Back in the fall the Northern Forest Canoe Trail reached out to me asking if I would be willing to do a presentation to a local outdoor club on their behalf. I’m not your typical motivational speaker but I jumped at the chance to talk about something I feel passionate about. This past week I traveled to Utica, NY to give my presentation. I’m truly grateful that the NFCT felt confident enough in me to even ask.
As winter pressed on I had been keeping an watchful eye on the volume of snow in the north country “Adirondacks”. As my presentation date grew closer I decided I would spend the night in Utica with my sights set on some snowshoeing. The next morning I would do my 4 mile run before checking out of the hotel and continue my trek northward.
I arrived in Old Forge at the Bisby Road trailhead under cover of overcast skies with temperatures around 28 degrees. In my opinion this was almost near perfect. Strapping on my snowshoes, throwing a few last minute items in my backpack I was soon off on my adventure.
The first mile of trail had been broken by XC skiers but that soon would change. The next 4 miles I would have to break trail myself and around the half way point my legs were beginning to feel it. I took a few rest breaks standing in awe of the beauty and the silence. I was the only one out here on these particular trails, I saw not one other human being until I returned to my car.
Once back to the trail junction and my final mile before returning to civilization I stopped for a bit to strip down some of my clothing. I worked up a pretty good sweat over those 4 miles, it was time for a snack and some water.
This 6 mile journey took me 4 hours in which I took a few breaks, some photos and a few video clips. The day could not have been more perfect as the clouds gave way to a blueberry Adirondack sky.
When I heard in the Spring of 2016 that New York State acquired the 20,758 acre Boreas Ponds Tract from the Nature Conservancy which subsequently was purchased from the Finch, Pruyn Paper Company I had all I could do to contain myself. This 320 acre beauty is bordered by the North River Mountain Range to the west, the Boreas Mountain Range to the east and the High Peaks Wilderness to the north. I have been chomping at the bit since to make this journey and canoe this remote piece of heaven.
I car camped Friday night along Blue Ridge Road in the town of North Hudson, NY about 6 miles east of the access road to the ponds. Early Saturday morning I woke to 38 degree temps as I made my way to the parking lot which is 3.5 miles down a dirt road, a rather bumpy dirt road I might add. When I arrived it was a mere 30 degrees, looking around I noticed there were four other cars in the lot as well. The sun had just begun to rise, as I stepped out of the car I could feel that brisk chill take a hold of me. I quickly added another top layer and began to load my canoe and gear for the additional 3.6 mile hike to the Boreas Ponds. Canoe strapped to the canoe cart as I slid under the barrier to the DEC register box. All signed in and off I went. I quickly experience technical difficulties with the canoe cart due to my inexperience in lashing the canoe to it. The trail in is quite boring and lacks scenery until you get closer to your destination. I covered the 3.6 miles in 1:18:20 hauling about 30 pounds of canoe and gear. Upon arriving I was in awe of the view that I didn’t notice a guy and his dog sitting along the waters edge. I was startled by Shelby a yellow lab barking at me, we quickly made friends. I chatted for a few minutes with the gentleman and he told me that they had hiked in yesterday and were camping close by. Unpacking my gear I caught a glimpse of two people in a green canoe fishing off in the distance.
Getting my act together out on the water I went. The magnitude of peacefulness was awe-inspiring. Paddling across First Pond the whisper of my paddle entering and exiting the water complimented boreal birds who were singing along the shoreline. Soon enough the call of Loons shattered the stillness with their own chorus echoing off the mountains. I decided to pay a visit to the two men in that green canoe. We made small talk but I learned that they had only caught 1 trout, they were from Lake Luzerne and their wives were hiking in to camp that evening.
I spent around 2 hours exploring this magnificent resource before heading back to shore. Canoe and gear reloaded and properly secured it was time for my 3.6 mile hike back to the car. Along the trail I passed quite a few hikers, bikers and canoers all on their way to enjoy the wonders of the Adirondacks. I covered the return distance in 1:01:53 and had my gear loaded back onto and into my car. Now it was coffee O’Clock, so out came the Jetboil and in about 2 minutes I had a very nice hot cup of Joe. I sat on a large rock and drank in this experience, one I had been dreaming about for over a year. It was everything I had thought it would be.