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Old 07-28-2009, 10:55 PM   #1
KeanGrad's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: North Jersey
Posts: 265
Cranberry Lake 50

After a 6 1/2 hour ride we arrived @ the Cranberry Lake Lodge in time for dinner and time to sit by the lakeside and take in the scenery. Breakfast @ the Stone Manor and we were off from the Burnt-bridge trailhead @ 9:10am.

After numerous encounters with some grouse and a few snakes the "wildlife encounter" of the trip was about to occur. We were about 2 miles before Dog Pond when we crested a hill to be greeted with a loud crashing noise. As my daughter and I saw the large bear crash through the hardwoods we watched in amazement as we watched a cub climb a tree right in front of us. After a few very quick photos we started to walk away as the mother came up to our right, stopped some 20 feet from us and started to snap her jaws. Fortunately we had already begun to walk away so within a moment or two the cub came down the tree about 30 feet in literally seconds. A bit of a tense moment as well as exciting. We arrived at Dog Pond about 3:00 pm and that would be the day. We spent a beautiful night under the stars.

Tuesday we started out with the destination being Olmstead Pond. We arrived at about 3;00 pm again just as the rain arrived. (Tyler -ADK88, we read your posting in the register) Nothing really exciting here except for one of the stream crossings was actually at eye level to a beaver pond to our right. Pretty neat to be below water level. That evening it began to rain quite hard and didn't let up until about 7:00 am Weds.

We started out late, 10:00 am, but had only planned on going to High Falls which was about a 8 1/2 mile day. For the 1st time in 2 1/2 days we met our first hikers and they had told us that the weather report had changed and as best as he could recall thunderstorms were expected later in the day and all day Thursday and he suggested that High Falls wasn't the place to be in a thunderstorm. Taking the local guys advice we decided to go all the way to Wanakena and stay @ the lean-tos @ the Ranger School / Peavine Swamp trail.

Due to the rain the evening prior two of the lower lying areas became swamps and we were up to our knees in water for about 1/8 mile in one of the swampy areas and about the same depth for about 300 yards in another. With completely soaked socks and boots off we went. Then we came to one of the more memorable parts of the trail. At a distance of maybe 200 -300 yards we actually hiked on top of a beaver dam, over their larger branches, mud and grass piles. One wrong move either right or left and you were in the drink. It was definitely a spot to remember. We arrived in Wanakena @ 6:05 pm. Hung out @ the general store and had a few Gatoraids while considering our next move. Since we had about 2 1/2 hours of daylight left we were tossing around the idea of going all the way to Burnt-bridge, completing the trail and just hanging out on Thursday. We headed out @ about 6:30 pm & depending on how we felt when we got to the Peavine Swamp trail we would decide what to do. I wanted to spend another night in the woods but Kate was starting to see this as a challenge to complete the trail in 3 days. At the start of Peavine Swamp trail she gave me the go ahead that she wanted to keep on going to the end. At 8:30 the headlamps came on and we were on Route 3 @ 9:30 pm. I had made a reservation @ the CL Lodge when we were in Wanakena so we stopped in and got our keys before the bar closed. The sweetest bartender in town offered to make us a pizza and we couldn't refuse as we hadn't really eaten anything substantial all day. There we sat eating pizza and downing root bear @ 11:00 pm. Finished up the pizza and while we could have just thrown our packs in our room and walk the last 2 miles "pack free" we chose to complete the route as we has started - fully loaded. On went the packs and we arrived at Kate's Jeep @ 12:05 am Thursday. While I wouldn't recommend 30 miles in 14 hours it certainly will not be something we will soon forget. Nor will our feet.
Thanks everyone for all the advice that was offered. We saw numerous grouse, snakes, loons, ducks, heard some beavers slapping their tails on the water and of course the bears. Kate and I will always be appreciative of all your assistance. To appreciate the area and all it has to offer I would definitely suggest making this a four day trip.

Best wishes,
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