Northville-Placid Trail Day 2 – Mud Pond to Fall Stream

5 October 2014

MUD POND LEAN-TO to FALL STREAM CAMPSITE (16.5 miles)

We woke up on our second day well after first light. The sky had cleared while we slept, and it has been a chilly night. G has slept soundly in his zero degree bag, but I had woken up several times in the night to curl into a tighter ball.

After shaking the dew off our tent, packing, up and eating a quick breakfast, I was off. G stayed back at the first stream crossing to filter water for the day, and planned to catch me up to me within the hour. Walking alone, the woods seemed especially quiet after the constant sound of rain the day before. I thought of Wendell Berry’s poem October 10, “Now constantly there is the sound, quieter than rain, of the leaves falling.”

G caught up with me just before we came to the West Branch Sacadaga River crossing. This crossing boasts one of the most impressive suspension bridges in the Adirondacks.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Just on the other side is an old chimney- the only evidence that a building was once there.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe next section of trail was flat and mostly dry. We paused only when we came upon exceptional trees, such as this one – The Octopus Birch.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASix flat miles from the bridge, the trail enters the town of Piseco, and travels along paved roads for three long miles. There is a small general store just across the road from where the trail comes out. We came out of the woods onto this road thinking that it was just a short time after noon. It turned out to be quarter to two. We had made it to the general store just 15 minutes before closing!

We bought their last, lonely piece of cheese pizza, some chips, and a head of locally grown garlic. The garlic is mostly for G, who has been feeling the edge of a cold for a few days. He bought two large heads at the grocery store before we set out, and began popping the cloves the way that most people pop tic-tacs. He had already begun to ooze the scent by day two, and his breath would have killed a vampire. I dubbed him with the trail name “Garlic Boy”. (He said, “Why not Garlic man?) The measly pizza slice was almost completely eaten by G before we even left the store, and I had to sharply demand that he leave me more than the crust.

We sat outside the store for at least half an hour, stretching and enjoying our chips with the rest of the hummus that we had been carrying. The sun was out, but there was a cold breeze, and it was soon time to start moving again.

The next three miles were perhaps the worst of the entire trail for me. My feet have given me trouble for a long time now, and road-walking seems to aggravate them more than anything else. When my feet hurt, I become terribly grouchy. G had trouble walking my slower pace, and kept getting 10-15 feet in front of me, and then staying steadily at a distance that was too far to talk, but too close to feel like I were alone enough to mutter to myself. This added to my general distemper. Along the way, we met three different older couples, out for pleasant strolls. They inquired if we were hiking the NPT, and then each of the husbands said, “Gonna be a cold one tonight.”

We did make it back in the woods eventually, of course. G had hoped that we would reach Spruce Lake Lean-to, but I was determined not to hike at night, and so we stayed the night at Fall Stream. There are plenty of flat, cleared areas near the stream. There are camping rings there as well, but we had no energy for a fire. G pumped water while I cooked dinner – broccoli and parmesan cheese cous cous (home dehydrated) – and then we climbed into our tent. It was not even fully dark by the time that we were asleep.

29.7 total miles

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