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Smelling the roses on the Cranberry Lake 50!

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  • Smelling the roses on the Cranberry Lake 50!

    “You’re heading NORTH?!?” one of my professors asked when I informed him of my Easter Break plans. I guess he wasn’t too familiar with the typical behavior of the common Adirondack addict. He had heard of the Cranberry Lake 50, though, a loop I had wanted to hike since I was informed about it by our very own DuctTape. An acquaintance from another forum wanted to hike it this Easter weekend, which happened to be the only time I had a long weekend this whole spring, so I happily accepted. As it turned out, he had some problems at work and had to drop out at the last second, so Thursday evening I prepared myself for a long solo hike.

    DAY ONE (23.5 miles, 12 hours):

    I found myself on the trailhead in Wanakena, NY, at 9 AM on Friday morning. It was chilly, but the warm sun made me smile at the clear day I would have ahead of me. The beginning of the trail was flat and easy to follow. Before I knew it I was at High Rock, which ended up being my first rest stop. It was neat to see it in this season, with the water so high and the landscape so barren. After some trail snacks I headed out again. The part of the trail in-between High Rock and High Falls was some of the most beautiful, in my opinion, on the whole trail. I love hiking among pine trees, and crisscrossing streams and rivulets. I saw a bunch of moose tracks, and “crazy birds” (have you read Hatchet?), aka grouse, scared the heck out of me quite often. The path went back and forth between a hard, flat trail; a soft, muddy trail; and a wet, snowy trail. By the time I arrived at High Falls, I was beginning to feel my feet. I took a long break there, taking pictures, enjoying the sun, eating a bacon cheeseburger, and loving the outdoors.

    Once I left High Falls, the difficulty of the trail began to increase in a direct proportion to my sense of humor decreasing. There was a LOT of snow in some sections, up to my thighs in many places. The mud increased quite a bit as well, and I did an excellent job of getting my boots and gaiters plastered. I was very pleased to see the trail sign at the intersection of the Dead Cr. Flow Trail and the Cowhorn Jct. Trail! I took another long break here, and decided that I wanted to climb Cat Mountain as well. Cat ended up being a very nice choice, and the quick .7 miles to the summit was easy and delightful. The view was very enjoyable, and the lack of wind made for a most pleasant time relaxing above the ledges. The hike down was nice as well, and soon I was heading onto Cowhorn Pond. This section of the trail had the worst blow down of the entire loop, I believe. It was quite the challenge, between the snow and the downed trees, to even make it to the Cowhorn Lean-to.

    Upon arriving there, I was greeted by people for the first time that day. They were a group of men from Watertown and surrounding areas who had apparently been out in the woods for 8 days. Each of them had a bit of a crazed look in their eyes as they spoke of their difficulty in getting to the lean-to. They informed me that they “wanted to die” as they hiked in via Wolf Ponds, since the snow was over their waist and they were carrying large packs. I figured it was best to let them duke out their angst with nature by themselves, and I excused myself from their presence to continue my hike onto Olmstead Pond. The hike from Cowhorn to Olmstead didn’t seem to take too long, and before I knew it I was eating a delicious quesadilla while sitting on the floor of the lean-to. There were lots of beaver on this pond, and at one point 4 different ones slapped their tails at me at the same time!

    GETTING LOST:

    After my dinner break I continued on around the loop, and then onto West Flow. This is where the adventure began. Instead of turning to the right and heading back up the trail to find the connecting trail, I hiked down to the water and promptly got myself lost. I had the CL-50 map, the Paddles Map, and the ADK Mt. Club USGS map all out, trying to figure out how to get to Chair Rock Flow. I figured it was a new trail, so maybe it wasn’t marked yet. I saw a faint herd path heading directly East from West Flow, so I figured that was it. Soon I was lost, wandering around on the cliff-like bank of the lake. This entire scenario demonstrates my sheer stupidity at times. I actually thought I was almost to Chair Rock Flow, as I followed the edge of the bank around to SOUTH FLOW! I By this time it was almost dark, and with adrenaline flowing through my veins I bushwhacked though the woods, knowing that if I followed the shore I would eventually find some trail. Finally I arrived at Six Mile Creek, thinking it was Chair Rock Creek. It’s amazing how once I got something fixed in my mind, I didn’t even consider an alternative, I simply tried to make that pre-conceived notion fit the situation. After crossing the creek I decided that I was not thinking rationally, and should really just set up camp and chill out until morning. So that’s what I did, and I’m sorry to say I spent my first night in my hammock about 50 feet off the trail. I apologize for breaking the rules! It was cold, and dark, the GPS couldn’t get satellite reception, and I thought it was the best decision.

    The following morning I awoke to 25 degree temperatures, 5 owls hooting loudly, and a welcome stream of sun cutting though the trees. I still had in my mind that I was on Chair Rock Flow, and was heading down a blue trail to the Biological Center, where I didn’t want to go. So I headed BACK down the trail and over Six Mile Creek again, eventually coming to Sliding Rock Falls. At this point I slapped my mind into submission. I sat down, got out the GPS, got out my guidebook, got out my three maps, and got out my open-minded thinking. After reading and thinking and letting my boots thaw out for about 20 minutes, it finally dawned on me that I had NOT been on Chair Rock Flow, but on South Flow. That’s when it clicked; I laughed in embarrassment, and began my actual hike in the correct direction. Looking back I’m ashamed to have made such a dumb series of mistakes, but learned my lesson though it. It also provided me with the opportunity to see the lovely sunset, and the beautiful cascade on Sliding Rock Falls. I would have seen neither if I had not been dumb, so I guess it all worked out in the end.

    Moose Track video
    High Falls video

    Summit of Cat Mountain video
    Olmstead Pond video
    Sunset on Cranberry Lake video
    Last edited by adktyler; 04-16-2009, 11:26 AM.
    Videos --- Camp Loonsong

  • #2
    Part 2

    DAY TWO (22 miles, 12 hours)

    After becoming oriented with my surroundings, and finally making it to the real Chair Rock Flow, I was pleased to find a newly-constructed bridge! Excellent! Soon I was on my way to Dog Pond. It took a long time to get into a rhythm, but once in it I made pretty good time. The trail was a little frustrating at times, since there were many paths weaving in and out and the markings were few and far between.; this made the correct trail ambiguous, and more than once I wondered If I was even going the right way. Once at Dog Pond my feet began to really, really hurt for the first time. I had put 30 miles of mountain and flatland hiking on them, but I guess that wasn’t enough to break them in fully. But after some more adjustment, moleskin, duct tape, loosening, and re-lacing, they felt better. The trail in between Dog and Curtis pond was lovely, and I enjoyed the variety of terrain and landscape that passed by. I stopped for another long break at East Inlet as I watched the waves glide across the water and the clouds drift across the sky. I took another break at Hedgehog Pond, listening to the soothing sound of the Red-Winged Blackbirds and other marshland birds.

    On the trail in-between Hedgehog Pond and Brandybrook Flow campsite # 6 I crossed paths with a 4-H group hiking in for the weekend. We chatted for awhile, and I was surprised at how much my moral was boosted by seeing people. I enjoy overnight solo trips, but anything much beyond that becomes very lonely for me, so simply seeing a bunch of smiling kid’s faces and some well-prepared adult leaders made my afternoon very bright! After parting ways with them, I took note of the mistake in the map. The trail actually travels directly past campsite # 10 on the lake; all my maps showed it being further into the woods. Within very little time at all I was heading North on the snowmobile trail. By the time I reached the path towards the Cranberry Lake Campground, the afternoon sun was beginning to wane, and I decided that my final leg of the journey would be to the campground and back. That proved to be one of the longest 4.8 miles of my life, and I almost hobbled on my blister-laden and partially nerve-damaged feet. I made it back to the main trail just as the sun set, though, and hiked 100 yards into the woods to lay my pad down and drift off to sleep.

    DAY THREE (18 miles, 6 hours)

    I awoke the next morning, at 4 AM, shivering in the 20 degree temperatures. I had decided that I made it far enough to be back to my house for Easter Dinner with my family, so I got up early to hike the remaining part of the trail. Almost everything was frozen solid, including last night’s sweaty clothing, much of my water, and most disappointingly, my boots. So I decided to hike out in my fleece clothing and Keene sandals. Thank goodness for merino wool socks! I By 5:00 am I was moving along and I must say that the road part (5.7 miles) was rather boring. I did, however, enjoy seeing the town up close. So often I simply drive though these quaint Adirondack hamlets and take no notice of the minute details and subtle cultural aspects of the community. It remained cold and windy all morning, and I had to move quickly to stay warm. Once back in the woods the sun really started to warm up the air, and I was able to layer down for the last part of the hike.

    To be honest, I just flew though the Peavine Swamp trail. I didn’t really care much about scenery at that point; I simply wanted to get back to the car. Even though most of the mud was frozen, and much of the snow still hard, every now and then I would break though a thin layer of leaves and ice, thus flooding my sandals and socks with cold, clingy mud. I chose to ignore the problem, and just continued hiking. Soon enough I was at the Ranger School, and actually pretty shocked that such a long journey was ending so quickly. For the last walk down to my car I reflected on my experiences over the past two days. There were so many little things that had made the trip special, but I don’t want to push your attention span or interest any farther than I already have by writing them down.

    I arrived back at the trailhead in Wanakena at 10:00 AM on that beautifully sunny morning. I was thrilled to have made it, and the joy overwhelmed the physical pain by leaps and bounds. I needed to call Viewseeker, and wanted to do a fire tower hike while I was so close, so I decided to jog up and tag Cathedral Rock while I was in the area. Having my pack off made my feet light, and within 40 minutes I had made the round trip hike. It was a nice warm down, and finishing it brought me back to my car at 11pm, exactly 50 hours after I began two days before. Overall the entire adventure was challenging, enjoyable, and rewarding. Thank you so much for everyone who created and maintains this trail, it’s a wonderful resource for us all!
    So sorry for another long trip report by yours truly, but I hope you found it somewhat entertaining. As usual, thanks for reading it! I’ll let the pictures tell the rest of the story: Lots of Pictures

    Stats (all distances were calculated using trail signs and my guidebook):

    Total estimated/calculated distance (including Cathedral Rock): 63.5 miles
    Total time (including Cathedral Rock): 50 hours
    Total estimated moving time (as in when I began hiking in the morning, and later finished hiking that evening, and including all breaks and Cathedral Rock): 30 hours
    Total estimated steps (my pedometer broke at Dog Pond, so I just doubled the number there): 87,060
    Total amount of weight lost: 7 pounds
    Total pack weight: 40 lbs (WAY TOO MUCH, could’ve made it much lighter)
    Total amount of water consumed: 490 ounces
    Total number of pictures taken: 346
    Total amount of video footage shot: 5 min, 39 sec
    Total number of pieces of trash picked up: 14
    Total estimated number of blinks: 75,000
    Total estimated number of times a profane word was thought (and maybe said out loud): 112.4
    Total estimated number of times I thought about food: 350 (+/- 100)

    Sliding Rock Falls video
    Bear Mountain Swamp video
    Cold morning on Sunday video
    CL-50 FINISH video!
    Summit of Cathedral Rock video
    Last edited by adktyler; 04-16-2009, 12:20 AM.
    Videos --- Camp Loonsong

    Comment


    • #3
      Nice Tyler Fun trip from the looks of it! Did you wear new boots?? Ya gotta get rid of that huge pack Way to much space to fill
      Last edited by billandjudy; 04-15-2009, 08:50 AM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by billandjudy View Post
        Nice Tyler Fun trip from the looks of it! Did you wear new boots?? Ya gotta get rid of that huge pack Way to much space to fill
        Thanks, Bill! I did wear semi-new boots. I got them in February, but had already hiked 4 trips with them, of over 30 miles, and they still gave me a rough time. I guess I need to add a lot more time on them before I go on a long hike. Oh well, another lesson learned.

        As far as the pack weight. Yea, I was planning on bringing my 3100 CU pack, but when I heard it was going to be below 30 degrees at night, I decided to bring my winter bag, which doesn't fit in my smaller pack. I am a very cold sleeper, and always shiver at night, so that ruined a lightweight trip. Next time I'll do this hike in the summer!

        By the way, here is the trail map: http://picasaweb.google.com/adktyler...08645177583874
        Last edited by adktyler; 05-11-2009, 10:39 PM.
        Videos --- Camp Loonsong

        Comment


        • #5
          Hey Tyler-ahem..... your TR is a ''class assignment'' in the ADK,and very interesting to read. tnx! Looncry and son

          Comment


          • #6
            Now that's a hike
            "The forest is the poor man's overcoat. " Old Northeastern Proverb

            Comment


            • #7
              40 pounds is a heavy pack? Dude, you're making me self-conscious. My pack needs to go on a diet.
              "Omni Quando Flunkus Moritati"-
              If all else fails, play dead
              ADK 46/46 #6680

              Comment


              • #8
                Nice trip report but I hardly call 2 days smelling the roses
                OUTDOOR SHOTS

                More hiking Pictures

                EASY CHEESE and The Cheez Whiz 46/46 ADK
                Easy Cheese and Cheez Whiz 46/46 winter

                EASY CHEESE and The Cheez Whiz 20/35 CATS

                HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by ADK88 View Post
                  Total estimated number of blinks: 75,000

                  Clearly your navigational mistake was partially due to your brain on overdrive trying to count that high

                  Always nice to tread your TRs... what are you up to this summer? Are you off or do you have school stuff going on?
                  Looking for a vacation rental in the High Peaks...? https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/3229472

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Nice trip, maybe except for the waist deep snow.. Wish I could see the pictures here..

                    Must have thought about ice cream like 9,999,999,999 times.

                    Jay

                    Life is a short, warm moment
                    And death is a long cold rest.
                    You get your chance to try in the twinkling of an eye:
                    Eighty years, with luck, or even less.
                    -Pink Floyd

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Another fun and entertaining report, Tyler. Glad you made it home for dinner too
                      The mountains are calling and I must go - John Muir.
                      #6385W, HOL47er, Ultra6er, CL50 #524

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Tyler, another excellent TR and media. I will probably get out to do the loop one of these days but probably closer to October for better conditions. I have hike the peavine swamp and the area around the East inlet and down to Dog Pond and then farther west in June back in '04 and the bugs were horrendous but every time I have been out that way I have enjoyed it.
                        Again great hike and commentary
                        "Climbing is about freedom. There's no prize money; there are no gold medals. The mountains are all about going there to do what you want to do. That's why I'll never tell anyone else how to climb. All I can say is, This is how I prefer to do it."
                        Ed Viesturs

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I'm so looking forward to doing that hike!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by looncry View Post
                            Hey Tyler-ahem..... your TR is a ''class assignment'' in the ADK,and very interesting to read. tnx! Looncry and son
                            Haha, thank you my good friend!

                            Originally posted by Mavs00 View Post
                            Now that's a hike
                            Gotta love it!

                            Originally posted by Rik
                            Next time you should take your time. Nice report.
                            Yea...I was actually going to smell the roses, but then none of them appeared to be in bloom yet. So some skunk cabbage sprouts sufficed for the time being. PM me your address and I'll send you some, they're lovely this time of year.

                            Originally posted by stokel View Post
                            40 pounds is a heavy pack? Dude, you're making me self-conscious. My pack needs to go on a diet.
                            It IS a heavy pack for three season. I was aiming for 35 or so pounds. My food and water made up much of that weight, and then the many layers of clothing required to keep a skinny kid warm.

                            Originally posted by 1ADAM12 View Post
                            Nice trip report but I hardly call 2 days smelling the roses
                            Well...you'd be amazed how quickly one can smell the roses I actually hike pretty fast when I'm moving, but when I stop I take long breaks and soak up the scenery, not wanting to get moving again. I guess it's a unique combination of determination and laziness!

                            Originally posted by littleg View Post
                            Clearly your navigational mistake was partially due to your brain on overdrive trying to count that high

                            Always nice to tread your TRs... what are you up to this summer? Are you off or do you have school stuff going on?
                            HAHAHA! I didn't actually count my blinks. I went online, found the average per minute, and calculated it for the whole time.

                            This summer I have an internship with Wilderness Inquiry out in Minnesota. So I'll be out there from May 31st though August 21st co-leading trips and managing their gear warehouse. Sadly, very little ADK hiking will thus be had. But I do have at least three trips planned between now and then!!

                            Are you working on your regular 46 this summer, or are you already done with those?

                            Originally posted by Jay H View Post
                            Nice trip, maybe except for the waist deep snow.. Wish I could see the pictures here..

                            Must have thought about ice cream like 9,999,999,999 times.

                            Jay
                            I LOVE ICE CREAM!!!!

                            Originally posted by Jim C View Post
                            Another fun and entertaining report, Tyler. Glad you made it home for dinner too
                            Thanks, Jim. It was a good dinner to be home for, though I almost fell asleep in my food about 10 or so times.

                            Originally posted by ADKJack View Post
                            Tyler, another excellent TR and media. I will probably get out to do the loop one of these days but probably closer to October for better conditions. I have hike the peavine swamp and the area around the East inlet and down to Dog Pond and then farther west in June back in '04 and the bugs were horrendous but every time I have been out that way I have enjoyed it.
                            Again great hike and commentary
                            Thank you, Jack! I think October, or late September, would be an excellent time to hike it. If you could get the fall color, that'd be excellent. Sorry to hear about your bug experience, that'd be NO fun! I was very glad to have no bugs out yet.

                            Originally posted by adkpiper View Post
                            I'm so looking forward to doing that hike!
                            Sorry you couldn't join me, man. But I wish you well when you hike it. Don't get swallowed up in the mud!!
                            Last edited by adktyler; 04-15-2009, 07:48 PM.
                            Videos --- Camp Loonsong

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Good stuff Tyler and great pics!
                              Shut your eyes and think of somewhere
                              Somewhere cold and caked in snow.......

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