Sunday, May 10, 2020

Weekend @Cage Lake

Met Andy and Lance at the trail-head to Cage Lake on Youngs Road. I have been avoiding hiking this trail for may years as most of it is along a primitive corridor which the owners of a private in-holding use to access their property via ATV. I have heard reports of the trail condition being less than desirable. After visiting Cage from the south last year I knew I would be back. This would be the weekend. Trout season has started so I would bring along my gear as well as a small paddle for the canoe we located. The weather was supposed to be nice all weekend with rain the last day. We donned (heavy) packs and started down (up?) the trail. The air was cool enough to make the hiking very comfortable in just a base layer. After the first half-mile we intersected with the ATV trail. The rutted portions were soon to follow.

The trail was either great, or impassable. Some of the ruts were so bad, even the ATVs have made alternate routes. Which of course created new mudholes to go around. Some of the trail was quite nice though. Especially the portions along the old railroad grade. These were some long straight dry sections. Every once in a while a flooded beaver section would need to be crossed, or routed around. We stopped for lunch alongside a small creek. All were glad to remove the packs for a spell. We took another break at the top of a rise with many boulders strewn about. We were moving slowly at this point. Being out of shape with heavy packs and the constant picking our way around ATV ruts was tiring. Even still, we made it to Cage in decent time. Camp was set-up. Firewood procured and the canoe located.

The rest of the time we were here, we didn't venture too far. Only to collect firewood and paddle around the lake. The wind was such that paddling was a chore with such a small paddle. I never did fish. We hung out, made food, gathered more wood. Sat by the lake, paddled. This was our routine for the rest of the trip. Was great to relax and be away from all the jibber-jabber of the rest of the world. Enjoying the moments and living in the present both temporally and geographically.

The morning of our departure we arose early. The weather was suppose to get worse as the day progressed so we wanted an early start. On trail at 7am with rain gear at the ready. Was chilly, but not cold. Lighter packs and having relaxed for the weekend, the hiking was quite a bit easier. We stopped for a snack at the hunting camp along the way. A few light sprinkles were felt a few times, but not enough to put on rain gear. Just after one of the beaver sections, it decided to rain proper. Without a word, we dropped our packs and put on our jackets. We didn't have that much farther to go fortunately. The rain subsided but we didn't bother taking off the jackets opting to only push the hood back and unzip it.

We were back at the cars just before 11am, so we made great time. I will visit again, but probably not from this trail-head. The old trail from the Oswegatchie is passable but requires canoe access. Sounds like a plan for a future trip.

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