm re-thinking my location.

Does anyone have any other ideas that might fit the bill for a relatively short flat hike in to experience some scenic Winter camping in the Adirondacks? I'm an intermediate camper/backpacker with winter camping experience in Harriman and the Catskills, but those were normally one night trips. I plan to pull my gear on a pulk and have the gear to be warm in temps below 0F.

Thanks for any suggestions.
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Old 12-12-2017, 07:36 PM   #2
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There isn't likely to be heavy use at Pharaoh in late December so don't let that keep you away. What might be an issue is the flooding at Mill Brook. When I was there in late October the boardwalk was not entirely above water and listing considerably. If that's still the case and the ice isn't solid you will have a very tough crossing, someone else will surely have more to say about that.
Other spots matching your descriptions are Stephens Pond via Rt. 30 with parking at the east end of Lake Durant and Cascade or Queer Lakes north of Eagle Bay on Rt. 28.
You will get more specific suggestions if you specify what you're looking for such as a lean to, a mountain to climb while there, a lake/pond to explore, and most importantly, what part of the Adirondacks you're looking to go to. Many spots in the west fit your bill but I inferred you're coming from the southeast.
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Old 12-12-2017, 08:04 PM   #3
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Some of my favorite winter campsites have been out in the middle of the woods, out in the middle of nowhere in particular....one of the benefits of winter camping imho.
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Old 12-12-2017, 09:03 PM   #4
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Going alone is probably not a good idea. I would read up on winter mountaineering/camping. ADK used to have a good book on it by Danielson; don't know if it's still in print. You should bring the proper amount of clothing food and fuel; you may to to melt snow for water.

Pharaoh is a good area as there are lots of side trails and other pond to explore.
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Old 12-13-2017, 12:56 PM   #5
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Hello Banjoe,

Thanks for the information on the Mill Brook crossing. I'll keep that in mind. I'm looking to avoid climbing mountains alone in winter. I'm looking for a more relaxing traditional winter camping experience rather than mountaineering or even winter backpacking. Exploring the shores or a pond or lake would be nice. I'm a hammock camper so I don't need a lean-to although they're a bonus to hang out around if available and unoccupied.

I'm mainly looking for a place to hike in a short distance and camp to test out some winter gear and see how I like solo winter camping. I'd like to be close enough to the car where if there's a problem I don't need to trek 6 o 7 miles out through snow. My biggest fear is boredom over the long night.

Geoff
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Old 12-13-2017, 06:13 PM   #6
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Geoff, one option would be the area around the Adirondack Loj. There are campsites there and and you can base camp near your car and then also venture out into the wilderness for a night or two. It just so happens that Coldfeet will be base camp, hot tenting there from the 26th to the 29th with some day hikes. I may get up there for a night or two. I will be trying out some hammock gear, including the top quilt that you sold me. I am waiting on my winter bottom quilt right now, but I am good if it doesn't get here in time. My time frame may be the latter part of the week.
Bruce
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Old 12-13-2017, 06:26 PM   #7
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Bass Lake near the town of North Hudson is a fun & fairly easy winter backpacking destination... https://youtu.be/l1Fz6N4kZMk
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Old 12-13-2017, 06:31 PM   #8
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...or maybe try the new trail to the new lean-to at Wolf Pond, also off exit 29... https://youtu.be/TFvoKNiO3N8
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Old 12-13-2017, 06:32 PM   #9
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Puffer Pond is fun also... https://youtu.be/gBApjceA5As
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Old 12-13-2017, 07:21 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by electbc View Post
Geoff, one option would be the area around the Adirondack Loj. There are campsites there and and you can base camp near your car and then also venture out into the wilderness for a night or two. It just so happens that Coldfeet will be base camp, hot tenting there from the 26th to the 29th with some day hikes. I may get up there for a night or two. I will be trying out some hammock gear, including the top quilt that you sold me. I am waiting on my winter bottom quilt right now, but I am good if it doesn't get here in time. My time frame may be the latter part of the week.
Bruce
Hey Bruce. Hopefully you have something else to supplement that quilt you bought from me. I think it's better for September! I don't think I can get out till the 28th. Let me know if you go to up that way. Maybe I'll find you guys.

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Old 12-13-2017, 07:22 PM   #11
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Puffer Pond is fun also... https://youtu.be/gBApjceA5As
Hi Justin. Thanks for the suggestions. I'll check out the videos tonight. I've seen a few of your before and already subscribe to your channel. Always enjoy them.

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Old 12-13-2017, 09:00 PM   #12
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Oh sure I do. I have zero degree Loco Libre, and another Down 40 degree. Good news too, Brandon at Warbonnet says the UQ may ship tomorrow or Friday.
I already had your TQ in the 20s along with the Loco Libre. I guess a good set of sleeping fleece is needed for the ratings which these are advertised as. I am trying a setup in the backyard tonight.
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Old 12-13-2017, 09:43 PM   #13
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Goodluck, Dexter, and Spectacle Lake all are fairly easy hikes, and all have campsites. Stay at one, and your day hikes can be to the other 2, plus Goodluck Cliffs, if you are so inclined.
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Old 12-14-2017, 12:01 PM   #14
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I second Puffer Pond. From the Chimney Mountain trailhead is just over two miles to the first lean to. Was just there a couple of weeks back and didn't see anyone else.
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Old 12-14-2017, 12:02 PM   #15
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Thanks MoodyBlues. Those looks like great suggestions. I'll look into them.

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Goodluck, Dexter, and Spectacle Lake all are fairly easy hikes, and all have campsites. Stay at one, and your day hikes can be to the other 2, plus Goodluck Cliffs, if you are so inclined.
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Old 12-14-2017, 12:54 PM   #16
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Hey Bruce,

You had a 0 degree Loco Libre Down top quit along with the 40 degree synthetic quilt and were still cold when the temps were only in the 20s? That doesn't sound right. Was this in a hammock or on the ground? What was your bottom insulation?


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Oh sure I do. I have zero degree Loco Libre, and another Down 40 degree. Good news too, Brandon at Warbonnet says the UQ may ship tomorrow or Friday.
I already had your TQ in the 20s along with the Loco Libre. I guess a good set of sleeping fleece is needed for the ratings which these are advertised as. I am trying a setup in the backyard tonight.
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Old 12-14-2017, 06:17 PM   #17
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Goodluck is super easy to get to. I avoid it in the summer season, but if you're looking for easy parking and a quick hike with access to some open campsites, it is always an option.

Last edited by WalkingStick; 12-20-2017 at 05:23 PM..
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Old 12-14-2017, 08:54 PM   #18
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Hey Bruce,

You had a 0 degree Loco Libre Down top quit along with the 40 degree synthetic quilt and were still cold when the temps were only in the 20s? That doesn't sound right. Was this in a hammock or on the ground? What was your bottom insulation?
No, I wasn't cold but I don't think that I would be warm at Zero degrees with the Zero degree quilt alone. I just need to tweek my sleeping attire in these temps. I was warm with the Zero and your quilt, with thin, minimal sleeping attire.
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Old 12-14-2017, 08:56 PM   #19
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Good Luck is very accessible, it is a party spot in the summer and a popular ice fishing lake in the winter.
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Old 12-15-2017, 10:22 AM   #20
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Well, +1 on Adirondack Loj if you are new to both winter camping and the Adirondacks. But it sounds like you have some experience. I still like the Loj because it is pretty good at spoofing true wilderness but you still have access to plumbing, water and your car. If we are working on a peak we will stay there in the winter just to simplify.

But I am intrigued by some of the places mentioned here so may have to try a non-peak winter camping trip or a combo (we are six hours away so like you have to plan ahead).

So my ground gear is rated to 0F and my hammock gear is rated to 20F on bottom and 10F on top (backwards - should be other way around). I've stayed comfortable to -10F on ground and +10F on top by adding. Comfortable as in I could have gone lower rather easily and I am not accounting for the extras in the hammock system that extend the temp rating . Hot water bottle trick, fleece full length sleepwear, fleece hood, food & beverage. The usual stuff.

The one piece of gear that is newer and I really like is the SOL Escape Bivy Lite. This is a breathable thermal emergency bivy. I like it because I carry it in day pack as emergency shelter but it also extends the temp range on my sleep system. Mass Drop had them at $24 once too - which did not hurt. I have not tested it enough to say how much it adds but did feel a noticeable difference when I wiggled out of it inadvertently in the hammock.
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