Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Colvin Brook and NPT

 As the adopter of the Colvin Brook lean-to, and steward for part of the NPT in the area, I visit at least twice a year for maintenance and trail clearing. Last time to Colvin Brook was with Lance and Justin. We walked through the flooded section of the NPT. I guess Lance didn't get enough because he came along again. Also Dan was in tow, but he paddled to the Carry lean-to and went to fish a nearby pond. He would meet us at Colvin Brook.

The gate at Wakely was still closed so this added 1.3 miles to our day all along the dirt road. The black flies were horrendous at Wakely Dam, but as we hiked they were rather non-existent. At about 11am the sky opened up on us. It lasted at most 20 minutes. The rain was cold. Stark contrast to the 80 degree air. After the rain the temperature was a bit cooler. At the flooded section I was in/out of my water shoes quickly as I did not want to linger for the black flies to find me. I needed to use the thunderbox at Carry, so I told Lance I would meet him there. After finishing up and signing into the log book, I waited a bit for Lance. I then went back to the main trail and called for him... no reply. I put an arrow woth sticks on the ground and headed towards the Sucker Brook trail hoping I would catch up with him.

At the junction there was no sign anyone had made the turn. From here I would need to clear trail on the NPT all the way to Cedar Lake. I dropped my pack with its rain cover on it. Took my daypack with rain & emergency gear and my saw and headed down the NPT. I gave myself a two hour turn-around time. I marked an arrow in the leaves to show which direction I headed. Cleared quite a bit of blowdown. I only made it to the "woodstove crossing" campsite before I headed back. I was tired. Stopping to cut blowdown and move the debris from the trail is exhausting. I downed some water. Cleared some drainages on the way back. At the junction I could now see some tracks headed towards Colvin Brook.

I stopped at my favorite water source and filled up my bottle. I would save any cutting of downed trees for the way out. At the Cedar River I could see Lance in the lean-to. He waved as I put on my water shoes to ford the Cedar River. The cold water felt great on my sore ankles.

 Lance had collected some firewood already. I would add to the pile. We both set up our gear in the lean-to. A hummingbird visited and hovered in front of the lean-to for a few moments. Not much later we started the fire. Smoke to keep the bugs at bay, and to get some coals for the kebabs Lance was making for dinner. He was just about finished cooking when Dan arrived. Since he paddled most of the way he transported the beer I brought. He said it needed to be chilled so we made a spot in the river for it.

Dinner was great. The beer and conversation afterwards was also delightful. I do not recall staying up very late. A few times in the middle of the night I awoke to what I thought was rain. It was just the river. I tossed around a few times on my sleeping pad. The hammock is still my preferred camp bed. But I still slept ok. I was up early, so I started the fire. Lance was also awake, said he slept terrible. Poor guy.

After coffee and breakfast Dan headed out to get a little fishing in before we would rejoin each other for the ride home at 12:30. I cleared some blowdown on the way out. I filled up water just before the NPT and we headed back. Another rest at the Carry lean-to. Lance wasn't able to get his water bag deep enough at the river's edge, so we would have to stop again aling the way. At the flooded section the blackflies found us and again at the spring box where Lance filtered some water. He was moving slow and we rested a fair bit.

We arrived at Wakely with perfect timing to meet Dan. After saying farewell to Lance, I drove down to the boat launch to help Dan with his canoe. He had a few fish for the cooler.