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Adirondack Adventure: Hiking and Paddling in the Rain

Posted Oct 23 2011 12:00am

Hello! I’m back from the great outdoors! I had a lovely (and damp) time in the lovely Adirondacks of New York with John and his parents. Here’s the recap of our adventures.

 I squeeze in a 3mi run in the rain after work before John and I get on the road from DC at 8pm. We’ve found it’s always better to let traffic die out a bit. I drive the first leg until my eyelids begin to get very heavy. Time for a snooze! We arrive in Endicott NY at around 1:30 am. Just enough time to take a nap before arising at 5am to start our outdoor adventure.

The Truck

: Shortly before 6am, we all pile into the pickup fully loaded with boats, paddles, and all our stuff in the back of the flatbed. John’s parents were kind enough to give us a couple dry bags to protect our clothes.  It rained the entire 5 hour journey up north to Saranac Lake. Little did I know, that this was to be the theme of the weekend.

First stop: picking up John’s father’s new canoe that he had purchased from a local boat shop. The sunshine came out and we were looking forward to getting on the water! Unfortunately, Mother Nature had other plans for us. Just as soon as I got into my boat and out on the water, the thunder started. Abort! We thought we might wait it out, but the rain was here to stay :( .

Ready to go! Right before the skies opened up.

Time for Plan B! We paid a visit to the Paul Smith College Visitor Interpretive Center . Seeing as how it was still raining, we opted for the indoor exhibits. We watched a film about the history of the region. Saranac Lake became famous in the late 1880s when Dr. Paul Trudeau opened up a center for the treatment of tuburculosis. “ Cure cottages “ abounded where patients were “treated” with as much fresh air as possible under conditions of complete bed-rest. I don’t know about you, but I’ve experienced the weather of upstate NY in winter time, and I sure wouldn’t be signing up for this treatment!

: Yep, it’s still raining, but we’ll soldier on! First up: 6.6 mile roundrip hike to the summit of Mt. St. Regis. This is a popular hike through a mixed hardwood forest to a south-facing rocky summit (1,235 feet of verticle rise) and an abandoned fire tower. The first few miles were fairly easy, but that last mile or so featured what I refer to as Nature’s Stairmaster. Lots of climbing over large rock “stairs.” We reached the summit in about 3.5 hours.

I’ve heard that the summit view is beautiful. It encompass myriad lakes and the distant High Peaks. Unfortunately, when we reached the summit it was 45 degrees, rainy, windy and zero visibility.  Take a look at our “view.” It was CHILLY up there! Time to hightail it down the mountain!

There's a view behind that fog, I swear!

I made it! Survey marker at the summit

Brr! Damp and chilly at the summit

Celebrating our successful hike!

Next up: 4 mile paddle through the Upper St. Regis to Spitfire Lake . It was drizzly, but we would not be prevented from paddling today! I climbed in to a touring kayak and was quickly reminded how much I LOVE paddling! I did whitewater kayaking during high school on the Potomac River.

Our route weaved through Lake St. Regis to Spitfire Lake to check out some GORGEOUS vacation homes. Some of those boat houses are bigger than most actual homes! From the lake we could look up and see the fire tower on the top of Mt St Regis. Very cool to see how high we hiked! We took an abridged tour of Spitfire Lake because by this point, the wind was picking up and it was gettiing CHILLY. Paddle back to the truck, quick! 

: The rain continues! Since we traversed 10 miles on Friday by foot and boat, we didn’t feel too badly about skipping another wet paddle. Instead we paid a visit to Ommegang Brewery and Cooperstown Brewing Company on the way back to Endicott, NY. John and his dad were in heaven :) My favorite brew was the Ommegang winter seasonal: Adoration Ale. Right next to Cooperstown Brewing Company there was a haunted house that I just had to stop at for pictures. Not a bad end to a long weekend adventure, right?!

Now it’s , and we survived the 5.5 car ride back to DC. Busy doing laundry and catching up on email. This trip knocked off one of my 30 Before 30 Goals : 48 hours without social media, email, etc. It was nice, but made way easier due to the fact that cell service was unavailable for most of it. Glad that’s off my list and I don’t have to do that again. I’m an email addict. :)

How do you handle crappy weather on your vacations?

Do you take breaks from electronic media?

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