Monday February 22, 8.9mi/14.4km
Stephens Pond Leanto (55.2/1960ft) to Wakely Dam (64.1/2140ft) (NY)
The usual 5am wakeup time came with an alarm this morning, and I got moving a few minutes later than usual. It also takes 3 people a little while to get dressed and shuffle gear in a 41 sq. foot tent! We got moving down the trail a little after 7am, and we followed a nice broken-out trail for almost the entire uphill section.
For some reason, the tracks we were following stopped just below the top of the climb. Which was strange, since there weren’t any trail junctions, destinations, or points of interest nearby. But I appreciated the tracks while they lasted. We tried a shortcut, which started off great, but then had a descent/climb out of a steep gully, which cancelled out all of the time and energy savings. The trail in this section is relatively new, and while the trail markers were plentiful, it was still hard to follow the needlessly serpentine trail. Eventually, we joined an old road, and meant we had a nice straight-line path to follow. Of course, with no snow in the forecast, it started snowing. Pretty steady snowfall, too. The old road dropped us on Cedar River Road, which is only open to snowmobiles in winter. Jim signed the trail register for us, and we began the short 1mi/1.6km roadwalk to Wakely Dam.
We skiied by Wakely Pond, which felt much more desolate in winter, without all the picnicking crowds.
The view across Wakely Pond was obscured by the incessant snowstorms that seem to haunt this part of the adirondacks.
We arrived at Wakely around 2:30pm, and skiied around the premises looking for a suitable shelter. In the summer, there were many buildings around, but I should have inspected them more closely….they were all locked in winter! So, we setup a snow camp at one of the official campsites, and melted snow for water…ugh. The skis and tyvek were setup to create a wall to block the wind and blowing snow…it mostly worked.
It was kind of a miserable night with the snowy weather, but we made the best of it. It’s amazing what you can do with ski-straps and poles!
At least the toilet/privy was very nearby, and it extra-large (ADA accessible), so we had that going for us….which was nice. We skiied for almost 8 hours today, and it felt even more tiring due to the bushwhack and the long gradual uphill. After Mark’s usual bedtime book reading, I stayed awake for a few more minutes and looked at my maps – tomorrow looks relatively flat, yay!