Tag Archive 'Adirondacks'

Jul 23 2017

Profile Image of Walt

Adirondack Retreat

Filed under Blog Post

After driving in out of downpours for 4 hours, then making my way up several miles of partially flooded dirt road, I parked my car at a trailhead and started hiking into the West Canada Lakes Wilderness. My dog Matika was right behind me, just as happy as I was to be slipping into the wild despite a light rain falling.

The rain stopped halfway to Pillsbury Lake but the trail was a stream by then and the forest was soaked. A rumbling in the distance. Hmm… Sounded like another storm approaching. We rolled into the shelter at Pillsbury Lake right before the next big downpour. Surprisingly enough, Matika and I had the place all to ourselves that night. So I strung a line inside the shelter and dried out my wet clothes and gear.

The next day was a different story: mist in the morning burning off to a warm, sunny day. Buggy, yes, but a nice day all the same. I looked around for a good place to camp but didn’t find one. So I spent a second night in the shelter. Again, no one came along.

The idea was to stay put instead of pounding trail, to hang out by a lake for 5-6 days, groove on the wild, and record my thoughts in a journal. That’s exactly what I did. On the third day, Matika and I grew a little restless so we went for a day hike to another lake in the area. That took a few hours. But for the most part we just sat. And we had Pillsbury Lake all to ourselves for a third night.

On day four, I was feeling pretty crunchy. Staying put had mellowed me right out. Ditto Matika. Chipmunks, sparrows, butterflies, and other critters started overrunning the camp. Neither one of us did much about it. Meanwhile, I just kept on scribbling in my journal.

At dusk when I went to put out my campfire and go to bed, I thought I had the place all to myself for a 4th night. But a pair of hikers came along an hour or so later. They were nice enough fellows. Still their sudden appearance broke the spell of my deep woods solitude. There would be more hikers on the way, no doubt, with the weekend fast approaching. So the next day Matika and I hiked out.

It’s hard to say what value the words I wrote in my journal have, or what exactly happened to me while I was out there, but I returned home incredibly relaxed, lighthearted and happy. My wife Judy found that amusing – so amusing that she waited a day before trying to have a serious conversation with me about anything. She saw the wild in my eyes. Hard to miss, I’m sure. Yeah, I went deep this time.

 

 

Comments Off on Adirondack Retreat

Mar 27 2017

Profile Image of Walt

Dreaming West Canada Lakes

Filed under Blog Post

This coming Sunday, I’ll be talking to the Mohawk-Hudson chapter of the Appalachian Mountain Club about the Northville-Placid Trail in the Adirondacks. While going though my slide show for the event, I became transfixed by photos of the West Canada Lakes Wilderness. I plan on spending a week there this coming summer. That trip can’t come fast enough.

I’ve been waiting rather impatiently for the snow to melt off so that I can start hiking again. Looking at photos of the West Canada Lakes is like scratching an itch. There’s no place I like more than the sprawling forests of the southern Adirondacks. Once the snow is gone and the trees leaf out again, I’ll be headed that direction.

I’ve been in the West Canada Lakes Wilderness four times. I first approached it from Wakely Dam in 2002. Went through it on the NPT in 2006, spent a few days there shortly thereafter, and visited Brooktrout Lake a few years ago. Brooktrout Lake, shown above, pulls a close second to West Lake by my way of reckoning. But that entire wilderness area is wild and beautiful and visited by few people compared to, say, the High Peaks. A good place to get lost. Yeah, the West Canada Lakes are right up my alley.

I’m not sure what this says about me. I am drawn to sprawling forests time and again – especially to those places that most other hikers avoid. If I go there, step off the trail and start bushwhacking, it’s that much better. And if I find a backcountry pond with no trail to it, well, then I’m in heaven. These are the thoughts that drift in and out of my mind as I go about my daily work routine, selling books, writing or publishing them. That’s one way of knowing that winter is almost over. Such daydreams are as sure a sign of spring as the first robins.

So enough with the white stuff already. Bring on the cold mud, and let the hiking season begin!

 

 

Comments Off on Dreaming West Canada Lakes

Aug 07 2014

Profile Image of Walt

Touring the Adirondacks

Filed under Blog Post

Sacandaga CampYesterday morning I awoke to the sound of the Sacandaga River flowing southward just a few yards from my tent. As I broke camp I marveled at how much of the Adirondacks I’ve seen during the past 14 months while promoting my book, The Allure of Deep Woods. I’ve visited dozens of stores in as many towns, sometimes doing readings or signings. I’ve driven hundreds of miles inside the Blue Line, crossing my own tracks more than once. The task has given me a different perspective on the Adirondack Park, to say the least.

A couple hundred yards north of where I camped, the West Branch of the Sacandaga River joins its main stream. I crossed the West Branch eight years ago while hiking the Northville/Placid Trail. That’s the subject of my book. How strange to be so close to that wilderness experience yet so far away. Adirondack wild country and the web of roads and towns superimposed on it are two closely related yet entirely different things. I’ve come to know the latter quite well during my 14-month book tour.

The folks attending my reading at the Northville Public Library the night before asked me all sorts of questions. I did my best to answer their questions as honestly as possible, but can’t help but feel like I failed them as far as conveying the essence of deep woods goes. I sometimes wonder if my book is any better at that.

The Adirondacks are a vacationland for most people – a playground you could say. That’s a good thing. Any exposure to the natural world is good for the soul. That said, I wish I could relay the deeply religious sentiments that stir within me whenever I roam a wild forest, and inspire others to experience the same. But words only go so far.

 

2 responses so far

Jun 22 2014

Profile Image of Walt

Talking, Not Doing

Filed under Blog Post

HPICYesterday I did something rather strange. I drove to a major trailhead in the Adirondacks to give a presentation at the High Peaks Information Center about hiking the Northville/Placid Trail. After the talk, I spent the night in a walled, canvas tent with my wife Judy and my dog Matika. Then I drove home this morning. Didn’t actually set foot on a trail.

Such is the life of an outdoor/nature writer out promoting his work. In this particular case, I was promoting my NPT hiking narrative, The Allure of Deep Woods. Since I was in the Adirondacks, it made sense to be talking about hiking in the Adirondacks. All the same, there’s a big difference between talking and doing.

I haven’t been feeling well lately. Just a little pain in the gut that will probably amount to nothing. Judy accompanied me just in case it developed into something serious.

Our campground neighbors were chatty last night. Temps dropped into the low 40s. Judy crawled out of bed this morning all disheveled, looking like she hadn’t slept well. But I didn’t fully appreciate her sacrifice until she emerged from the restroom a while later, carrying a toiletry bag with the phrase “J’aime Paris” written on it.

On the way home we stopped at a small park where I tossed the ball for the Matika. Judy sat on a rock for a while watching the Ausable River rush along beneath a mostly sunny sky. It was a compensation of sorts, certainly. On the second day of summer, neither one of us is inclined to complain. As for Matika, well, she goes with the flow no matter what.

 

Comments Off on Talking, Not Doing

Feb 23 2014

Profile Image of Walt

Deep Woods Talk

Filed under Blog Post

Trail into WCLW copyOn Saturday, March 8th, I’ll be talking about the Northville/Placid Trail to my fellow Green Mountain Club members. I’m excited by the prospect. This will be my first time presenting to the GMC, and my first time using visuals.  Judy has helped me put together a slide show. If you live anywhere near the GMC Visitor Center in Waterbury Center, VT then come on down. $5 fee for members. $8 for non-members. The event starts at 7 pm.

If you miss that show, I’ll be at Stowe Library at 7 pm on Thursday, March 27th, doing something similar, reading from my NPT hiking narrative, The Allure of Deep Woods, and talking about the importance of wildness. As many of you know all too well, talking comes naturally to me.

While I’d rather be on the trail winding through the Adirondacks, talking about it with like-minded others is the next best thing. Like many Vermonters, I sometimes forego the lush, green mountains close to home for the sprawling forests on the other side of Lake Champlain. It’s a good thing to share.

When it comes to Adirondack wildness, the Northville/Placid Trail is the way to go. There are lots of people in the High Peaks region, especially during the summer. But it isn’t difficult to experience wilderness solitude on the NPT. That’s why I don’t mind talking about it. The NPT is the less-traveled path.

 

Comments Off on Deep Woods Talk

Aug 18 2013

Profile Image of Walt

The Wild for Everyone

Filed under Blog Post

John Dillon ParkAs I go around talking about the deep woods and all it has to offer, I often think about those who can’t reach it. One has to be ambulatory and in relatively good shape to hike several miles into a wilderness area. But there are ways that even people who use a wheelchair can access the wild.

Everything at John Dillon Park is handicap accessible – the shelters, trails, picnic areas, fishing access and kayak dock. Located on land owned by International Paper, halfway between Tupper Lake and Long Lake in the Adirondacks, this is one of the nicest parks I’ve ever seen. And the folks at Paul Smith College do a great job managing it.

I stayed overnight here while promoting my book last week. I was amazed by the place. At the end of a two-mile dirt road, John Dillon Park rests on the shores of Grampus Lake. Here anyone can experience the wonder and beauty of the northern forest. With free firewood, storage bins for food and trash, composting toilets, and potable water, it is primitive camping at its best.

At first I was hesitant to stay here, not wanting to take a shelter away from someone who could put it to better use. But this small, private park, only seven years old, is underutilized. So check out the John Dillon Park website and spread the word.

 

One response so far

May 31 2013

Profile Image of Walt

Adirondack Book Now in Print

Filed under Blog Post

ADWcoverMy narrative about hiking the Northville/Placid Trail, The Allure of Deep Woods, is now in print. I couldn’t be happier. The folks at North Country Books did a fine job with it.

The NPT passes through some of the most beautiful country in upstate New York’s Adirondack Park, traversing one wild forest and four wilderness areas. I was wet and muddy during most of that two-week trip but didn’t care. Just thinking about it makes me want to plan another big outing. What’s wrong with me?

As most of you know, I can’t walk a mile without making an observation about the natural world, commenting on the importance of wildness, or breaking into some historical rant. This book is chock full of it. I didn’t hold back.

You can order a copy by calling North Country Books at (315) 735-4877, or going to my website: woodthrushbooks.com. Enjoy!

 

One response so far

May 08 2013

Profile Image of Walt

Hiking the NPT

Filed under Blog Post

Into the WoodsAs most of you know by now, my book about hiking the Northville/Placid Trail will be released at the end of this month. In the meantime, check out the guest blog about the NPT that I have written for SectonHiker.com. It was posted earlier today.

Along with an overview of my two-week trek, there are a few photos of the Adirondacks in that guest blog. They give you some idea what the trail is like.

New York’s Adirondack Park is best known for its High Peaks, but the region has so much more to offer. The NPT is a grand tour of the sprawling forests and pristine waters that have attracted outdoor enthusiasts to the Adirondacks for well over a hundred and fifty years. I was fortunate enough to hike NPT in 2006, and have enjoyed many excursions into those deep woods over the years. It is truly magnificent country.

 

Comments Off on Hiking the NPT

Apr 03 2013

Profile Image of Walt

Adirondack Book in the Works

Filed under Blog Post

ADWcoverMy narrative about thru-hiking the Adirondacks, The Allure of Deep Woods, is close to reaching print. I have been working hard on it with Zach Steffen at North Country Books during the past month. The manuscript has gone through its final edit, the interior layout is complete now, and the cover has been designed. This book will be released in six weeks or so.  I can’t wait to share it with you.

The production process forced me to read ADW from beginning to end for the first time in years. I forgot how deeply it delves into the idea of wilderness and its importance to our overall well being. I also forgot how wet and muddy I got on that trek, and how enjoyable it was regardless. I think that my attention to detail in this narrative will make reading it enjoyable for you as well. As always, I’ve taken a you-are-there approach to writing about my backcountry experience.

The Northville/Placid Trail is not heavily traveled in the cool days of early September. That made my passage through those sprawling wilderness areas and wild forests even more solitary than anticipated. As a result this book oozes wildness. If it does what it’s intended to do, the wild will also stir deep within the reader. I look forward to this reaction.

 

 

One response so far

Jan 07 2013

Profile Image of Walt

Coming Soon

Filed under Blog Post

At long last, a hiking narrative to rival my Long Trail book has gone into production. The folks at North Country Books have assured me that my Adirondack tale, The Allure of Deep Woods, will be released this spring. I couldn’t be more excited about the prospect.

Back in 2006, I hiked the Northville/Placid Trail, which meanders for one hundred and thirty miles through five wild forests and sprawling wilderness areas, from the southwestern quarter of the Adirondack Mountains to Lake Placid. It was a good trip despite all the rain, giving me a taste of deep woods in early autumn.

In addition to being a detailed account of my encounters along the trail, this book outlines the history of the Adirondacks. It also recounts the early days of the wilderness preservation movement, since the origins of that movement can be traced to this part of the country. And there is plenty of talk about the importance of wildness, as well.  Yeah, this book covers a lot of ground.  I look forward to sharing it with all of you very soon.

 

Comments Off on Coming Soon

Older Posts »