Thursday, June 21, 2012

Adirondacks Day 2 (A) - Thurs 6/21/12

Part 3, Arrival at Heart Lake

Chapel Pond
The general plan for today is to get to Heart Lake (the Wilderness Campground at Adirondack Loj), set up camp, and get a "stretch the legs" hike in before the end of the day.

6:44am - We agreed to get up at 7 (or no later than...) this morning, but many of the gang are early risers and Phil arrives with a knock as Dave and I are still lying in bed dozing. He tells us that he and Leo have decided to run to Walmart early, and do we want to go along or is it alright for them to go. Without giving it much thought we say "go without us", but over the next hour or so it occurs to me that there were a few things I had planned on looking at, and I probably should have gone. They were little things, not even worth a phone call, and in the end it didn't matter.

"Chapel" geocache
7:19am - With Leo and Phil off shopping, there was no real urgent need to get moving, so I have flopped in bed for another half hour before getting up to shower. I am dressed and ready to go by 7:30, but it is 9:15 by the time the shoppers are back, everything has been gathered and the van completely reloaded. I don't know how we got even more stuffed into it...

We stop for a McDonalds drive through breakfast, and more importantly, coffee. Any time we are on the road in the morning, there seems to be an Egg McMuffin imperative, which I understand, as it is one of the few things at McDonalds that I like. It is a trip ritual if nothing else. We get back on 87 and roll north.

10:20am - We stop at a rest stop 8-10 miles south of our exit, and I am happy to see that there is a cache here. While the others tend to business, I walk the 400 feet to the other side of the parking lot and make an easy find in a pine tree. "High Peaks North" is the cache, and it is my first in Essex county NY. There is also a cache at the exit, which Phil and I find, and which gives me a little poison ivy on one calf. We are off the interstate for good now, and heading deep into the High Peaks region on route 73, heading towards Lake Placid.

10:45am - We stop at a beautiful little mountain lake called Chapel Pond. It's a very nice spot, with a picturesque lake tucked in between the mountains and the road. I can't help wondering how deep it is. I take a few pictures, and Dave, Phil and I wander off into the woods just beside the road to find a geocache. While heading toward the cache, Dave sees a complete shed snakeskin in a rock crevice (it's about two feet long). We find the cache easily, which makes a total of 6, but we are all leery of reaching way under a rock to pull it out after seeing the snakeskin moments before. We are back on the road soon, driving between lovely forested peaks on all sides.

Home Sweet Home Away From Home
11:30am - A brief stop on the access road into the campground nets us cache #7. I am anxious to see what the campgrounds looks like, having heard the others talk about it.

11:45am - The Adirondack Loj serves as the office for the campground, and we stop to check in and pay the balance due on our two sites (campsites are in the neighborhood of $45 each per night). The Loj is right on Heart Lake, which is small but beautiful. There is an area for swimming, canoes and kayaks that can be rented for $5 an hour, and a wifi hotspot for internet connectivity (although this turned out to be pretty sketchy speed-wise). One thing I quickly find out is that the cell reception is not good at all. Calls are impossible, and text messages only go out once in a while, but fail more often than not. We are completely out of touch more often than not.

It doesn't take us long to set up camp, and after a quick lunch of sandwiches and chips, we are ready for that short hike.

Next... Rocky Falls Hike

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