Friday, September 26, 2014

Back in the Hole

My last night on the Northville-Plaicd Trail (September 25, 2013) was spent at Duck Hole--a beautiful basin on the edge of the High Peaks which is crossed by the Cold River.  (Formerly damned and turned into a rather large pond, the dam was blown out by Hurricane Irene and will not be replaced.)  Almost a year to the day later, with the autumn leaves nearing their peak, and the weather being pretty spectacular, Fr. Scott Belina and I headed in to pay a visit and stay the night on Wednesday-Thursday.

I know, I know...I already had two nights camping out earlier this month...but I couldn't pass up an opportunity like this!

We'd be approaching Duck Hole from a new starting point for me: the Upper Works trailhead outside of Newcomb.  The road in takes you through the Adirondack's own genuine ghost town, past the remains of the 1854 blast furnace of the McIntyre iron mine (which is much, MUCH larger than the picture makes it look) and a few crumbling buildings of the later Tahawus Club.

We passed some really, really beautiful spots after hitting the trail (including at least one we're seriously thinking of coming back to enjoy again)...

We also had to make a tricky detour around some "new construction" beaver.  First, it seems, they redirected the stream right onto the trail--flooding it.  Not yet satisfied, they then built another damn...right across the trail!  I didn't take any pictures of that mess.

Eventually, we made it to the edge of Duck Hole and it's somewhat eerie landscape.

We had the place totally to ourselves, so we chose the better of the two lean-tos and had no trouble at all making ourselves feel right at home.

We also had a completely clear night, which made possible some rather amazing stargazing.  After a quiet night and a good breakfast, we were back on the trail for the 7 mile return trip.  (Now knowing our way around the "damn dam," we shaved an entire hour off our time heading in.)

It was a great return trip.

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