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Thread: Northville-Placid Trail, Sections 5&6 (7/2-4)

  1. #1
    Senior Member Guinness's Avatar
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    Northville-Placid Trail, Sections 5&6 (7/2-4)

    Nancy and I start out on our Northville-Placid Sectional hike Friday (7/1) night by meeting at the terminus off Old Military Road outside Lake Placid to spot a car. Finding the actual parking area at the trailhead was quite frustrating as neither of us had been there before and the directions we were working with were less than descriptive. After spotting the car, and losing an hour, we drove down to Long Lake and easily found the trailhead off Tarbell Hill Road.

    We started down the trail Saturday morning in what was a warm, sunny and calm day. The miles went quick as were cruising along at almost 3 miles per hour. We came upon the first set of lean-tos at Catlin Bay (1.9 miles) which were occupied. The trails were well maintained and dry this entire section.

    Passing the lean-tos at Kelley’s Point (4.8 miles) we soon came upon a strange site, an older wood screen house just off the right side of the trail. It was in good condition, but just looked like it did not belong there. Shortly after this point, Nancy froze in her tracks turned and regrouped with me. A bear came out onto the trail, saw us and turned to run away. In all me years in the High Peaks, this was my first bear sighting ever! I thought it was cool.

    Less than 3 hours after our start, we came upon Plumleys Landing Lean-tos (8.45 miles). Realizing we were cruising, it was decided to take an extended break. The sun was out, the day was not too warm, and the scenery was beautiful. We relaxed and even slept while lounging in the sun. Ranger Waters came upon us and we talked about the area and the trail ahead of us. We were impressed with his knowledge of the area and appreciated his comments regarding our planned trip.

    Soon we were at Shattuck Clearing (12.6 miles). We crossed the first suspension bridge after turning off the old gravel road. Crossed the second suspension bridge over the Cold River (13.35 miles) and stopped at Cold River #4 lean-to and met a seasonal ranger who hiked in for an evening stay. Continuing on, we came across the Seward Lean-to (16.62 miles). This lean-to and surrounding tent sites were very well maintained and was tempting us to just stay for the evening, but it was only 3:00 pm and plenty of daylight remains. After relaxing for half an hour, we decided to move forward to the Ouluska Pass lean-to.

    We arrived at Ouluska Pass (19.15 miles) at 5:00 pm only to find it was occupied! Other than the first lean-to at the start, we saw no other tents or occupied lean-tos. There were no available “level” tent sites and we had to setup the tent between some trees on a slight hill that causes us to slide when moving in your sleeping bag. The other hikers were not around until later that evening as they were busy attempting to hike up Emmons from this direction. We had our dinner, conversation, Bailey’s and just found more time to relax.

    Day Two: In the morning, we were off toward Duck Hole by 7:30. Shortly after leaving Ouluska Pass, we came upon the Rondeau Hermitage site (19.4 miles). We looked around, took some pictures and imagined what it must have been like in those years of 1912-1950 when Noah occupied this site. There is a new plaque placed by his friends located behind the main sign at the left turn in the trail. Bided our farewell and continued on.

    We joined with an old truck road and at 23.5 miles, we came upon Cold River Lean-tos #1 and #2. Of course they were unoccupied! Continuing on, we came upon Duck Hole (24.7 miles) which I thought was spectacular. I found it most interesting that just a few miles from the High Peaks with its thousands of visitors this holiday weekend, that we were alone on this trail, or at most with only a few other hikers. At Duck Hole, there were 4 other visitors in the two lean-tos and two others who were on the water in a canoe. Yes, you read right. They paddled and portaged a canoe all the way from Henderson Lake. Before we left, Nancy took a swim to refresh her self. As we left Duck Hole, three other hikers walked in.

    After an extended stay at Duck Hole, we moved on toward Moose Pond Lean-to (28.6 miles). It was now only 3:00 pm and a decision had to be made. This was the last lean-to before the terminus. The Wanika Falls area just 1.2 miles further ahead of us which have tent sites available, but we thought there would be a good chance other hikers might be staying there on this holiday weekend. We stayed at the lean-to for the rest of the day. In the early evening another hiker passed through and continued on. We relaxed, built a fire and enjoyed good conversation.

    Day Three: Back on the trail by 7:30 we soon arrived at Wanika Falls (29.8 miles) only to find no other visitors. Hiked up to the Falls and took a break. Nancy tried to take a swim, but soon found it was COLD! Back on the trail, we found the last six miles closer to a death march. It was warm and we were moving bait for the mosquitoes. We were back at the trailhead (36.85 miles) just after 11:30 am.

    One Final thought regarding Duck Hole and this entire trip. Many of you may not know it, I did not, but the DEC are abandoning the care and maintenance of the dam at Duck Hole, primarily for budget reasons. To see what you can do, go to www.saveduckhole.com and just maybe we can save a piece of history. Imagine what the area will become if the dams at Colden or Marcy were allowed to deteriorate. The landscape would change forever. Letting this dam go just makes it an easier decision to let the next dam fall. Something has to be done now. Please help.

    Over the years, I have spent all my time in the High Peaks and never knew of the jewel that lies in this area of the park. The mountain tourists and peak-baggers, which I am one of, are really missing out on what the Adirondacks are all about. The High Peaks are overflowed parking lots, trash filled lean-tos, crowded waterfalls and summits and eroded trails and then imagine hiking for 3 days and seeing only a 15 people and some of the best views imaginable. We are now planning on finishing the NPT possibly in two more three-day weekends. There is so much to see beyond the summits.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Rick's Avatar
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    Guinness, Nice Trip report.
    Sounds like you folks had a wonderful time. I absolutely agree with you on you comment about DH and the NLP being a jewel. The section of the NLP trail you reported on is where I first hiked in the the Adirondacks and fell in love with the area.
    There's a few folks over at www.adkforum.com that have paddled into DH via Henderson, I think maybe Redhawk can tell you more about his trip and the portage.

    Thanks for a good read
    Rick
    Rick

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