Sunday, November 8, 2009

11/7/09: A steely persuit, with ice in our veins...

Bob and I hit the Salmon river for our annual November steelhead "morning". It was cold. Not ice-in-the-guides cold, but cold enough to get me thinking my clothing choices were kinda stupid. It was great to meet up with Bob again - it had been a couple of months since we fished the white fly hatch on WCC.

We decided to try out the compactor pool per the suggestion of one of Bob's TU buddies. We headed upstream along the south bank to fine nice run after nice run. I have to say, there is too much nice water to fish on this river. As usual, the fishing was slow and I was the only fish catcher today. A nice fish if we were trout fishing, but as a steelhead it was small - around 16-18 inches. The clouds opened up as we moved down to a different section of the compactor pool area. Moving downstream from the bridge revealed some really nice water, tainted by an inconsiderate guide in his boat, and later a selfish pr*ck who felt the river belonged to him. Oh well. It's the Salmon River...the fleas come with the dog.

Always enjoyable to get out fishing with Bob. Maybe someday we'll get enough time on that river to amp up our success rate during the Fall runs.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

10/10/09: Dial, Nippletop, Colvin hike

view hike pics at:

So, one last fall hike in until I start some winter peak bagging. I was really itching to test my hiking speed and do a little recon for next year's hikes with Deb, Paul, and the boys. Knowing Matt is always game for a hike and wanting to keep it simple, I recruited mister "dooit" to help pull my ass up the trails. The plan was to bag Dial and Nippletop in the morning, Colvin and Blake in the afternoon, and finish out with a nice picture opportunity at Indian Head on the way out. Like I said, that was the plan.

Here's what I wrote up for ADKHighPeaks forum:

Let's Sum it up:

St. Huberts parking area... headlamps... Lake Road... Leach Trail... mud... rain... mud.
.. no view on Bear Den... mud... more rain... mud... no view on Dial... mud... snow... mud... sleet.... mud... no view from Nippletop.... mud... Elk Pass trail... mud... clouds lift... great range... wow... mud... Elk Pass... mud... mud... Colvin trail... why not?... mud... this is a trail?... rock... mud... you've got to be kidding me... mud... rock... I'm too old for this crap... mud... rock... thank God... views... wow... nice pair of backpackers... more wow... college kids... ugh... if he throws that Frisbee, I'll have to make what I do to him look like an accident... let's get out of here... mud... rock... rock... mud... on the home stretch... mud... mud... Lake Road... headlamps... St. Huberts Parking area.

A couple of personal observations:

First, I was curious as to why such a small, unassuming peak would be named for one of the Adirondack's first hardcore, bad*ss hikers like Verplanck Colvin. Having finally hiked that trail, I now know why. I could hear Verplanck saying "quit whining and get your *ss up there!" as I slogged to the summit.

Second, with the advancement of headlamp technology the trails are a very popular place no matter what time of day...or night. There was a time when being out at night in the w
oods caused most people to hunker down in camp. Now, I seem to run into almost as many hikers at night as I do during the day. Really cool!

So, we ended up skipping Blake and Indian Head mainly because we were losing daylight...and I was totally exhausted. We will split them up for next year, even if we do them on longer days. Still, a great day and that gets me down to the 30 peak mark!

9/25/09: Street and Nye hike

view Street and Nye pics at:

Deb’s triumphant return to the high peaks! We headed up to the ADK Loj with high expectations. The tree colors were beautiful, yet still not peak. Lots of reds, more than I remember from previous years. We hit the trail by 9AM, which would prove to be a little late based on how the day would play out. The trail was well worn, but unfortunately covered in fallen leaves. This made it pretty tough to follow since it looked like the rest of the forest floor around it. We spooked a ruffed grouse – a new bird for both of us. The crossing at Indian Pass brook was successful, in that neither of us got wet. Then a slow, steady climb. I almost packed out the trash from the old logging camp site until I realized that the glass was part of the history of that spot. Deb was doing nicely, but started to get a little tired. We would come to realize afterward that will all the dieting we had been doing and her being at her lowest weight since starting the diet that she got depleted really quickly. It wasn’t a grueling trail, per se, but challenging enough for someone with little carb reserves, no real carbs to replace, and also being her first high peaks hike in over a decade. We truly believe whoever wrote the estimated distances for the hike was sippin’ the single malt that day.

It was cool to finally see the junction tree with the “N” and “S” – something I’ve seen in pictures a number of times. Deb insisted on doing Street first, which was probably the smartest decision of the day. It seemed to take forever. As we were walking over the summit rock I looked up and saw the sign. I stopped Deb in her tracks to let her know we were there and the look on her face was priceless! We rested a little, ate a little, and checked out the views of the McEntyre range and MacNaughton to the south. The trail back down and then over to Nye was pretty nice, actually. There’s no way Nye is 0.4 miles from the junction compared to Street’s 0.6 miles. We were there in 10 to 15 minutes. And no, like everyone said, there are no views on Nye – although just back down the trail were some nice lookout areas. I thought we were making good time until then. I started to realize we had been moving slower than I expected, and as the clock winded down I started to think about hiking out in the dark. Not a frightening concept usually, but remembering how difficult the trail was to follow in the daylight got me a little anxious. By the time we were 2 miles from the end, we stopped to take a break. Deb was getting weaker and weaker, and I was kicking myself for not packing the right food. We made it to Indian Pass Brook before we lost daylight, thank God, and I was feeling a little more confident. I still worried about getting out, but at least knew we were past some of the more confusing and difficult trail to cover. The Headlamps came out soon after. It was quite peaceful, although I think Deb was feeling pretty awful by then. When we saw the Mount Jo/Old Nye Ski Trail sign, I knew I could breathe again.

This wasn’t the return to the high peaks that Deb had wanted, but there were definitely some factors I hadn’t thought about. Not the right food – that was one. Not being able to navigate in the dark was another. We agreed that no matter what diet we were on, that a hike day would be a carb cheat day. At the very least, I would carry power bars just in case. Also, I took a serious look into a new GPS unit that would be reliable in the mountains. Being able to set way points on the way up would’ve helped us keep on the trail on the way back. We most certainly lived and learned on this one. For Deb 10 down and 36 to go. For me, 13 down…

9/12/09: Tabletop hike

view the pics at:

I do love September for hiking. Nice cool weather, the air damp and refreshing. The gang was all there again. This time, I was the one to get the sleep . Erin unfortunately didn’t have any hiking boots with her this time, and it would prove to put a damper on her day. By the time we got to Marcy Dam, she has a half dollar sized blister on each heel. The summits were in the clouds most of the day, and provided little views consequently. The hike up the Van Hovenburg Trail was easier than I remember. We decided to do Tabletop first. Unfortunately, it was socked in the clouds when we got up there, and the view was uninspiring. However, it was another one for the books, so everyone was happy with that. As we started down I was getting concerned that we might need some more water, so I sprinted ahead down the VHT to Phelps Brook. By the time I had three liters treated the whole team was together again. Paul was bushed, and Erin was deciding if Phelps was worth the side trip. The trio decided to head towards Phelps while Paul and I rested up. We decided the mountain will wait for us another day, so we were going to head to the car. Shortly after our decision we got word that Erin’s blisters were forcing her to head back. She popped off of the Phelps spur trail just as we came up on the junction, and the three of us headed to the car. The boys took an extra hour to get to the top and back, but their reward was catching the only view offerings of the day. All in all, a nice day out.

9/2/06: West Canada White Fly hatch

Phew…letting time get ahead of me J. Bob and I headed up to TWCC at the beginning of the month to catch the white fly hatch. We headed to a spot in Middleville that’s downstream from our usual white fly spot in Newport. As it was, we realized afterward that it wasn’t as far from our usual spot as we had thought.

Bob had been there the week before to check things out. In a strange twist of fate, he had left his vest behind. Yup……his vest. Let that sink in a little. For a fly fisherman, losing his vest is much worse than losing a fly rod or maybe even having his car stolen. I’ve owned my vest much longer than my car. All those flies. All those gadgets. All that gear collected over the years, tucked away in a garment that becomes an old friend, eventually. Once you’ve been a fisherman for a few years, you gain an intimate relationship with your vest rivaled only by your spouse and closest fishing buddy. Don’t worry, there is a happy ending. In fact, he got it all back. Some nice, local woman who walks her dog in the area of the parking access found it and brought it to the local tackle shop. Bob called the shop on a whim just to see if someone happened to drop it off and sure enough, they had it. Nothing taken. Wow.

So, after chatting up the tackle owner, buying a few flies, and soaking up the old-time-tackle-shop-ambiance, we headed to the parking access that was practically around the corner from the shop. We arrived to find a couple fishing the spot at the parking area. Nice couple. We waded down stream to some very perfect water. The fish obviously didn’t care how nice the water looked, because we could only get a spotty rise or two. As dusk started to set in, I noticed a couple of white flies coming off. I switched to a cream variant that I picked up at the shop and hooked up a feisty little brown. That would prove to be my only one the rest of the evening, unfortunately. The hatch came off as expected – white flies everywhere like a silent blizzard. Fish rising, but impossible to figure out what version of the fly they were eating. Typical. Our nemesis fly hatch wins again. Did I mention the wings at the Hotel Moore are excellent?