Labor 2000

The plan was to spend a couple nights at the Spruce Lake Lean To #2.  I went with a couple friends, Julia and Maria, and we got to the Piseco (Haskells Road) trailhead in two hours.  We were the only cars there, signed in, and were on our way about 8.   We stopped at Fall Stream (4.4 miles) and Jessup River (6.6 miles) for breaks.   We got to lean-to 2 just as the skies were opening, a little after 1.  I was filtering water when the cloud burst, but it was over in a couple of minutes.  We had a little soup after I swam some, and then took a little nap.  In general, the lean-to and area were in much worse condition than when I was there earlier this year.  There was a lot of debris (paper, molefoam, plastic, foil) around, someone had left some clothes and a sheet there.  Probably people packing in more than they wanted to pack out.   We had our supper and slept in the lean-to.  I recorded a few loon sounds, but didn't hear any coyote this time.  Here are the sounds.   They are barely audible.

In the morning, Julia and Maria swept the area with some branches and put all the debris, mostly twigs, leaves and combustibles, in the fireplace and lit it.  It took them a lot of work to keep it going, because it was all wet, but they kept it going most of the day.  After brunch we hiked over to lean-to 3 to see it's condition.  On the way back, we bushwhacked up the Balsam Lake outlet and took a little break there, inspecting some insects.

balsampanorama.jpg (27474 bytes)   A panoramic view of Balsam Lake from the south, near the outlet.

balsam3.jpg (34028 bytes)  An attempted close-up of insects mating.  In the very center, you may see some blue blur.

smokeblow1.jpg (52201 bytes)  A pictorial tutorial on how to burn wet stuff.

marjulnight.jpg (33416 bytes)   Drying the cotton.

We returned and had some soup, then I took a nice long nap.  It felt much cooler when I got up, and we decided to go fetch firewood.  Then we cleaned the ashes out of the fireplace and buried them, making a nice clean fireplace for the evening campfire, which we built, but didn't light until nearly dark.  Supper was over, and the loons were starting again.  Again, we slept in the lean to.  It rained during the night both nights, but 66 was the lowest temperature I read.  The barometer went from 28.05 on arrival to 27.90 when we left.

The hike out Monday was really nice - very cloudy, cool, and very few bugs.  We had several breaks, and met a ranger when we checked out at the register at the trailhead.   We had met one single guy hiking in on our way out, but other than that, we didn't see anyone.  I think we had all three lean-tos to ourselves the entire Labor Day weekend.

julmargreg.jpg (51282 bytes)  Back at the trailhead after hiking out.

Here is the gear list.

Here is the planned route map.


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