Hiking the Northville-Placid Trail in the Adirondacks – Days 3 & 4
By: Pat Coate
On Day 3 we headed into the West Canada Lakes region, one of the most remote parts of the trail. Despite more climbing and a rougher trail with LOTS of blow-downs to circumvent, it was incredibly scenic and my favorite part of the trail so far.
The first five miles today were through mixed forest with the now usual stream crossings and beaver ponds. Part of the way the trail was a creek bed, but luckily for us, it was fairly dry. We emerged from the woods and the next mile or so went along Spruce Lake.
We stopped for lunch and a swim at Spruce Lake lean-to #3. It was an absolutely pristine setting and we felt like we had the world to ourselves. Being a Sunday, we were a little surprised not to run into any other hikers in the Spruce Lake area.
We passed through nice stretches of what we believed to be hemlock forest on today’s hike.
The Northville-Placid trail goes through many marshy areas, referred to as a vleis in the guide book. Many of these areas have crossings like those shown in the above picture.
We camped on the shore of Third Cedar Lake after a 15+ mile day. The lake evidently had a very active fish population, as I heard fish jumping and splashing throughout the night. At the campsite we met a family that hiked in from Pillsbury and were on their way to the Third Cedar Lake lean-to – these were the only hikers we saw on day three.
We followed at least part of Ben Franklin’s adage and our routine became early to bed and early to rise. We were usually up by 6:30 and on the trail by 8, allowing us to cover about 8 miles before lunchtime.
On Day 4 we covered 12.5 miles to Wakely Dam putting us at roughly the halfway mark. There were some very scenic views (see lead photo for today’s blog post) along the Cedar lakes and river. The stretch along the river looks very “moosey” and we did see some tracks though no moose.
Wildlife sightings along the trail included frogs, lots of toads, garter snakes, red efts, squirrels, and porcupine. The birds noted, though I am sure there were a lot we missed or weren’t able to ID by song, are listed below:
Blue heron, ruffed grouse, common loon, ovenbird, common yellowthroat, wood thrush, hermit thrush, robin, blue jay, chipping sparrow, junco, barred owl, mallard, wild turkey, turkey vulture, house wren, black-capped chickadee, boreal chickadee, catbird, crow, mourning dove, white-breasted nuthatch, kingfisher, various gulls and woodpeckers, black-throated blue warbler.
Note: Our trip came to an early end due to a family medical emergency. We both really enjoyed our time on the trail and will hopefully one day be able to get back to experience the northernmost sections of the N-P Trail.
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