Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Labour Day Camping

Last weekend I took another camping trip into the Adirondack park. This time my destination was the Bog River / Low's Lake area, just a little further north than last time. I tried a different method of keeping track of what happened, and picked up a little notepad on the way out of Albany and tried to keep a pretty regular record of what happened. Here's the outcome of my little note-taking experiment:

10:05 am
On the way. Just stopped at Wal-Mart and picked up this notebook. Worried about wind.

10:56 am
Passing Lake George. Where's cory?


11:03 am
At McDonalds for lunch. Looks like rain to the west, not a good sign (though not entirely unexpected).

11:15 am
First small drops of rain a few seconds ago. They cleared up pretty quickly though.

12:30 pm
Just turned of rt. 30 onto the small road to Little Tupper (the place I was last time) and Low's Lake (the destination this time). Very worried about the wind now. It looks like the kayak paddle is going to get a workout. All the lakes I've passed so far have had whitecaps and wind-spray, even in bays I would expect to be calm. Trouble. right now I'm trying to decide if I should keep going or try to find a more protected lake.

12:39 pm
Going to press on - The GPS is trying to take me a strange way, I'm going to stick to the main road thank you very much. I hope this doesn't get too wet.


1:37 pm
Got to the launch point. Looks like the river is pretty around the launch point is pretty sheltered from the wind. Lots of cars parked, but there's not that many people around. There wasn't enough space on the sign-in sheet so I had to make a new one from my book. Very proud of it despite the fact I'm missing a column. No one needs to know where I live anyway.

Look, I made my own

I tried carrying all my stuff from the car to the water (about 200m) in a single go. It was going pretty well until it all fell apart. I need to figure out 1) how to strap things in a little better, and 2) how to put all my junk down when I do a single trip.

Going to put in the water now. Wish me luck.

Tarp and hammock

4:36 pm
Camp setup. Had a pretty good paddle (windy!!) so I decided not to go too far. I ended up setting up at campsite #5, which was very well sheltered from the wind while still being open to the lake.

I got the hammock hung, tarp (mostly) hung and just finished throwing a line for my bear-proof food container. I'm on my way to go hang it now and then start collecting wood. This campsite actually has a toilet! I was mighty surprised to discover it.

Also, I need to cut better lengths of paracord - either it's way too long, or, well, way too long. I'm going to have to take the knife to some of it to get some better usable pieces.

I just saw a big group of canoe/kayaker dudes on the lake about an hour ago, all headed back towards the boat-launch. I guess I knew where all the parking spaces went. There's one canoe going around the lake right now (with 2 people in it). It looks like they're looking for a campsite. Good thing I got here when I did.

How bourgeois

5:46 pm
Well, and I went and did it. After a few near-losses already, and somewhere in between the food cache and the firepit, I managed to lose my pen. Good thing I brought along an extra pencil still packed from last time.

I finished gathering a bunch of wood and I'm going to get a fire going and finish cutting it. Then, Dinner! This time I'm better prepared, both in terms of food and in terms of getting setup in time.

So far there have been a few little rain-showers (yeay tarp!) but nothing major. Lets hope it stays that way.

Also my new saw is fantastic.

Get a fire going

6:21 pm
Got the fire going now. There was some rain (the hardest yet) but I was pretty good in the sheltered area where I setup camp. Dinner on my mind.


7:55 pm
Waiting for my noodles to cool and snacking on beef jerky. Definitely much better than the dehydrated sweet and sour chicken I had last time. I was going to cook my porkchop - but it was raining crazy hard. At least it seemed crazy hard out here. It's pretty much stopped now - I'm sitting under the tarp on a log now watching the lake-mist as I write. Very nice.

This campsite is much better than the last, in terms of secluded (at least on a rainy labor-day weekend). There's another campsite in view across the pond, but it's vacant tonight [it actually was not, but the campsites are far enough apart that I couldn't tell].

Going to chow-down now and tend to the fire (now that the rain has stopped). Too bad there's nowhere else dry to sit, my but hurts.

8:26 pm
Finished dinner. Delicious. Last log on the fire. Dishes are done, I'm going to spend some time just hanging out and then it will be bedtime.

Oh, the saw I got rusts really fast. I can see some on it right now. too bad I didn't bring any oil with me. Drying it by the fire right now, I'll know better next time.


9:13 pm
Sticks with 'Y's in them are just about the most useful thing you can find in the woods at a campsite. Drying shit by the fire is 100x more effective with them. Also my fire is slowly going out. It showered a couple more times, but not for more than a minute or two.

I've been sitting by the fire watching it run down and learning how to tie knots. I learned the sheet bend and the prussic knot. Combined they let me replace two 20ft bits of rope I was using on the tarp with 2 10inch loops. Yeay knots.

Prussic Knot

Also I seem to have lost a snap from my hammock. Hopefully it' is not integral to the functioning.

I think I'm going to call it a night soon. We'll see if I do better in the hammock now that I know how to use it a bit better (a bit better than I did last time anyway).

P.S. I think I like this journal thing. Kind of fun to have something to log all the stuff that happened. I might just post it on the blog.


9:42 pm
Going to bed. Already in hammock. I'm continually surprised by how comfortable it is. With the sleeping bag/pad combo it's pretty warm too.

Tonight is a lot cooler (and wetter) than last weekend but I'm still super comfy.

When the wind blows through I can feel it on the bits of me that are off of the pad, but that's basically my elbows only.

I'm not as flat as I could be in a tent, but I can pretty much guarantee I'm drier and more comfy.

Thank god I got the bigger rain fly though!

Trying to decide what to do tommorow. I guess it depends on the weather. If it's nice I might bum around this pond a bit. if it's still rainy, I'll probably just go home.



4:47 am
Well, it's been raining pretty much nonstop all night. At least it sounds that way with the water coming off the trees. The wind hasn't really let up either. I can hear it, I'm pretty protected from it at my campsite though. Everything is wet (in the bush, not my stuff) so there is pretty much no chance I'll be able to get a fire going in the morning (no eggs for me!)
I'm getting pretty sick of the sound of raindrops on the rainfly. I think I'm going to make for home as soon as it's light enough since I don't think it's going to be a very nice day today.
I'm still bone-dry in the hammock (besides the dampness from my breath and body) but it's going to be interesting to see if I can keep it that way when tearing down camp.

Going to sit tight for a little while longer until it's a little closer to dawn. I should have checked what time that was before I headed out.


5:16 am
Time to start tearing down camp. There's no point in waiting much longer. I can sit under the tarp just as easily and there's work to do.

A little sun

6:41 am
Managed to cut my hand a little while cleaning my knife. Oops. Waiting for my ramen noodles (part of a complete breakfast) to cool a little bit.
Nearly done packing up, just a few things and a tarp and I'm ready to go. The tarp will be the last thing actually. P.S. Fuck you wind. It's already at full force. At least the rain has stopped, for now.

A little more open

7:45 am
All packed up and heading out. Just saw my first canoe of the day, heading back (like me). Also a couple loons landed nearby and started calling. I tried to get some video of them, but no luck. Next time perhaps.
It's not as windy as yesterday, maybe I'll take a lap around the little pond here just to check it on my way back.

Canoe in the mist

9:10 am
Just got back. Things are still pretty busy at the dam (my put in point) but there's way more parking than yesterday. Just about to put the canoe up and out. There's probably 5 people here at the moment, two of which are fishermen.
I got passed by another canoe on my way back, dammit :). There were two of them in the canoe, so I don't feel so bad about losing my imaginary race.

Someone used my page

9:30 am
Loaded back on the car and headed out. Someone used my improvised sign-in sheet! Yeay!

Also I passed some fishermen in their canoe while coming back, and they said they'd just started out. Then, when I was loading I saw them sadly carrying their stuff back out. Guess they weren't up for a day of cold windy rain. :)

Aight, on the road again.

Also, for next time: leave a change of clean clothes in the car. I smell like a cigarette factory.


As usual, the rest of the photos can be found here.

Here are the maps from the trip, both outbound and returning.