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Old 09-01-2020, 08:18 PM   #1
Banjoe's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 150
Never Regret an Adirondack Trip

My wife and I considered bailing out of a week in the Adirondacks due to crowding, but decided many of our favorite spots around home are overrun, so why not venture north and try to avoid the crowds there? We had barely left the county since March (I learned of the shutdown while camping in Ha-De-Ron-Dah Wilderness and wished I'd taken food for a few weeks) and we were pretty confident we could get some peaceful experiences in addition to exploring new lakes, rivers and mountains. Camping was out for this trip, an airbnb turned out to be a great choice. I couldn't get myself to say we were staying in Lake Placid so I told people Averyville.

My wife was looking to do a 10K swim after the one she'd been training for was cancelled, and with some good advice offered here we switched from doing it in Lower Saranac to Follensby Clear Pond. Right as she started swimming a juvenile bald eagle flew over and perched to watch the action. Very few people were up while she swam from 6-10 am, one dog gave her a bit of a chase as she swam by a campsite, but that dog didn't stand a chance.

Since she took less than half a day to do the swim I decided to make another attempt at McKenzie which I bailed on once before when I decided I didn't have enough water or time. This time it was a different form of unpreparedness: I figured taking the Jack Rabbit Trail would have fewer people than off Rt. 86, though I remember reading a section was closed but not sure where. When I rode my bike to the trail head near the Whiteface Inn I saw where the trail was closed. O for 2.

With a few hours of light left I decided to look for the trail to Seymour Cobble between Lake Placid and the high peaks (Averyville, right?), near where we were staying. It's easily found and just as easy to follow to a fantastic view of the peaks, and I was the only one there while I hung out until sunset. Nice spot to think about two hikes from the Loj coming up during the week.
We had a rainy day hike in mind to go around Avalanche Lake and Lake Colden and Monday promised rain. For my wife it was like hiking a half-marathon the day after swimming the equivalent of one; for me it was a way to cut my high peaks hike later in the week shorter by not going past the lakes which I really wanted to get to.
We figured we would stay out of the clouds, and by starting at 5:30 away from the crowds. Good on both points, in fact it didn't rain until we were back at the north end of Avalanche so that wasn't bad.
A 46er is always joking with me about staying away from the Trap Dike so I thought it would be a good gag to swim over to it and pose at the bottom in my skivvies and tell her I did it wearing nothing more . And I realized swimming is way harder than hiking. Moments after getting out of the water a State Trooper helicopter flew over the lakes about 100' up, nothing in the ranger report for the day about it, maybe someone from Albany wanted to see the beauty but is too busy to hike? I also had to pose under a sign for the ski trail because I'm always saying I'm going to put up signs where I ski on public land near our house informing people not to walk in the tracks. In two steps to get to the sign I slipped and fell twice. I felt like the guy we saw hurrying back to the Loj in the rain whose crocks weren't working so well.

We had a good day of paddling on Lower Saranac the next day, early start and perfect weather until we got back to the State Bridge launch and heard some thunder rumbling, almost no motor boats and a nice walk around Eagle Island.

My solo hike came the next day and I was aiming to add three more peaks to the highest 25 of the Northeast list which I find more appealing than trying to become a 46er. To limit the driving my wife would do to drop me off and pick me up, I decided to start and end at the Loj for a loop to Haystack, Skylight and Gray. Another early start and I didn't see anyone until catching up with some people heading up to Little Haystack. The only hitch in the whole day was the 3% chance of rain in the morning turning into 100% downpour with hail. Lots of time to dry off on top of Haystack in the sun and wind, and then went down the trail on the south side to Panther Gorge. This part had me nervous, but it wasn't bad and I didn't have any trouble even with the rocks being wet from the earlier rain shower.

After a solid hour on top of Skylight, most of the time the only one up there, I headed for Gray and had the big coincidence of the day. There's always a coincidence, isn't there? I stepped off the trail to let someone coming down pass, I didn't actually seeing them, but when I turned back towards the trail, a neighbor from home was coming down next. He explained he was helping pace and carry stuff for one of the women trying to set the record for the 46. I didn't even know there were two women going for it. The one I encountered finished in just under five days, I just missed crossing paths with her again on Whiteface/Esther when she finished. The other one, and current record holder finished in just under four days.

Back to the Loj trail head via the Lake Arnold Trail, you know, since it's been improved recently. Well, not all of it, but by that point my shoes were wet and muddy and my feet didn't mind some cool water so no big deal.

Another day of paddling together, another solo hike on Whiteface for me, some early morning swims in Mirror Lake for my wife, another walk up Seymour Cobble, and one to Jersey Hill to explore the trails for a possible future ski trip where I found how hard it is to get away from Cornell even on vacation in the Adirondacks when I happened upon their sugarbush.

Overall, no complaints. Making Saturdays our travel days and visiting with friends at Piseco on the way up and Bolton on the way home added a touch of normalcy to the trip, except we didn't stay with either and visit a couple days. The crowds weren't as bad as I expected except when we finished what we had planned for the day a few times, and as hard as I tried, there wasn't much garbage to pick up or TP to bury. When we got back to our neighborhood there were a dozen illegally parked cars at the gorge and a firetruck in the road as a young woman was being carried out on a stretcher. That never happens at 6 am.

Last edited by Banjoe; 09-02-2020 at 07:02 AM..
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Old 09-01-2020, 09:03 PM   #2
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That's a nice report/story and it appears you know how to have a good time.
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Old 09-02-2020, 01:54 PM   #3
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Is Seymour Cobble the same as the Seymour Mountain (near Averyville Road)?
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Old 09-02-2020, 07:15 PM   #4
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Yes. There was a cool note in the summit journal by a woman who grew up nearby and has been going up for many decades and she just referred to it as The Cobble. She mentioned having pictures from before it became reforested, there were pastures most of the way or all the way up.

I talked to a couple people who live along Averyville Rd. who either said the Cobble or Seymour. I combined them because whenever I said Seymour people thought I was talking about the high peak.

By the way, full report and many pictures at banjoeblog dot blogspot dot com.
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Old 09-04-2020, 11:17 AM   #5
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Nice trip report. That swimming sure looks like a wonderful way to enjoy the waters this time of year.
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Old 09-04-2020, 01:09 PM   #6
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I tried accessing the blog both times you mentioned it, and got the message:

Sorry, the blog you were looking for does not exist. However, the name banjoebob is available to register!

Cancel: just realized I typed "Banjoebob". Worked fine with "blog"....
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Old 09-04-2020, 01:10 PM   #7
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Thanks for posting the link, it sounds like you both had a great time and I'm glad you were able to avoid the crowds. I fully agree with your first video statement, I can't swim fast or far at all. I'd like to learn to do it better someday. On the second one I guess it depends in my opinion, though hiking is certainly faster if both are in a straight line.
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Old 09-04-2020, 08:38 PM   #8
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And the third? Guess that depends on the instrument, some practically play themselves, others take so much concentration it boggles my mind. I'll be on the lookout for someone playing one of yours sometime and hope to get a shot at playing it. Festivals will be back someday...
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Old 09-05-2020, 03:10 PM   #9
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I missed the third one somehow, but having viewed it now I agree with that sentiment too. It seems like festivals are a long way off, but I suppose it's all a matter of perspective.
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Old 09-06-2020, 07:59 PM   #10
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Thanks for taking the time to share your experiences, I especially liked the photos. I have been itching to go back north for some time and these photos are just reinforcing that itch.
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