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Archive for January, 2013

May 30th

Climbed Castle Rocks. Rowed out onto Lake Durant. Discovered an island.

May 31st

Started at 9am. Cut trail in from Pilsbury Mt. Trailhead. Came upon a river with the bridge out, and a swamp with the boardwalk leaning sharply into the water.

It was a swampy trek to the interior today. With all the rain the past few days, pools of mud have filled up on the trail, making it damn near impossible to pass. It only took 2 hours to reach Cedar Lake from the Pilsbury Trailhead, but it was a difficult 2 hours. With the temperature drop, you can feel the discomfort from every drop of water that penetrates your boots.

Whole sections of the boardwalk through the swamp were missing, and I could see moose tracks in the mud. They looked fresh. I followed them until they disappeared into the brush near the Cedar River. I was grateful to find the bridge, to Cedar Lakes over the Cedar River, was not out.

When I got to camp, I took off my wet clothes and took a nap.

June 1st

A cool breeze blowing in off the lake, and three loons swimming a ways out from shore. The water is deceptively warm. A thick mist hovers over the surface, bathed in the golden dawn light. Noisey Ridge, the only sight visible above the tall Red Spruce and Balsam Fir, arches nobly upward, but at about 1,500 feet it is only a foot hill to Snowy, Panther and even Pilsbury.

I am beginning to believe I am being followed by the same red squirrel. It seems no matter where I am, his chattering is never far behind. When I awoke from my nap last night, he was there, on the tree to the left of the leanto. It seems he worked himself into a frenzy, but soon we worked up a report. He would chatter, and I’d chatter right back at him. He’d run a ways up the tree and before long he was back a’chatterin’. What a strange rodent, to have no fear of man.

I am leaving camp to clean Cedar Leanto #1, after the sordid group of last week trashed it thoroughly. They don’t want to pack out their trash, so it’ll strain my back… I suppose they weren’t raised right. Always thinking their mother is close behind to pick up their mess.

After that I will resume my search for hidden canoes.

***

No canoes yet, but I did get the leanto a bit cleaner. Not much more I can do by myself.

***

Brandon came into the woods today. We didn’t get much done. Just made dinner from the food left behind at the other leanto. Had fried spam. Well, there’s a first for everything. Tasted about as indiscriminate as the average hot dog.

We got a storm blowing in. The whole lake is tossing furiously and the trees are in a fearful trembling. To think, in June, I can see my breath, in a year that had no snow. I can make neither heads nor tails of such weather. I believe it will be a right cold night.

June 2nd

It was a cold night last night indeed. The wind gusty and sharp. I awoke in an achy chill.

The rain started near eight last night and kept a’fallin’ all the way into this evening. I took the fly rod out when the rain stopped falling but I’ve got a lot of kinks to work out of my cast. I’ll have all summer to work it out.

Toward dusk the clouds drifted apart and opened up to a beautiful golden red sunset over the lake. This truly is one of god’s special places. I stood on a beaver dam looking out at the loons and the rolling fog and thought, not a bad place to get stuck.

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All day our camp was harassed by a chipmunk. It seems he got in my bag overnight and got a taste of granola. I fed him a peanut for breakfast (though I know I shouldn’t have), and he hasn’t left us alone since. We’ll be moving along soon, and he’ll have to learn to make his own way.

June 3rd

Woke up to another foggy, golden sunrise over the Cedar Lakes. A man could stay here forever. Never seen such a place. Not a man made structure in sight. Not a man made sound to be heard.

While Brandon slept soundly, I went a’fishin’, but there were no fish in sight. So I watched the golden light rise over the Balsam and Spruce, illuminating the gently rolling fog and reflecting like a halo off the still lake water.

By the time Brandon awoke, the lake was no longer still and there was a fresh storm moving in from the southeast. We packed quickly, and swept the leanto, before cutting out at 10. We made the trailhead in about 2 hours, despite being mired on a swampy trail. At one point the beaver dam that had flooded the trail was even worse, and there was nothing to do but stomp through it.

June 4th

Hiked into the West Boarder trail. Cleared low branches and noted much blow down. Whole trail needs work.

June 7th

Went whitewater rafting with Ranger Bruce and the other interns. Got to see much of the wildlife of the Upper Hudson Gorge. Blue Herons, Broad-Winged Hawks, Rainbow Trout, Turkey Vultures, Merganzers, Black Ducks, and an unidentified woodpecker. Toward the end of the trip we spotted a red squirrel paddling its way across the rover. Seeing our raft he dove underneath and emerged some ten feet past and kept swimming. Fearless little buggers.

June 8th

Cleared overgrowth, low branches into Snowy Mt.

June 10th

Hiked into the Cedars. Dismantled a fire ring at the dam. Put out a smoldering ground fire at leanto #1. Whole trail into West Lake needs work. Whole Northville Placid Trail needs work. Trail into West Lake leanto #2 is flooded and impassible. Hikers at Cedar Dam bushwhacked rather than take the flooded trail.

Hiked 17 miles into West Lake. It was a long haul on unmaintained trails. The worst of it was the constant presence of spiders.

I came into West Lake at dusk, 10 hours of hiking to this remote lake. It was truly a spectacular sight at dusk. It is, more than any place I’ve yet seen, a solitary place. It appears as though no man has come this way in quite a while. Perhaps it is because of the poor state of the trail, with trees hanging over the trail every which way, and many places flooded, so that one must wade through the mud.

I must make a point to improve it, so that I might spend more time here. Such a peaceful solitude.

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