Headed into Cold River country by way of Corey's Rd. Kalie, Jim and Ben also joined me. With the LUVA paperwork out of the way we headed down the trail to the Calkins Brook lean-tos. Jim and Ben were out in front and were soon out of view. I tried to tell myself it is a result of their over 6ft heights and respective stride lengths. In reality, I am just slowing down.
At the junction of the foot trail and horse trail I wondered if they took the wrong trail. Notblong after I did not see any fresh tracks in the mud, so I assumed they took the foot trail. At the nect junction I called out for them since the foot trail intersected the old road as well. No reply. I drew an arrow in the dirt and my name. I figured if they were ahead of us, we would meet them at the lunch lean-to. If they were behind they would see my arrow.
The old roadway is quick walking. 2 hours after we started, Kalie and I were at Calkins. So were the mosquitoes. I made a smudge fire. A few minutes later Jim and Ben arrived. They had waited for a bit, and then backtracked to the horse trail and eventually saw my arrow.
With the group reunited, we had lunch and chatted. With the fire out, we set out for the remaining 5 miles to the Cold River. Again Jim and Ben were out in front. I paused at the spring and filled my water bottle. After, the trail got thicker with growth and blowdown. At the next main junction to Latham Pond Jim and Ben were waiting. About a mile later we hit a low area which was flooded. The deepest was over our boots. At least the old roadway made the ground underneath solid and not a mucky mess.
We turned and headed to Cold River #3 which a few others had recently arrived. They were up at CR4 swimming but decided to relocate here. So we went to CR4 to make camp. On our way the others from their party passed us going the other way.
A bit over 11 miles in 5.25 hours. I gathered some wood, and made another smudge fire. It was still rather early but I was tired having gotten up at 3am, and driving 5 hours. I did manage to make it past 9pm before hitting the sack.
Like usual I was up early. Did not sleep as well as I hoped. Ben was also up. Got the fire started and made some coffee. Jim was next to emerge. Kalie likes to sleep in, so we tried to stay quiet. The plans for the day were to day trip to Seward, and possibly Ouluska to dig privy holes. Jim had wrenched his back so he would head back to Calkins for the night. We would meet him the next morning on our way out.
We packed day bags including shovels and saws and the lean-to books. Ben and I headed out first. Kalie would follow. The trail had considerable blowdown which we would take care of on the return. The Cold River never disappoints along this stretch. We did dig out some drainages aling the way.
At Seward I went to work on digging a new hole. First attempt I uncovered the buried trash from the old lean-to roof. Had to start again. The ground is not easy to dig here. The organic material on top is a web of roots, then a rocky layer with large roots. Then sand, and rock. Ben took a turn with the shovel and found even more roots deep in the mineral soil. After a few hours of digging we had enough. Ben jumped into the hole so Kalie could take a photo of the depth.
We rested at the lean-to. Even though it was not very late I opted to save Ouluska for another time. As we rested a group arrived. They had met Ben earlier atvthe trailhead. I saw their entry in the register as heading to Duck Hole and then Shattuck. I told them the lack of campsites at Shattuck now, and mentioned the one right near our lean-to they were welcome to use.
We had some trail work still to do on the way back. Ben and Kalie were out in front moving downed trees and cutting the smaller obstacles. I took care of the larger. We did a great job clearing that section. It needed it.
Back at camp I set up my hammock and made another smudge fire. Kalie received word from Jim via their satellite devices that he was at Calkins and cleared a "metric shit ton" of blowdown. The group from Seward arrived. One in their party had tripped and "face planted". It appeared she may have broken her nose. Yikes. They chose to camp nearby. We would see them often as they came to the river's edge. Also spoke with one of the guys from CR3 when he stopped over to swim. He asked about trail crews, and lean-to work and how to help out financially. I told him we were working with ADK but also told him of a number of organizations including lean2rescue.
I do not think I made it past dark before I was in my hammock.
Slept great. Awake very early so tried to stay quiet. Ben was also awake. I quietly packed up and made some coffee. Kalie was up not long after (early for her). We were back on the trail 15 minutes before we planned. Except for the flooded section and the brush, the trail was in good shape thanks to Jim's work. I again paused at the spring to get water. The bugs were starting to get bad at Calkins even with the fire so we didn't rest super long. It was 6 miles left to the cars starting with a long uphill. We were back to the cars before 1pm. Ben suggested getting milkshakes at Stewarts. That sounded like a fantastic way to end the trip.