Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 in Review

26-28 Nov 2010 Thanksgiving weekend trip. 

Hit the trail at bear Creek rd at 11:30am. Easy walk towards Chub Pond. Walked a little ways down the old logging road obstructed with branches and the sign to Chub. The trail began to bend back Northwest after a short bit, then I turned back to the chub Pond trail. Prior to the Gull Lake junction, I veered off to the right on another rold logging rd. Wondered if this was the old trail on the historic topo. The road dissapeared after a while, but not before it was obviously not the old trail based on its southwestern direction. I bushwhacked toward the Buck Pond outlet where I came across some flagging tape prior to reaching the outlet, The flags led southeast away from Buck but still towards its outlet creek. Soon I lost them and headed straight to the outlet stream. I crossed easily on the dammed up sections and then headed northeast back to the cgub pond trail. About 100 yds before I came to the trail, I walked under a metal tree stand, continued to the trail where it junctioned to chub pond #1 and #2. Stayed on the trail to CP #2 and arrived to a windy lake. I set up camp and went to collect wood. After plenty of wood collected and prepped, I started a fire and hung out. Read the journal, ate dinner and tried to stay up as late as possible. I awoke a few times during the night due ot the loud wind. In the AM the wind was still blowing, so I packed up and sat in the leanto for some tea. I headed out past the privy to see the point. A hidden rowboat was discovered. I decided to hug the inlet which made the distance longer but proved to be the right decision. I crossed a bunch of feeder streams which probably acounts for the sheer size of the inlet. Scattered debris from old camps, bottles, buckets, pans etc... Then the hidden canoe! I marked a waypoint on the GPS for this one. As I continued my bushwhack I came across more flagging which seemed to head north. I though perhaps this was a trail to Gull, so I followed it for a bit. Even though I lost the trail, it likely did go to Gull, probably the private inholding and the canoe was theirs. Up and over the hill with the cool rocks and then down to the valley and a western approach to Gull. The semi-frozen ground made walking over the typically wet portions easy. I saw the blue tarp on the leanto from across the lake and made my way to it. When I arrived there were a few guys just starting to stir. The two I met in the parking lot were still asleep, it was almost 11am. I went to setup camp and then collected some wood for them. Hung out with the guys all day/night. Went to bed early and awoke at 3am. Not being tired and seeing the moonlight, I packed up and headed out. Back at the car at 5:30am. All total 9.9miles.

13-14 November 2010. 

Another painful trip with Lean2Rescue. I picked up Mooch in auburn and we drove to the TH off coreys rd. we Started hiking about 11:30 and we passed a hunter and his son on the first trail. They told us the canoe and rest of the group were about 500yds past the intersection. we kept going figuring we would catch up tot hem in about half an hour. After about an hour we passed by the cold river leanto's adopter he told ud the canoe was about 1/4mile ahead. By the time we saw the canoe it was at the leanto. We timed it perfectly! We moved fast, we covered the 6.1 miles in 2 hrs. Set up camp, collected copious amounts of firewood and loaded up the logs/shingles which would be transported back to the gate. After a night of fire and fun we retired to e starlit night. I slept with the tarp pulled back. Chilly night but I was good with the summer UQ augmented with the IX and poncho. Frosty am and we hit the trail. 6.1 miles of terrain with 650ft of elevation was tough. Back at the car, muddy and tired I drank my stewarts orange soda and we headed home. we figured for the amount we all paid in gas, we could have purchased 2 new logs and a bundle of shingles at least. But it was fun, tiring as usual, but fun as usual.

23-24 October 2010 

Birthday Backpacking. Got to the TH at 9am, Justin showed up within seconds. This was his first trip to the 5 ponds WA. We hit the trail towards janacks and Justin was surprised byhow quickly we got to the dead creek flow. We had to cross only 1 beaver dam which had flooded the era where the trail crew had built plank bridges. Fron Janacks to Sand hill junction and then stopped at the glasby pond outlet “waterfall”. Through the clearing which had a “path” going off to the left we approached glasby pond. There is another path which appears to go to the rock above the outlet. We crossed the outlet and went through the marked campsite on Glasby. We made our way around the pond to the approach to Cat mt. We paused for a moment at the junction and then continued to the rock garden. At the top we considered the bushwhack to the three mile mt cliffs, but the growth looked too thick. We would have to find another way. We stopped at the campsite along Cat Mt lake. We passed by the “lined path” which goes about 50 ft and then peters out. If one continues to the water's edge a gorgeous beaver dam awaits. We took the path to Bassout and found the well maintained hunters camp by the spring. Nice poile of firewood neatly stacked and under plastic. We made our way to Bassout propoer and climed up on a rock. Back to the main trail and on to Cowhorn junction. We decided against taking the trail to deer. This would have to wait. We noticed footprints in the snow which seemed fresh. We wondered if someone would be at cowhorn. They weren't. At cowhorn, we collected some wood and then took the boat out for a paddle and sandwhich. We explored the “horn” and looked for other campsites without any luck. Back at camp we set up and began a fire. Soon we had dinner and I was getting tired. Justin kept checking the moon rise down by the pond. I eventually couldn't keep my eyes open and went to bed. Justin soon followed. I awoke a few times during the night for natures call and also to listen to the mouse? Climb along my hammock suspension line and check out my pack. I was up before the sun (6am ish) and made some coffee and restarted the fire. There was still a bed of coals even though it rained during the night. Justin arose after the sun. We slowly packed up and were on our way around 10am. At the base of the hill towards cowhorn junction, justin noticed another path. We followed it for a while and saw where it branched off to the right, with flagging to the left. We didn't go too much further than that. Will have to explore that path some other time. It started to rain and we started to move a little faster. Almost back to the car, we came to a “bridge”. We both paused for a moment and realized the beaver pond was now drained and a small plank bridge was across the stream. A few hundred yards later a tree that was partially blocking the trail was cleared. Way to go trail crew. Back at the car, we said our farewells. 14 miles.

9-11 October 2010

St. Regis revisited. Dad came to visit and we did the Floodwood Loop. After dropping the gear off at the put-in, I drove to the Long Pond parking area and ran/walked back the mile. We loaded up the canoe and made our way through Floodwood and Fish creek. The short carries to Follensby Clear and then Horseshoe Ponds where we came across some fisherman with the largest brookies we have ever seen. We were able to get the site on the point. Made a fire and drank some wine. Got cold during the night. Awoke at first light and made breakfast. Windy day made paddling not easy. This was especially true past the long carry to Hoel Pond. We had planned to have a beer after the carry, but realized we might need the encouragement for the paddle across Hoel. The wind was brutal. I dug in and power paddled while dad tacked us to the culvert. At turtle Pond, we ate some cheese and sausage, had the last beer. Through turtle and slang and to Long pond where we checked out the map for the new sites. The backside of 15 was recut to avoid the damaged area. Nice for a few tents, not so great for hammocks. We got to site 14 on the point, a huge site with an outhouse. Very windy but lots of wood up on the hill. After setting up camp, we got a fire going and ate 2 full dinners. Did a bit of fishing with the lure I found. Dad caught a fish, took a photo to make it look larger than it really was (2 inches!).

18 Sept 2010 

Gull lake with Brian, gayle, Steve and I got to the Bear Creek TH early Saturday. The plan was to take the Chub Pond trail and then the turn off to Gull Lake. The first bridge on the chub pond trail is in serious need of repair. Just before the Gull lake outlet bridge I commented how I always thought that it looked to be an old road grade or trail along the outlet. So we decided to bushwhack it. Kept a bearing of approx 50 deg magnetic and held the outlet to our right. The “trail” appeared and disappeared but was a rather obvious grade at times. The outlet showed numerous beaver dams and a ton of activity along its banks. We soon arrived the confluence of the outlet and the trail. We headed along the trail around Gull lake to the leanto. We came across a white jeep (DNS 7004?) dropping off some people, gera and boats. We would see them again. The rutted trail took us around the lake to the leanto where we soon set up camp and ate a late lunch. The sounds of motors appeared and the people from before came motiring by in 2 boats. They stayed at the lake for a while and eventually motored out before dark. While collecting firewood a lone hiker appeared with is dog and then disappeared. New plaque found on large rock “in memory of Ron Dawson. Gentlemen, outdoorsman, conservationist”. We expected rain in the eving and it never came. Good conversation all afternoon and evening. Overnight it seemed to have warmed up, or perhaps the insulation of our bags was just great. Anyway, we all slept in until 7am. I was first to arise. I quietly made some coffee and the others soon followed. Packing up was uneventful and we soon were back on the trail out. Taking the short trail back to the jeep road showed how much damage the jeep had caused. Back at the jeep rd we took the trail along bear creek to the north. A short visit to Bear Creek at the old bridge and then back to the TH. Great trip with good company. 9 miles no rain.

27 Aug-28 Aug 2010 

Stillwater and Trout Pond. Independence River WF. Left as sun came up and registered for site 16. Made a note so Mike (8thday) could find me when he showed up with his new cedarstrip canoe. Left the launch and tunred North to the shore and away from the motorboats. When far enough from the 'shipping lane” I turned east and headed towards the point. Once there I hugged the shore checking out the coves. As I headed towards the firth shoal island, I heard the sound of a waterfall. Looking at the map it was obviously the outlet of Peaked Mt lake. As I paddled closer I could now see the water cascaded over the small cobblestone sized rocks which line the shore of stillwater. Thinking about how quiet it was out on the water to hear this, I paddled on. All along the north shore it was very quiet and peaceful, nary a soul on the water. One could not tell this was a motorized lake. I listed for and heard the outlet of Hidden lake as I approached. This was a more impressive set of falls/rapids. It had created a mini-cove into which I paddled. I could the remnants of an old sign up into the woods. I figured this was a good place to stretch. I spotted a soft landing just to the east and made land. Up into the woods a campsite appeared. I figure the old sign meant this was once a designated site but is no longer. However this hasn't stopped people as the firepit was freshly used this year. Exploring a little, the foot tread of a path was apparent following the outlet. I didn't venture to far, but made a mental note that this trail likely went all the way yo Hidden Lake. Back in the boat I continued on to site 16 which is in the far cove of Trout Pond which also has the LZ for the red Horse Trail. Went to the Trout pond Leanto and startled myself and the young woman sitting at the picnic table. Tiffany was her name. We chatted a bit, as she was also from the Rochester area, Waterloo to be specific and also a teacher. Soon her husband, Will and friend Becky showed up. I gave them some tips about the 5 Ponds WA and the Black River WF. Two more friends arrived and they ate their late lunch. As they hiked up to Salmon Lk, I made camp. Mike arrived around 5pm and we introduced ourselves. He was asking other boaters where site 16 was, so between the nice boat and that question I knew it was him. I called out and he responded. I helped carry up some gear to the Leanto. Some chatting, brtawurt and beer made for a good night. Slept like ababy. I think mike was cold in the leanto as he forgot his sleeping bag in his truck. Nice bright moon in the middle of the night when nature called. Nothing much in the AM, made a beeline back to the car and home. 12.8miles.

14 Aug-16 Aug Floodwood Loop & St Regis Canoe Wilderness:

Parked at St. Regis outfitters and got intel from Tyler and were on our way. paddled across floodwood pond to the outelt stream and then into fish creek.nice quiet paddle. water fowl didn't have a care we were there. upon entering the fish creek campground area the water became very busy with motor traffic. we held close to shore and made our way to Follesby Clear Pond. The water's name became obvious as we could see the bottom even in 10+feet of depth. we took out at the carry to horshoe to scout it. immediately decided to make camp at horseshoe pond. took a nice paddle around follensby clear and then back to the site for dinner and sleep. we awoke early like we always do and made our way to the first of 4 of the days portages. the first two were to be real short. the quick hop into little pollywog almost ended as a bypass along the trail to pollywog pond proper. I backtracked and we did it correctly. Little pollywog wasn;t that exciting, but if you have a boat you float instead of carrying it if you can. pollywog pond was nice, it has a few nice sites some seem to not be marked. the addendum pond which has the carry to middle has a nice site which makes it seem like the pond is all your own. the carry to Hoel pond would be the first big test at 8 tenths of a mile. like most of the carries in this area, it was wide and easy to follow. had a quick chat with the gentleman on the golf course whilke holding a canoe over my head and then finsihed the carry. paddled across Hoel pond to the RR tracks, up and over just like the guide book says to turtle pond and entered the St Regis Canoe area officially. Turtle to Slang to Long Pond. Slang was a nasty little pond as we entered and then opened up rather nicely. Chris carried the canoe to Long Pond and we found a huge site which is slated to be closed. It had an interesting set of concrete pilons where a structure used to be. I hung my hammock with a nice vbiew of the pond. After relaxing for a while, we took a short trip to check out the carry to Bessie/Nellie. At the carry we saw the Troop 152 canoes which were rented/borrowed from the City of Rochester. The canoes had the old flower logo on them. We would see these canoes again the next day as we paddled past their site on Long Pond. Our hike was cut short as a beaver dam had flooded a section of the portage. I suppose it is no big deal if you have a canoe on your head but since i didn't and I had enough of beaver swamp wading earlier this summer while hjiking the NPT, we trurned back. Went to bed early. Oh I forgot we got to see a few of the Perseid meteors the night before. Slept soundly until sun up and we got back to the cars by 9;30 after a mile hike from the take out to the car. Next time we will drop the canoe at the put in and park the car ant the take out so as to not have to walk a mile in wet water shoes. 16.6 miles.

30 July -1 Aug 2010 

Arrived to Little Tupper Lake at 10am. Hit the rough water trying to beat others to the good campsites. Paddled hard into the wind and waves. Got to site #12 at the far end of the lake and set up camp. The cove was well protected from the wind so I did a wee bit of fishing and sent a msg to the group with the site #. Took a well deserved nap in the hammock. The rest of the crew arrived after 5. I went to get wood from the beach are across the cove. Loaded my canoe and then Chris arrived to tow it back. He returned with the canoe and we both paddled back to camp. Dinner was to be burrittos. We dirtied up quite a bit of pots and had a buffet of burrito ingredients. Awesome meal. A big fire followed (the design was aesthetically pleasing, but a waste of wood. A 5 sided wall fire). Slept like a champ in the hammock and was up at first light. The lake was not visible due ot the fog, so I went back to sleep. Chris ventured out for a paddle as the fog broke. I waited a bit later. Paddled across the cove to fish. No luck but lots of snags. Watched a juvenile bald eagle do a bit of fishing (also no luck, but he must have seen something). I paddled over to that area after the eagle left and landed a couple of largemouths (6in and 8in). Back to the site. We prepared for the days outing up the creek to rock pond. After crossing the lack we headed up the inlet. Paddling over a few submerged beaver dams and eventually hitting 2 to carry over. Then the easy portage. At rock pond we went to the basking rock. Had lunch, napped, swam, napped. Then headed home. Dinner was a smorgasbord of pastas. The rest of the crew left early the next AM. I hung out for a while since I was going to Albany and not home. Quiet gentle paddle the 4.5 miles back to the put-in. 16Miles total.

1-4 July 2010. 

Met Redhawk at the Averyville PL. A little later than expected due to himgoing to thr Benson TH. All is well though. It allowed me to avoid the intermittent rain on Thursday. While waiting I left the lights on and drained the battery. A kind family from NJ gave me a jump. Worried that the car won't start in 4-5 days when I return. No use worrying about it. On the trail to Tirrell pond at 3pm. Dinner at Tirrell, a softsided cooler was at one of the campsites. I dared not look inside. Pushed past Tirrell until rain began. Made camp for the night. Since I went to bed so early (due to early rise the day before) I was up before the dawn.

Day 2. Packed up and made some tea. Started hiking and had a breakfast snack at chick-a-dee brook. Noticed a herd pathe through the trees (in retrospect, I should have followed it). A hundred yards later I came to the brook. The bridge was visible,though broken in two and the bottom of the “V” was at the bottom of the brook. This was compounded by the beaver dam flooding the area around it. Noticed some footprints towrds the dam. So I stepped through the marshy area to the dam. Made it across and then through more marshy areas until reaching the other side. At which point I realized the ourpose of the herd path I passed up. Continuing on up the hill. This is the only big climb of the trip. Not difficult but very over grown in spots. Made it to Rt28 parking area and then began the roadwalk (short) to the Long Lake TH. Stopped at Caitlin Bay and had a real breakfast. Hung out for a bit. Noticed the reroute for the wet section I just “rock hopped”. Missed another one. Pushed on to Plumbleys where a kind family offered me a burger and hotdog. They even plated me up some baked beans and gave me a bottled water. The kids were enamored by my presence and talked and talked. After a brief respite I pushed on towards Shattuck Clearing. On the way, I passed by Brian?, saw him enter the trail in Placid yesterday. He was on hi way to LL. I told him his truck was still there. We chatted quickly about trail conditions. Oh, the section from Caitlin to Plumbleys is LONNNG. A few beaver swamps to go around. I didn't miss the reroutes this time. One more on the way to Cold River according to Brian and then the mess between Duck Hole and Moose pond to contend with. Made it to the suspension bridge and slowly crossed ( I hate heights). And then the 2nd bridge. Set up camp at Cold River #4 right next to the bridge. I hear #3 is much nicer but it is a ¼ mile off trail and after a 20+ mile day, my feet are wet and sore. Soaked my feet, ate dinner, made a smoky fire to rid the skeeters. (So far I have not ntoiced any bugs until tonight). Slept straight through till it was light.

Day 3: Packed up and headed out. Stopped numerous times along the cold River for views, photos. Stopped at Seward Leanto for brekafast. Cooked and ate out of the rock by the river. Very nice spot for a swim. At Ouluska Leanto I met Jim? He was packing up. After a brief conversation I was on my way again. Paused at Rondeaux Clearing and a couple on their way from Coreys came by. Finallly made it to Duck Hole. That 5 miles was also long. At Duck Hole I saw the far leanto had stuff but better water access. Canoes were there too. No one was home. Probably hiking the sewards or something. I took a break by the water and cleaned myself up. Soaked my feet and contemplated the beauty of this spot. I wondered how much longer it has since the dam wich created it is in disrepair. Back at the leanto I noticeda PFD with a name on it; “Dickover”. It had to be George from Lean2Rescue. I decided to rest up and spend the night there. About 5pm, George and his family arrived. Tracy (the black lab) was the first to spot me and he ran right over. We all talked for a while, made dinner. George had a small box of wine which he shared. After sunset I said my goodbyes as I would be gone before they awoke at 6am.

Day 4: Up at 5:30 and gone before 6. I figured breakfast at Moose Lake. This section is messy in places but not unreasonably. Almost missed the trail over the beaver dam which then recrossed the same swamp. Not sure why the trail just doesn't stay high to the right? Got to Moose lake and just as George said, the trees had grown in to abstruct the view. Ate a dry breakfast and was off. PAssed by Wanika Falls, wondered if Jim? Was there. The trail was easy from here on out. Except for the one small beaver crossing which was no problem, bu finding the trail again afterwards proved difficult. No single herd path, lots of dead ends. I knew it had to the west, so I went due west from the crossing and immediately hit the tread. I forgot to mention how Unmarked much of the trail is. Good thing the tread is so visible. This trail would be impossible to follow in winter, though one could make the trip without having tostay “on trail”. About 3 miles left and it was 10:15. Was at the car by 11:30. Washed up and put on some clean clothes and then to the TipOPup for some BBQ.

5-6 June 2010 

Secret Spot in Italy Hill State Forest. Beginners Excursion for the Meetup group. Also allowed Alanna to test out her healing achilles. 4 miles, total. Nothing special. Rained at night, I was worried my uq would get wet. Seemed damp in the AM I wonder if it was just the air being damp. Soon it will be adk time!

29-31 May 2010 M2-M3 of FingerLakesTrail: 

Arrived at terminus with Amber/Ramona at 10:30am. Dave arrived from Ohio moments later. We piled into my car and drove to the TH. Hit the trail approx 11:15. After picking our way through the cloverleaf, we were into the Deneca Indian Reservation. The old Rt 17 and bridge was neat to see. We soon hit the atv trail and followed it along until we climbed up to the RR bed. A short while later we were into more wooded sections. Ups and downs will be the menu for the next few days as we traverse the hills and valleys heading NorthEast. Stopping at Mr. Hook's to fill up with water and then up to the logging roads. We lost the trail but kept heading up hill to meet the old rd. Dave was already showing signs of being tired on the ascents. Finally arrived to the nice woods in the State Forest. After a significant climb we arrived at our first night's campsite. Beautiful pines all in a row. Took a nice photo looking up from my hammock.

I awoke at 5:12, like usual and took a small stroll. There a nip in the air, temp was probably lo 50's. Amber and Dave finally emerged around 7am. After packing up we were on the trail by 8:30. 13 miles for the day. Down the hill and the dirt roads to the golf course restaurant. A nice place to eat. We then walked up the road to the Little Rock City. Since Dave was a geologist, he was in heaven. Very cool seeing these large rocks from the glaciers. Would love to come back and camp near here. Past the CCC camp, we eventually made it to the Holimont Ski area and after trying to make sense of the map and markers i realized they must have rerouted the trail since I bought my map set. Camped at the East of the small pond. Took a swim, ate dinner and went to bed.

Monday came and we hit the trail early. Lots of roadwalking due to trail closure for hunting season. One more day and they would be open. Made for fast miles though. Not sure if Dave would have made it otherwise. Down the mountain to Ellicotville and then 4 or so miles along the roads to cotter rd and access point 10. The last section from AP11 to 12 was worth the wait and roads. Beautiful view atop the ridge. We could see where we came from... over 30 miles to the southwest. Mostly downhill from here. One last ravine to traverse. New stairs made it a little easier after 30+ miles. Down the hill to the waiting car. 35 miles. M2-M3 of the FLT complete.

15-16 May 2010 High Peaks Lean2Rescue. 

I arrive at the TH at 10am and begin the 7 mile hike to the lean to where the rest of the crew has been working since Wednesday. I arrive about 12:30 and all is working like a well oiled machine. I immediately jump in to help out quarrying rocks for the foundation , help stain and fill in the foundation holes. We are done. Slept like a baby by the creek and was an early riser. Then began the work to get out all the materials. I take the first loaded canoe and we hump it 2.1 miles back to the staging area. We then return it to the leanto's for a second load. I am spelled by the next group of human mules and we go back to the staging area and unload all the canoes and pack up the vehicles. Then back to the junction and hike out. 17.5 miles total.

22-23 April 2010 M1 of the FLT. 

And so it begins... While I have hiked plenty a mile along the FLT and its branches, I have begun my end-2-end of the trail. After catching a ride from Jennifer (an flt spotter) to Access Pt 1 in PA, I sauntered up the first climb from PA to the NY border. 1.1 miles and I reached the border. Since I did not get started until 3:30pm my goal for the day was to be the Willis Cr Leanto (the site of the infamous pizza deleivery). After the intial climb, I settled in to the hike. I arrived at the L2 a little after 6pm. I set up camp and got some water from the spring. Made a small fire and went to bed as the sun set. It got cold over night, my guess was below freezing. I got an early start in the chilly morning. Took some photos of the trail. I commented to myself how great it was without the bugs and before all the growth (especially prickers) took over the trail. I made it to the next L2 by 9:30 and had a real breakfast and washed up. This was the first register I could write in. I took a nice long half-hour break. Hit the trail again. I disturbed a hawk who took off a few meters ahead of me. I spotted (heard him first) a downy woodpecker. The old “decrepit” leantos (dirt floor) were neat to see. 3G service at the beck hollow L2. Took a 10 minute break and after a mile or so, began the big descent to the valley and my awaiting car. At the car at 1pm. 21.9 miles total and approx 3000' elevation.

2-3 April 2010 Bear Lake via lower trail and Neejer Hill. 

Arrived at PL at 10:30. After signing in and taking the turn off to the lower trail, I soon came to the first obstacle. A pine across the path; but was easy to step over as others had cleared branches before me. A slight detour to check out the put/take out on Bear Cr. The water level does not look as though the Cr will be navigable, perhaps I didn't get a good enough look. Back on the trail, I continued past the Gull Lk junction and immediately came to first of many more blowdowns. I remembered some from last summer, but there were now additional ones. After making my way to the jeep trail I headed towrds Millbrook. Upon approach I heard a voice, the caretaker for one of the hunting camps was there. He had gotten his foot stuck in some rocks. I offered help, but he had already excised himself. We chatted for a while; I learned the story of why Millbrook was a “dry town”. Just past the bridge on my way to Bear Lake along the jeep trail, I looked for a good place to begin my ascent of Neejer. When the rocks came into view, I took a hard left to head Northwest to the summit of Neejer Hill (1965 ft) and then on to Bear Lake. I had seen these rocks numerous times and have often contemplated climbing around them. Well this trip would be the one. The temperature was that of a summer day but the undergrowth had not come in yet so bushwhacking would be easier and a bonus: no bugs due to it being the first week of April. The climb was uneventful, basically an almost straight scramble, only deviating to go around the large boulders and when the terrain showed a slightly easier path. The only real difficulty was dry leaves from the fall on such a steep approach. Quite a bit of slippage, trekkiing poles mitigated the issue. I never considered putting the poles away and grabbing trees, it wasn't necessary. After a quarter mile and almost 300ft of gain, I hit the top. The summit was obvious though the view was through the trees, and it being April the leaves hadn't come in yet. Nothing breathtaking, but I think that all nature as special to witness; not all trees are the same, each stone is unique. After a break for lunch, I headed down the backside of Neejer towards Bear Lake. Almost due North, the slope was half that of the approach, but more difficult. The ground was soft and undulating, it was like walking on sand piles. After a mile, my legs ached. I paused at the "river", cameled up had a snack and continued. Within minutes I intercepted the trail to Bear Lake. Three quarters of a mile later I arrived at my destination. Made camp, got some water, prepped wood for the fire and relaxed. A little fishing with no luck, I made dinner. After a late dinner and some relaxing by the fire, I retired early. I awoke for nature's call sometime around midnight to see the bright stars. Didn't stir again until AM, I emerged around 6am. Ate, fished a bit, packed up and made my way back along the trails to the car. Spotted a seepage along the jeep trail (from neejer) and cleared the opening of the spring. Filled up my water bottle (good stuff!). Back at car before 10:30. 14 miles.

6-7 March 2010 bear Lake with L2R. 

The leanto is done! The official “adopter” is Judy; although she says it is really Lean2Rescue but the State needed an official representative. For me this trip began in the fall of 2009 when I made the first trip to Bear Lake to prep the site and bring in tools/hardware. A few more trips later culminated with this trip. After all the hard work leading up to this, the final day of construction was relatively easy. All the tools and materials were pre-arranged. We had snowmobile support to/from the site. So I expect not to be sore like after most L2R trips. When the final nail was put in, and after the ribbon cutting ceremony we sparked up a raging inferno in the fire pit. Sitting on the deacon seat of the leanto was “too hot”. Ate some Brats and some beverages. We stood out on Bear Lake looking at the stars. I commented to Judy that we were standing on Bear Lake, while looking at Ursa Major. Went to bed full and pleased with our job. Arose with the sun and after packing up I got a ride back to my car. 0 miles hiked.

19 Feb 2010 Bear Lake with Lean2rescue. 

The chopper flight that wasn't. Picked up Becca at 4am to drive to LZ in woodgate. Arrived at 7am and waited until 10 when the word came the helicopter flight was scrapped. We hitched a snowmobile ride to the TH and then hiked in to Bear Lake as there was still work (a little) to do. The trail groomer was able to bring in 6 logs to the TH and sleds brought them to the lake. At camp there were many hands for the little work. Between setting the foundation logs, floor kit and collecting/splitting wood we worked past sunset. The celebratory festivities began at the fire raged on. Slept like a baby and was one of the first awake. Becca and I decided since there was no leanto to build that day, and no one else was stying, we would also bug out. Becca caught a ride with the snowmobile that was bring out the gear all the way back to the car. I hiked out 3.5 miles until the sled picked me and 4 others up. The snowmobile had s pulks trailing it all the way back to the parking lot. 5.5 miles total, next weekend the leanto will be built, hopefully not without me.

29 Jan 2010 Pharaoh Lakes Wilderness. 

After a 5+ hour drive I arrived at the TH. Justin, Mike and J's dad (paddlewheel) hiked across Putnam Pond past the ice-fisherman to the trail which goes to Clear Pond. We then hiked the .6 miles to Clear and then across the frozen pond to an unmarked campsite off the trail. We made camp and collected wood. It was to be warmer than the previous night but still below zero. After collecting and prepping quite a bit of wood, Justin, his dad and I climbed Big Clear Mt. About 600ft elevation gain over a quarter mile. We found a nice spot at the top to relax and look out over Clear Pond. There was the remains of a tree that had burned from the inside. Justin/Paddle told me about the big fires in the area back in the 50's and at the turn of the century. Back down the mountain to where Mike had collected more wood. We started the fire and ate. After numerous hours of eating and coversation the moon finally appeared. While it was the day after the full, it was still impressive. Illuminating the entire Pond and casting shadows. I was second to turn in and slept until 6am when my restlessness due to natures call finally pushed me out into the cold. Back in the tent I was soon asleep and awoke to the sun. As I lay there, I eventually heard Justin get up and restart the fire. I made myself some tea and then joined Justin by the fire. When everyone was awake I began to pack up. I said my goodbyes and headed out the same way we came. While I was warm enough in the tent, I should have brought my hammock. I never learn. Oh, this was the 4th trip for the pulk. It is a dream going across the frozen ponds with the sled. Morning temps was -5*F. 3.8 miles.

16 Jan 2010 Bear Lake III. 

Lean2rescue trip to prep the LZ and bring in supplies for the Feb helicopter drop off. Trip in was easier than expected as we had snowmobile support. I had no materials in my pulk. Just my camping gear and Doug's day pack. 1 mile in (the rest on sled). At the site, we built a picnic table and unloaded the roofing materials. We were done by 1pm. With n work left to do, most of the crew departed and 8 of us stayed the night. Built a fire, talked and ate until the late late hour of 8pm. Slept through the night very warm. First up at 7am. Mooch and I left first around 10-10:30. 7 miles back to the parking lot. 5 of it on the snowmobile trail. At one “downhill” section, we sat on our pulks and rode them down the trail for about a hundred yards. 8 miles total.

1 Jan 2010 Minister Creek with NEOH Backpacking Group. 

The “don't touch my morning wood” trip. Arrived at TH a bit early. An Ohio plate was in the lot. I wondered if it was from the group. It turns out Pat was there, but parked across the way. Soon the rest arrived. We waited until noon to head out. The trail was a gradual uphill until we got close to the overlook. From there it was climbing through the crevice. I needed to unhook the sled and carry it. The way down was easy, though the sled liked to find the small rocks and wedge itself. We took many breaks until we reached the triple forks campsite. I do not think we parked at that site though. After setting up camp and collecting some wood, we had dinner and a fire. Much conversation with new friends. (Harry, Marcus, Fairweather, Andrea, Katherine, and Pat) Althogh Katehrine was cold so she was bundled up in the tent. I slep soundly and warm. AM temps were 15*F, overnight was probbably a bit lower. After breakfast since I was already packed up and Rob (he arrived overnight) was leaving, I decided to follow him out. His pace was quicker much due to the sled slowing me up at blowdown and rock crossings. I didn't see him again, and lost his travks soon after the overlook. The climb back up to the overlook was taxing, but worth it. It always is. Back at the car, I tossed the sled in, and drove home. 8miles total.

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