Actually, it's the 11th month of my "year out." I'm in the home stretch now!
On Wednesday, Fr. Scott Belina and I headed out into the snowy woods to spend the night in the lean to at Trombley Landing on the Raquette River between Saranac Lake and Tupper Lake. I had hoped to spend a night here back in August (but found the place occupied), and raced by here in a canoe back in September, but this time we had the place all to ourselves (other than the lone deer hunter we met on the trail on the way in, and the lone XC skier who appeared just as we finished packing up out gear). The spot is understandably quite popular among boaters on the river, but we rightly figured it wasn't in such demand at this time of year.
The trail in from Route 3/30 is only 1.6 miles and relatively level, but not being sure what the snow conditions might be, and knowing it would be plenty cold enough, we figured that was as far as we needed to go for this camp out. We walked through a beautiful, snow-covered forest...
...to find a nice lean to not far off the river's edge.
Much of this trip would be spent fending off the chill. (It was about 20°F when we left our vehicles, and dropped into the low teens overnight.) That started with kindling a nice fire.
After a rather lovely winter sunset over the river...
...we were ready for some hot food. Trouble with my stove meant rigging up a special set up, which didn't look like much but managed to get the job done.
And then it was into the sleeping bags, even before we were quite ready to go to sleep. (I think we's been in 'em about 11 hours by the time we crawled out again the next morning!)
This was the first time I'd actually slept with some of my water bottles--which isn't the most comfortable arrangement in the world, but is pretty essential if you still want to have something to drink/cook with come morning...since the ones left out were frozen solid.
I'd kind of hoped for a "Indian Summer" experience in November (I'd suggested the possibility of making this a camping trip by kayak when setting these dates a few weeks in advance), but even with the cold and snow it was a truly lovely night in the woods.
Now, just one more to go...