Saturday February 20, 9.1mi/14.7km
Camp Elevation (42.8/2610ft) to Lake Durant Trailhead (51.9/1810ft) (NY)
I was pretty excited to be heading to civilization tonight, so it was easy to wake up 5am. We got out of camp at 7:15am, it takes a little longer without a lean-to and the space it provides to pack up. I realized I hadn’t taken any photos of the trail markers yet, so I fixed that!
Mark always looks happy and excited when there are skis on his feet. Try to find a picture to prove otherwise!
We were breaking trail all morning, but the snow is softer up here, and with almost no breakable crust. It was still a fair bit of effort, but not slow and annoying like a few days ago. The sun even came out and made the forest look like a movie scene.
I was snacking on the go, as we usually do in winter, and noticed the wrapper of my Luna bar had an inspirational phrase. This one seemed very appropriate to what we are trying to accomplish with this thru-hike.
We stopped at the Tirrell Pond lean-to for lunch, and I ate way too many kielbasa slices and cheese sticks. My food was almost gone, but there’s only a couple of hours of skiing to the road. After lunch, we put our skis back on, and continued on the trail. The skis have a 3-pin binding, so sometimes they are a little finicky.
The trail was now broken out, probably from weekend hikers. It was a nice change, and we flew along the trail. It parallels the shore of Tirrell Pond, and occasionally had some sweet views of the frozen pond. A small snow squall had moved in and obscured the visibility a little bit.
After only a half-mile, the ski tracks we had been following left the official NPT and went out onto the frozen lake. So, we followed. Of course, the ski tracks had been completely filled in on the windy lake, but it was still easy skiing.
I kept moving, as the wind was pretty strong, and I was getting cold. I realized that I had lost track of the time, so eventually I stopped and let the other guys have a turn at the front.
We made a pretty nice track on the frozen lake. Tirrell Mountain is to the right of Mark, in the background.
After almost two miles, we left the frozen Tirrell Pond and rejoined the NPT. The ski tracks resumed in the forest, and it was a nice ski on a slightly downhill trail. Mark and I waited at a logging road, apparently Jim had a fall coming down a steep pitch. These little falls happen to all of us once or twice a day, and I’ve gotten pretty fast at getting up again.
We crossed a little vly. I think in summer this was a marshy beaver area.
Just after 3pm, we arrived at the highway 28/30 crossing. Barrett was waiting for us with snacks and beverages, and it felt so good to take off the ski boots.
It was a tough section, and combined with the previous 36-mile section, I was feeling pretty tired and dirty. A hot shower and sleeping in a warm bed will fix everything! We arrived to Barrett’s house a 90 minutes later, and the backpacks exploded in an flurry of wet clothing, food wrappers, and interesting odors. I think this photo best captures the yard sale that took over his kitchen:
That photo isn’t scratch-n-sniff, so it’s safe. 🙂
My phone battery was almost dead, so I didn’t take any more photos. Barrett is a wonderful cook, and I was too busy eating and watching TV anyway, haha. It was entertaining to see all the support we were receiving on the NPT facebook group, as Barrett had been posting daily updates. We can’t quit now – hundreds of people would be so disappointed! 🙂