Adirondack Forum  
Rules Membership Donations and Online Store Adkhighpeaks Foundation ADKhighpeaks Forums ADKhighpeaks Wiki Disclaimer

Go Back   Adirondack Forum > The Adirondack Forum > Trip Reports
FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 03-01-2020, 07:29 PM   #1
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Porter Corners, NY
Posts: 1,016
Follensby Clear Pond, 2/21-2/23

My buddy and fellow ADK Forum member, Bench Dog (BD for short), and I headed out to test the new pulk sleds and the hot tent in the wild. We decided on Follensby because he spent many summers there as a kid at one of the platform tent sites, and he wanted to revisit the site since he hadn't been back there in more than a decade. I had never been there myself, so it sounded good to me.

We had all the gear packed up Thursday night and headed out around 7am Friday morning. It had been -14 in Saranac Lake the night before, and when we left it was about -4 at my house. It made for a chilly start, but at least the wind hadn't kicked up yet.

On the drive up, I got a little worried about the lack of snow, because I had been counting on using found sticks and deadmen to anchor the tent. There looked to be about 18" of snow at the most, and I had forgotten the tent stakes, so we stopped at the awesome general store that I can never remember the name of near Indian lake, and picked up an even dozen 10" crapmetal stakes, since that was all they had. Good thing, though!

And No, the small parking lot near Beaverwood Road is definitely not plowed. Neither is the one by the boat launch. At the Beaverwood road access point, it looked like maybe someone had been driving in there with some ATVs, and it was pretty packed down. We had an AWD SUV so we figured maybe we could drive on it, and at least not have to park directly on the shoulder of the road, or behind the pickup truck across the street that was parked right next to the "No Parking, either side" sign.

Unfortunately that was not the case. We pulled in and promptly got stuck. Lucky for us, we had two shovels and a little bit of extra time. With a bunch of digging and me pushing, we managed to get ourselves unstuck without calling a tow truck, so that was a good start to the morning. We then drove back down to the Fish Creek campground, which *was* plowed (and had prominent "NO CAMPING" signs up front), trying to find someone to talk to about where to park. We finally flagged down a snowplow driver, and he couldn't really tell us much except he knew we weren't supposed to park there overnight.

Down at the end of the campground, we had noticed a plowed turnaround area with one other car parked there, and our sketchy plan was to park there as well, leave a note on the windshield, and hope we still had a way home when we came out of the woods Sunday. So we unloaded the car near the snowmobile trail that connected to the canoe carry to Follensby, and while I hauled the sleds and equipment up over the embankment, BD drove down to the end to park the car. About ten minutes later, a DEC pickup drove past me, and they slowed down to see what I was doing, but then saw the camping gear and started pulling away again. I jumped over the embankment into the road and flagged them down, and they came back.

There were two guys in the car, and I'm not sure if either of them was actually a ranger or not, since I didn't see a uniform. I explained where we were trying to go and told them what we planned on doing from a parking perspective, and he said we'd be fine, only that we couldn't camp in the campground. He wished me luck and pulled away, heading the same way BD had gone ten minutes ago.

Apparently, BD also had a chat with the DEC guys as he was walking back from parking his car. The gist of the conversation seemed to be "You guys are nuts" but we didn't think so. The weather report seemed to be pretty good for Friday, so-so on Saturday and then 39 and sunny on Sunday so we didn't figure we'd have many problems.

We hooked into our packs and connected up our pulks and started hiking toward Follensby. We were wearing our snowshoes, but we probably could have gotten most of the way without them. We started off on a snowmobile trail and we really didn't start to sink in until we hit the canoe carry trail, which just had a few XC ski tracks in it. Then we were glad for the snowshoes even if there wasn't all that much snow.

Once we hit Follensby, the going got easier since the surface of the lake was windswept and crusty. Again, we were back to almost not needing snowshoes, but it was still good to have them. It was pretty windy, but the sun was out so it was still gorgeous. After a short hike to the site (which was right on the thin spit of land between Follensby and Horseshoe) we set up camp.

By the time we stamped out the spot for the tent, we were down to about 6-8" of snow. It was a good thing we stopped for those stakes because the snow was not packable, and there was no way deadmen would have worked. Once we had everything set up, we had a late lunch / early dinner and basically caught up for a few hours, throwing a log on the fire every once in a while. Around 9 or so we went down on the lake to check out the night views. There wasn't a cloud in the sky, it was dead still and there was no moon. After a few minutes our eyes started getting used to the darkness and the milky way just popped. I don't think I've ever seen Orion brighter. That's one thing I love about the ADKs -- in many areas the light pollution isn't bad and the night sky can be spectacular.

The next morning it was cloudy, stormy looking, and the wind was blowing pretty good. One of those mornings you don't want to get out of your bag. I rolled over and started a fire in the stove without leaving my bag (best thing ever) and in no time it was toasty warm. We made some coffee, ate some disgusting mountain house breakfasts, and decided to drill a few holes and try to catch some fish.

I had never ice fished before, but I was armed with a $20 auger I bought off Facebook and something called a Swedish pimple that BD set me up with. It looks nothing like a Swede and nothing like a pimple, so I have no idea. He must have caught 15 perch in the first hour, but all of them were tiny. I caught 3, and my first one was a decent size, which may have set my expectations a little high. It was pretty cold when you weren't moving though, since the wind was constant and there was no sun. We did a little exploring of the nearby islands and checked out some of the other sites, just to keep the blood flowing.

After another uneventful but fun night hanging out, Sunday dawned dead calm, with a bluebird sky. I wished I could have stayed another day, but unfortunately we both still have to work for a living. It was a beautiful day, and by the time we had packed up it was almost 37 degrees so it made for a great hike out. All in all, a great trip, a good gear shakeout, and a fun three day getaway on the long slog toward warmer weather.

Here are some pics of the trip:

Thanks for reading my long-winded report!

Last edited by JohnnyVirgil; 03-03-2020 at 08:56 AM..
JohnnyVirgil is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2020, 07:38 PM   #2
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: SNY
Posts: 638
Well written and thorough story. Nice tent for sure.
Woodly is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2020, 08:26 PM   #3
Tick Magnet
Tick Magnet's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Ballston Lake, NY
Posts: 1,255
Awesome TR JV! Thanks for sharing your adventures with us.

Your pictures are really nice too!
Tick Magnet
Tick Magnet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2020, 09:55 AM   #4
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: central NYS
Posts: 325
Thanks for the photos and trip report. Looks like you had a great time. I can understand your comments regarding the night sky when in the Adirondacks; especially in winter. It seems like I'm always seeing an old friend when Orion pops into the sky.

That's all for now. Take care and until next well.

snapper is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2020, 10:54 AM   #5
Join Date: May 2018
Posts: 628
That kind of "long winded" I can do all day! Thanks for a great report, glad to hear there were no snafus after you hit the trail.
Lucky13 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2020, 06:38 PM   #6
Bench Dog
Join Date: Oct 2019
Location: Oak Hill, NY
Posts: 1
I had a great time! It was a blast revisiting old haunts, and the bumpy start just made for better telling. Lol. We’ll definitely have to go back to do some paddling.
Bench Dog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-03-2020, 09:09 AM   #7
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Porter Corners, NY
Posts: 1,016
Let's roll.
JohnnyVirgil is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-03-2020, 06:04 PM   #8
Banjoe's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 159
Reminds me of my explanation to my wife about a time I went to Bear Lake and was going to park near McKeever at Wolf Lake Landing Road. Except in winter there is a 7' high snowbank on McKeever Rd. with no place to get off the road. I spent 15 minutes telling her how and where I parked before she finally interrupted and asked how the camping was.
Great, as always.
Banjoe is offline   Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 12:39 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions Inc.

DISCLAIMER: Use of these forums, and information found herein, is at your own risk. Use of this site by members and non-members alike is only granted by the administration provided the terms and conditions found in the FULL DISCLAIMER have been read. Continued use of this site implies that you have read, understood and agree to the terms and conditions of this site. Any questions can be directed to the Administrator of this site.