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Thread: Piseco to Wakely Dam in a day (9/25/09)

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    Senior Member DSettahr's Avatar
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    Apr 2005

    Northville Placid Trail: Piseco to Wakely Dam in a day (9/25/09)

    Well, not quite. We went from trailhead to trailhead, starting at the end of Haskell Road and finishing at Cedar River Road, about a mile from Wakely Dam. Nevertheless, it was still a challenging 30 mile day.

    It started when my friend Danie suggested we hike the same route as the Wakely Dam Ultra along the Northville-Placid Trail in a day... unfortunately, with my friends, you can't suggest something like that and then not do it. As soon as one of us gets an idea like this, we're committed. And so, we planned the hike for Friday, and spotted a car at the Cedar River Road end Thursday night.

    Got up early Friday morning and headed to the trailhead. Got started at almost 6 am exactly, with only the faintest hints of light beginning to show on the Eastern horizon. Accompanying the two of us was Danie's Malamut Inga (who definitely won the award for still having the most energy at the end of the day- more on that later).

    Made it easily to Fall Stream in about an hour and a half. The trail in to this point is fairly flat. By this point, it was light enough out for us to take off our headlamps. After Fall Stream, the trail begins to gain some significant elevation as it winds its way up towards Spruce Lake.

    By the time we reached Spruce Lake itself, approximately 3 hours had elapsed since our start. We found all 3 lean-tos to be un-occupied. While standing at the 2nd lean-to, we thought we could hear voices at the 3rd, but we eventually determined that we had only heard the distant honking of geese flying south far above us.

    We continued our way north to Sampson Bog Outlet, where we ran into a group of 3 who were taking several days to hike the same route as us, Piseco to Wakely Dam. We talked with them for a few moments, then continued on our way.

    We reached the West Canada Creek at approximately 10:40 am, about four and a half hours after we started. From here, it was an easy hike over to South Lake (we encountered a group of 4 State Troopers backpacking on the way) and then up to West Lake, where we stopped for Lunch just after 11:00 am.

    After lunch and some stretching to relieve those muscles that had tightened up on us as we rested, we set off towards Cedar Lakes. Right before we left the West Lake Clearing, we encountered the group of 3 that we had met at Sampson Bog Outlet again, having caught up to us and preparing to stop for lunch.

    At Cedar Lakes, we ran into 2 through hikers on the NPT and one overnighter spending the weekend at the Lakes. After talking to the through hikers, we discovered that one of them had worked at the same Wilderness Therapy Program that both Danie and I had formerly been employed by, and not only that, but her friend had taken care of Inga before Danie had adopted her.

    From Cedar Lakes, we continued onwards to the Carry Lean-to, which we reached at 4:30 pm, about 10 hours after we had started. Our pace at this point was definitely beginning to slow, but after a second lunch at the lean-to, we found ourselves renewed with energy, and blasted out the last 4 miles, finishing 11 hours and 48 minutes after we had started. This time includes about an hour and a half to two hours of breaks for both lunches as well as snacks, side trips to check out lean-tos, and stopping to talk to people we encountered on the way.

    We definitely lucked out with the timing of this hike. The colors in the West Canada Lakes were just about at peak. All of the Red Maples were shining vibrant shades of crimson in the Fall sunshine. We were lucky to have excellent weather for the hike as well.

    We found the trail to be fairly dry for the most part, not nearly as wet as it has been earlier this season. Things are starting to dry out, although with all the rain forecast this week, all the drying could be undone.

    Oh yeah... and Inga was still chasing Chipmunks like it was her job at the end of the hike. I wish I could steal some of her energy.

    Last edited by DSettahr; 09-29-2009 at 07:04 AM.

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