Spruce Lake

Hike into Spruce Lake from Piseco Lake, July 21, 2000

Friday we hiked in

I picked Bob up at 0500, we got coffee at the Thruway entrance in Canastota and we were at the trailhead ready to hike at 0730.  We met one guy coming out from the Spruce Lake lean-to.  We passed a large group with several dogs who were tenting near the Fall Stream, about 4.4 miles from the trailhead.  We also leap-frogged a couple of guys hiking to the West Canada Lakes.  They passed us back when we stopped at 10:30 at the Jessup River to eat a snack.  Bob had some common acquaintances with one of the guys, who were from Plattsburg, who owned an outfitting store.  Then we caught them again,  after it had started to rumble thunder, and we had stopped to put on our pack covers.  After we went by them, the skies opened.  There were some really close lightening strikes, with thunder that sounded even closer.  I was amazed at how much closer the thunder seemed in the woods.  Bob got quite a ways ahead, as he was hiking faster to try to get out of the rain.  I was drenched, but both our packs stayed entirely dry.  There was a tent up at Spruce Lake lean-to #1.  I saw a side trail later on but it wasn't marked.  I kept going, and ended up crossing the Balsam Lake outlet.  That's when I figured I had gone too far.  When I got to the side trail to lean-to #3, I knew I missed #2.  I went back, and Bob was just emerging from a swim in the lake.  I went in, and the water was warmer than the air.   After getting dry, I was very cold from being wet for so long.  We were chilling out in the lean-to, and a group of three arrived, with two dogs.  They were some of the people that had been at Fall Stream.  They were actually a couple and their dogs, and a young guy solo hiking through to Placid.  They decided to go on to lean-to #3.  Then 2 guys paddled by in a  canoe.  They had spent the night before at lean-to #1.  They also spent the night at lean-to #3.  Much to my surprise, and joy, Bob got a fire going as it had stopped raining.   Most of the wood was very wet, but he did the job.  We cooked macaroni & cheese, Dinty Moore's beef stew, and had quite a dinner.  We went to sleep about 2130 to the sounds of "Wild Coyote and the Loons."  I stayed in my bivy sack 8 hours and got out at 0530 Saturday to visit the privy.  When I was putting on my shoes, I saw the canoers paddle by.

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I went back to sleep and slept until 0930.  We experienced no varmints during the night - which surprised me.  After breakfast of oatmeal and coffee, we went for a little walk.  We were going to bushwhack to Balsam Lake, but decided to visit lean-to #3 first.

Balsam outlet 1.jpg (554793 bytes)    Balsam outlet 2.jpg (546836 bytes)

We spoke with the dog couple, and then decided to return to our lean-to and I would try my boots on.  They had about 2 inches of water in them when I took them off the day before.  We carried some rather large logs back to our lean-to.   My boots were a lot dryer, so I put them on to get my socks to soak some of the water out of them.  We lunched on cashews, Maruchan noodle soups, turkey jerky and coffee.  Everything had pretty well dried out.  It sprinkled again a little, and then the sun came out.  Then it started looking bad again and we chilled in the lean-to while Bob's stomach growled and I farted a lot.  We wrote in our journals.

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Bob fished for a while and I broke the firewood into lengths.  Then I went swimming.  Bob came in and we swam out a little way.  We had a great time, with the lake all to ourselves.  We got pretty silly, and I wondered if maybe we were beginning to get hypothermic from the low water temperature.  We got out and dry and stood in the sun for a little while.  The swim made me hungry, so I ate sardines and crackers.  It had warmed up to 61 and got quite windy.  I built a stack of wood to light later.

We waited quite late before starting the fire, and the wind to die down.  We boiled water and had a couple of dehydrated meals for dinner, along with a couple of soups.  We kept the fire going after dinner and had some hot cocoa, and watched the stars.  The coyotes were very vocal all night long, as were the loons.  Sometime during the night it rained either long or hard or both.  I remember hearing it, but at the time I thought I was dreaming it, since it was a clear sky when we lay down.   But the ground was very wet early in the morning.

Sunday we hiked out

We boiled water for coffee and oatmeal, broke camp, and were hiking out by 0900.   We had a beautiful day for a hike, it was sunny, cool and a nice breeze.  We made very good time, and arrived at the trailhead at 1315.  Into the car, Bob bought hot fudge sundaes when we got to Chittenango, and then we were home.  A great trip.

B at LT 1.jpg (95307 bytes)  B trail out 1.jpg (107492 bytes)  B trail out 2.jpg (104903 bytes)  B trail out 3.jpg (125806 bytes)

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