Sunday, May 7, 2017

A Fishy Spot

Between weather conditions and my schedule, I didn't get out in the woods much this past winter--in fact, I haven't been out for an overnight since October (the longest I've gone since my whole backpacking craze started back in the fall of 2013).

I'd hoped to get out camping two weeks ago (remember that day when it reached 80 degrees?), but I didn't get out for the office early enough in the afternoon to safely embark, so I settled for a nice hike the next day to the lean-to on St. Regis Pond--one of my favorite spots:

It's about 3.5 miles in (the last half mile is a bushwhack, since it's really a canoe access lean-to...although I've never been there by boat myself).  It was a great place to sit for a spell with a good book and my lunch.

This past week, I was a bit more guarded with my scheduling, and did make it out overnight Wednesday-Thursday.  When I left the rectory, I had plans to get a good bit farther afield, but as I drove from Malone and watched the clock, I decided it would be best to get into the woods, and to some overnight accommodation, a little sooner.  So I headed right back to the St. Regis Canoe Area ("behind" the NYS fish hatchery in Lake Clear) with my sights set on the lean-to I'd revisited just one week before.  Four things we different on my return: the trail was a bit wetter (but not too muddy), the woods were a bit greener (with some flowers now coming up, too), the temperature was a bit lower (the forecast was down in the 20's overnight), and most crucially...the lean-to was already occupied.

This left me, at 5:30pm, with another half-mile/half-hour of bushwhacking to get back to the trail, and a serious decision to make about my campout: should I return to the car and head home, or push on to the lean-tos on Fish Pond (another 2+ miles) and hope that at least one was still empty?  If they were full (and I'd never before found them empty, mind you), that would me a long hike back out, which would certainly end in the dark.

Up for adventure (and making a firm Act of Faith), I continued on.  And I found Fish Pond #2 empty!  I arrived in time to take in a great sunset view with my late dinner...

...and enjoyed a great (if chilly) night in the woods at a new-to-me lean-to.

As far as a good portion of my prep and packing went, it was pretty much winter camping in May (albeit without the ice and snow) I guess I didn't miss out on the entire season, after all.

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