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Old 04-30-2012, 10:32 PM   #1
mike
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Bear Lake to Woodhull Lake 4/29 - 4/30

I wanted to do a bit of a gear test out in the wild and I wanted to do it on a non-balmy night...

Soo off to the Black River Wild Forest I went. After spending entirely too much time at Chubb and Gull lakes recently, I wanted to switch it up some and check out the new(newish?) lean-to at Bear Lake, and hike onwards for a night at the double wide at Woodhull Lake.

Starting at the Mckeever Road parking area at about 2pm, I walked down the immaculate gravel road(which is indeed open btw) until I got to the Bear Lake trail.

The trail was ok and although it had some muddy spots and some footprints, it was pristine. You can tell that it doesn't get a ton of use.

Water was flowing in every stream and ice was present along some rock ledges. Snowy looking ice was present at the bases of some well shaded areas.

Bear Lake:


Bear Lake Lean-to:


Awesome fire pit at Bear Lake Lean-to:


I almost stopped to spend the night here due to amazing fire pit that would have reflected some heat into the lean-to, and the amount of firewood present in the surrounding area.

But I continued on. Walking away from the Bear Lake lean-to and back towards the lake, I noticed a man and woman who looked to be cleaning up the area. Its nice to see someone packing out crap.

Packing out crap was in my future(it always is)...

While the Woodhull lean-to wasn't a mess, there were some obvious signs of use and careless people. Tons of cigarette butts, a large empty fruit can under the lean-to, a butane can that was in the fire pit(because thats a good idea), and countless pieces of paper and other tiny bits of garbage.

Not terrible, and certainly not the worst I've seen...just not good.

You can see the can under the lean-to here:



The worst was the log book, which was either brand new and someone had tore out the pages or it was the old log book, and someone had tore out all the pages that people logged. Either way someone had butchered it. Of all the ways to start a fire...you may have to walk a bit for wood due to the constant use of this lean-to, but there's more than enough tinder around to get something going. No need to ruin the logbook...

The only entry was on the inside back cover, which basically is transcribed below(info blocked out for obvious reasons):

Quote:
Kaitlin ****** sexy/great lay 315-***-****
Which might be the most ridiculous thing I've ever seen in a log book.

I scribbled out the last name and phone number, so that the next person would have to wonder who and how to reach her...

I'm going to txt message her and/or find her some other way just to let her know someone did that. Not that she would get any stalkers from people hanging out at a lean-to, but you never know...

Anyways I went about gathering wood, which took awhile as I had to walk pretty far for it. That's the problem with a popular lean-to or campsite, it dead and fallen wood can't keep up with the amount of visitors. Hence jerks butchering saplings. Didn't gather nearly enough wood to have any huge fire for the night, so I didn't start the campfire until 9pm or so.

The evening started out a bit windy and chilly, it would eventually turn into the quietest calm I have ever experienced in the ADK's: No wind, no animals making noise, no planes, no water lapping on to the shore...nothing. It was almost eerie it was so quiet(right before I started the fire), but it was very calming and surreal.

Like I said, got the fire going at 9pm or so, and things started to pick up. Loons went loony(ALL NIGHT)...literally all night. Loud too. I hit the sack at about midnight. 1am, Loons. 2am LOONS(trying to sleep here guys!), 2:30am LOOOONS. Wailing, yodeling, and hooting. Usually I love to hear them, but this night it was too much. Not sure if they were mating or what, but in went my ear plugs.

It was expected to go down to 20degrees, and it did indeed get quite chilly just before dawn. I woke in time for sunrise, but I honestly skipped it and stayed under my down quilt. I didn't get out until almost 7am, when it was much warmer than it was at 5 or so. The ground was still frozen though...

Morning at Woodhull Lake:


Woodhull Panorama:


The hike out was relatively uneventful, I packed out some of the garbage, and took the access road out. Hiking that access road is about as boring as it gets...

I skipped a side trip to Remsen falls, because I really was done with the food I had brought and wanted something better to eat, so I hiked out and made that happen.

The above pics along with 1 or 2 more can be found here:

http://imgur.com/a/fqFOG

QUICK NOTE: THE BLACK FLYS WERE FLYING, JUST NOT BITING. Maybe the freeze will kill some off... :P
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Old 04-30-2012, 10:34 PM   #2
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Holy cow those images turned out to be huge posting them that way.

Woops.
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Old 04-30-2012, 10:41 PM   #3
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I did this trip as part of a longer loop that included both Woodhull Mountain and Remsen Falls almost exactly a year ago. Neat area that seems to get significantly less use than some other areas of the Adirondacks...
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Old 05-01-2012, 07:40 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by DSettahr View Post
I did this trip as part of a longer loop that included both Woodhull Mountain and Remsen Falls almost exactly a year ago. Neat area that seems to get significantly less use than some other areas of the Adirondacks...
I actually read your report and a subsequent one before going on this trip.

Honestly the other report about all the trash had me worried. I do think that access road will eventually turn this lean-to into a dump.

Time will tell.

I honestly can't wait to stay at the Bear Lake lean-to now. That fire pit is awesome. The walk in was really nice going past smallish cliffs etc...

There are two boats at Bear also...

Guess I'll have to pack in a fishing pole one of these times...
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Old 05-01-2012, 08:42 AM   #5
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Yeah, when I stayed at Woodhull, the lean-to was in good shape, but you could tell it gets a fair amount of use.

If you like the Bear Lake lean-to with the large rock in front, you should also check out the Brooktrout Lake lean-to in the West Canada Lakes. It has a similar placement, with a large glacial erratic in front of the lean-to.
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Old 05-01-2012, 02:21 PM   #6
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Aw, man! I was going to call Kaitlin, too. You really know how to take all the fun out of a guy's life! )

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Old 05-01-2012, 02:23 PM   #7
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In regards to the Brooktrout Lake lean-to, is there parking on Otter Brook road? Or Indian River Road for that matter?

If I bring my wife out, she doesn't like hiking more than 6-8miles to be honest.



I've been backpacking in BRWF a bit since its relatively close to Syracuse(ie. 2 hours). Been looking for other places that make for quick drives for me where I can head out last minute and catch a night in the woods.
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Old 05-01-2012, 04:53 PM   #8
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There is a small parking area at the Falls Pond trailhead, yes. The road was closed south of Ottber Brook for most of last year, but I understand they opened it towards the end of the season. I imagine it will likely be open again this year.

The hike into Brook Trout Lake isn't too bad- some hills but mostly pretty level.

There are long term plans to permanently close that road at Otter Brook, though, and turn it into part of the North Country Trail.
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Old 05-01-2012, 07:07 PM   #9
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Nice...yah she could pull that off no problem. Thanks for the info.

One more question: Is it a heavy use lean-to, ie. likelyhood that it would be busy on a weekend?

--------------------------------

Sooo anyways I txt'd Kaitlin. And just because I like to come full circle on stories...here we go:

It was most likely a recent ex-bf of hers, who not only cheated on her had the audacity to get mad and butthurt because she found someone new.

TXT chat log is here:

http://imgur.com/a/oMviJ

There's more to the chat, but we exchange a bit more information about ourselves and long story short we are facebook friends now and her new boyfriend is most likely less of a jerkoff.

I can tell you however her ex-bf made a HUGE mistake.
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Old 05-01-2012, 07:11 PM   #10
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Honestly the other report about all the trash had me worried. I do think that access road will eventually turn this lean-to into a dump.
Not far away Brewer Lake has a trash problem also. The direct trail leads the western side, where there were a couple of boats. Directly across on the eastern side there is what would be a very nice campsite, under a large rock overhang. But it is often trashed. The firepit is overloaded with all kinds of trash. My first time there I happened to have a mostly empty large backpack, which easily filled up with cans, bottles, and a large ripped up blue tarp, plus I filled another garbage bag to haul out.

On the other hand, the bushwhack to Bear Lake from there is a nice one. Pass by Squirrel Ponds and you will come to a cascade of some of the highest beaver dams you have ever seen.
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Old 05-01-2012, 07:20 PM   #11
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Quote:
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Nice...yah she could pull that off no problem. Thanks for the info.

One more question: Is it a heavy use lean-to, ie. likelyhood that it would be busy on a weekend?
I'd say it gets a moderate amount of use.

It's off the NPT, so that cuts down on the use. It's also along a lesser-used trail in the West Canada Lakes- most people access the WCL from Perkins Clearing, on the opposite side of the Wilderness Area.

It does however get a fair amount of use from the local fishing crowd.

I'd say that your chances of ending up sharing the lean-to on a summer weekend are probably about 50-50, but I doubt that you'd arrive to find the lean-to completely full.
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Old 05-01-2012, 07:31 PM   #12
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Not far away Brewer Lake has a trash problem also. The direct trail leads the western side, where there were a couple of boats. Directly across on the eastern side there is what would be a very nice campsite, under a large rock overhang. But it is often trashed. The firepit is overloaded with all kinds of trash. My first time there I happened to have a mostly empty large backpack, which easily filled up with cans, bottles, and a large ripped up blue tarp, plus I filled another garbage bag to haul out.

On the other hand, the bushwhack to Bear Lake from there is a nice one. Pass by Squirrel Ponds and you will come to a cascade of some of the highest beaver dams you have ever seen.
Woah...im guessing thats a snowmobile trail to Brewer? The Nat Geo maps don't show a trail there... :P

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I'd say that your chances of ending up sharing the lean-to on a summer weekend are probably about 50-50, but I doubt that you'd arrive to find the lean-to completely full.
Yah I think i'd try to hit it on a long weekend or at the tail end, like I just did with Woodhull. Sunday night to Monday or some such...

I assume it lives up to its name and has brookies...
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Old 05-01-2012, 07:33 PM   #13
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I assume it lives up to its name and has brookies...
Traditionally, yes. The brooktrout fishing in there was supposed to be phenomenal. Acid rain changed all that (the lakes in the West Canadas were some of the hardest hit in the Adirondacks) but they are starting to come back.

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Old 05-01-2012, 07:39 PM   #14
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Woah...im guessing thats a snowmobile trail to Brewer? The Nat Geo maps don't show a trail there... :P
Don't know about the NG map, but the USGS topo accurately shows the winding trail (it is actually more like an old jeep trail) beginning by the RR tracks in the village of Otter Lake, leading to the NW side of Brewer. There is parking for one or two cars at the trailhead, just over the RR tracks.
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Old 05-01-2012, 08:05 PM   #15
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Woah...im guessing thats a snowmobile trail to Brewer? The Nat Geo maps don't show a trail there... :P
The National Geographic maps omit the majority of snowmobile trails in the Adirondacks. Presumably because their trails data came from the ADK, not the DEC.
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Old 05-01-2012, 10:13 PM   #16
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Don't know about the NG map, but the USGS topo accurately shows the winding trail (it is actually more like an old jeep trail) beginning by the RR tracks in the village of Otter Lake, leading to the NW side of Brewer. There is parking for one or two cars at the trailhead, just over the RR tracks.
I would guess there's one of those "Access to state land" signs that i've seen on rt. 28...

Now I know...

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The National Geographic maps omit the majority of snowmobile trails in the Adirondacks. Presumably because their trails data came from the ADK, not the DEC.
I think I just may buy one of those snow mobile trail maps, and start perusing original topos a bit more...
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Old 05-02-2012, 09:08 PM   #17
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Thanks for posting. Your texts to Kaitlin reminded me of the camera I found near the flowed lands a few winters back. Two weeks later I was back there again and I took a picture of the sign in book. I then spent a while calling everyone listed on the day I found it. I had quite a few nice conversation about hiking the ADKs before I found the owner. He was happy to get it back and I always list my phone number just incase.
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