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Old 09-30-2013, 07:36 PM   #1
cuterocky
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Cranberry Lake 50 "Take 2"

Pretty blog version

Last year, my friend Todd and I set out to backpack the entire CL50 loop over 4 days starting in Peavine Swamp. Due to our lack of backpacking experience (this was my first multi-day backpacking trip) and the weight of our food and gear (probably should have upgraded my 12 pound tent when I updated the rest of my gear), we ended up cutting the trip short. We had planned to make it to High Falls the first night after starting at the Peavine Swamp trailhead but we didn't even make it that far. We ended up spending the night at campsite #21. I never got a chance to thank DSettahr last year in helping show me which campsites along the Oswegatchie River were accessible from the trail, so thanks DSettahr, you really helped us out! We were tired, sore, and blistered so we decided early the next morning to cut our trip short and continue around the High Falls loop and back out through Peavine Swamp over our next 3 days. We spent our next 2 nights at Janack’s Landing and the Inlet lean-to. We had a good time but definitely wanted to go back and finish what we had started.

So this year Todd and I met again at the Cranberry Lake state campground on Wednesday 9/18. I drove up from Rochester and he drove up from New Jersey. The trip started off with a bang as I got my car stuck on a stump at the campsite… I swear I didn’t see it! Luckily, the maintenance workers at the campground were kind enough to pull me off using their dump truck and a few 2 x 4s the next morning, thanks guys!

We hit the trail Thursday around 11:00am starting at the Burntbridge Pond trailhead. Not 10 minutes down the trail, an American Marten jumped across. I thought it was a bobcat at first until it jumped back across the trail and I got a better look. Very fluffy looking thing. The trail was pretty easy and we had a good pace going. We passed by a pair of dayhikers before we hit the intersection to the Dog Pond loop trail. We stopped to take a quick snack and photo break at campsite #10 along the lake. Our goal for day 1 was to get to the campsite at Curtis Pond. We passed by East Inlet which is gorgeous and continued up the trail past a lot of huge glacial erratics. To me, the hardest part of the trail was between East Inlet and Curtis Pond due to the amount of uphill hiking but it was also getting towards the end of our day so we were tired out which didn’t help. We made it to the campsite by 4:30pm if I remember correctly. We changed out of our hiking boots and set up camp. We were hanging around when a very loud splash noise startled us. We decided it had to either be a very large fish jumping or a bird landing that we didn’t see. We quickly found out this was not the case. There were a few beavers swimming around and doing some very loud tail slaps. Very cool to see. We cooked up some Hawk Vittles for dinner (delicious!) and got to bed by 9pm with plans for our alarm to go off at 7am the next morning.

I don’t remember hearing the alarm the next morning but I woke up at about 7:20am. We slowly and lazily got out of bed and packed up camp. We were on the trail by 9:30am. Around 10am, before we got to Dog Pond, we ran into Vthiker77 and exchanged pleasantries. He said he had left Chair Rock at 7am that morning. Chair Rock was our goal for that day. A little further on we ran into a friendly hunter who informed me it was early bear season. Turning onto the Otter Brook trail, the trail widened up quite a bit and it was easy hiking. We passed by some remnants of old camps and crossed between different wilderness designations many times. Although this was technically our longest day based on mileage, it didn’t seem too bad as the trail was pretty easy the whole way. We arrived at campsite 17 on Chair Rock Flow around 2:30. I sliced up some summer sausage and Vermont cheddar cheese I had brought for a classy appetizer before dinner. We went and checked out the bridge over Chair Rock Creek and took some pictures. The flow is a very pretty area and I got some great pictures of the changing leaves.

The next morning our alarm went off at 7am again and this time I heard it. We packed up camp and were on the trail by 8:30am. The goal for today was to get to the Cowhorn Pond lean-to. Based on the forecast I had seen before heading out on the trip it was supposed to rain all day today. The skies were overcast but we didn’t see a drop until after we had set up camp for the night. The trail started out with a bunch of uphill hiking and then lots of back down through switchbacks near South Flow. When we got to Six Mile Creek we stopped to take some pictures. We then continued on to the intersection with the Six Mile Creek trail where we took a left and hiked down to see Sliding Rock Falls. I had already slid down the previous year and Todd decided the water was too cold so after a few pictures we headed back up the trail towards the lake to the intersection with the Olmstead Pond trail. We passed by the ponds and got a little confused when we got to an intersection with a trail to Simmonds Pond. The trail was not marked on any of my maps but it had trail markers which threw me off. Luckily we were able to pick the correct trail to continue on and saw a CL50 marker a little ways down it. We stopped at the Olmstead Pond lean-to for lunch. From skimming through the lean-to journal it seems like this is a popular lunch spot. We tried to pump some water but my water filter had been acting funny since the night before. We each got enough water to make it to Cowhorn Pond and I decided I’d look into fixing my filter once we got there. Back on the trail we made it back to the Six Mile Creek trail and were soon walking along the ridge towards Cowhorn Pond. We made it to the lean-to by 1:30pm and set up our tent and the bear bag rope. We both felt more comfortable sleeping in the tent than in the openness of the lean-to. I tried to fix up my water filter but had no luck so we decided to boil water to have for the trail the next day. I think the check valve on my filter is broken. After we got everything set up it started to rain pretty hard so we hung out in the lean-to for the rest of the night. After running the stove for almost 2 hours straight and boiling multiple pots of water (for dinner and for water the next day) we ran out of fuel. We ended up with about 3 liters of water between the 2 of us for the next day plus I had iodine tablets if we needed them. We hit the hay a little earlier due to the rain with our alarms set for 6am the next morning.

We woke up bright and early the next morning excited to get off the trail and back to civilization. It was still raining slightly and it was chilly so we donned our rain jackets and hit the damp trail by 7:30am. We were to the Cat Mountain junction by 9am where we decided to skip the side trip up Cat Mountain due to us wanting to get off the trail plus there would have been no views due to the clouds and rain. Next was the junction with the High Falls trail by 9:30, Janack’s Landing junction by 10am and we were to the Wanakena trailhead by 11:30am. We took a celebratory photo, jumped in my car, and drove back to the Burntbridge Pond trailhead to pick up Todd’s car. We changed into clean dry clothes and then headed to the Pinecone for a celebratory lunch. I had some delicious French onion soup, an amazing jalapeno and Monterey jack burger and a Yuengling. After lunch, Todd and I said our goodbyes and hit the road. I wanted to get home to see the Bills game and was able to make it home with 7 minutes left in the first quarter. It was not a good game…

Overall it was a great trip! We were both very glad we were able to go back and finish what we had started. We averaged about 7 or so miles per day which was a good distance for us with our full packs. The trail was in great condition, some muddy spots but nothing of much concern. The trail crews have done some great work between Janack’s Landing and Wanakena since last year, there are some new bridges over very wet and pond-like areas of beaver activity that we had some issue getting around last year. The weather was absolutely gorgeous except for the last day and the leaves had started to turn. We even had the full moon Thursday night. For right now, this trip has satisfied the Adirondack withdrawal I seem to go through every 6 months or so but hopefully I’ll be able to get back up there soon! Thank you to everyone on the forum that provided us valuable information both this year and last year for our trips.

Here's a link to some of the pictures I took
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Last edited by cuterocky; 06-24-2014 at 11:14 PM.. Reason: Added link to blog
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Old 09-30-2013, 08:57 PM   #2
l'oiseau
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Congratulations. Looks like it was a great trip. Curtis Pond is a beauty. I was invited out there last weekend... should have went. I'll put that on my ever growing list of to-dos...
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Old 09-30-2013, 10:37 PM   #3
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Congrats on making your goal, you have some very nice photos too!!
Running out of fuel is why I switched to a Kelly Kettle a few years ago...faster than any backpack stove I've ever used and no need to carry extra fuel and you never run out of fuel.

So what's next?? I know I have future trips stacked up like LaGaurdia, how about you?

Oh, and great TR, makes me feel like I was there...
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Old 10-01-2013, 06:40 AM   #4
dundee
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Look into one of the gravity feed water filters; fewer parts to go wrong.

When you say you should have upgraded your 12# tent, does that mean you're going to get a 20#???
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Old 10-01-2013, 11:21 AM   #5
cuterocky
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Thanks guys. It really is a beautiful trip. I wasn't worried about running out of fuel since it was our last night so no problem there. I definitely might look into a gravity water filter though. Need to see what else is out there (I've had my Katadyn Hiker for 4-5 years now). I most definitely did not upgrade to a 20 pound tent! lol I ended up getting the REI Half Dome 2 when they were having their annual summer sale.

As for what's up next? Probably gonna take a break from backpacking at least until next fall. Definitely want to get up to the High Peaks area a few times though for some day hikes and work on my 46 throughout the winter and spring. Hopefully I'll be able to find the time!
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Old 10-01-2013, 11:29 AM   #6
l'oiseau
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I would plug the MSR miniworks if I really thought it was that great. I had a Hiker before that - it was OK. The MSR is a least easy to fix in the field. It's major downfall is that it plugs really easily (but it is also easy to clean in the field).

I rarely get more than 2L of water out of it in the ADKs before I need to clean it. Even in the middle of lakes where the water 'looks' free of sand in suspension, it is still there and will clog the filter up just as well.
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Old 10-08-2013, 07:43 AM   #7
Vthiker77
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Cranberry Lake 50 "Take 2"

Good call on having two cars. I left chair rock with the intention of hitch hiking the 5 mile road walk back to peavine swamp trailhead. No such luck. Ended up being a 22 mile day. I hate road walks. The CL50 is a beautiful hike. I may park at wanakena this weekend and shoot over to chair rock flow again since it was such a nice spot.

P.S. This year I switched from a msr miniworks to a sawyer squeeze water filter, and life on the trail is much better because of it. Cheaper, lighter and quicker.
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Old 11-05-2013, 09:58 AM   #8
rachelsdad
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Nice TR.

It is on my list for next spring.

I was also going to suggest the Steripen but I have had issues with the two I purchased from Sierra Trading Post.....frustrating as I thought it would be my end all solution...

I actually used Potable Aqua tabs for 3-4 years...(not knowing they are ineffective after being opened for three months)...and Aqua Mira but I really liked the simplicity of the Steripen....I dunno, perhaps STP is selling factory rejects
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Old 11-05-2013, 06:28 PM   #9
georgecarr
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Originally Posted by rachelsdad View Post

I was also going to suggest the Steripen but I have had issues with the two I purchased from Sierra Trading Post.....frustrating as I thought it would be my end all solution...
Sucks to get promising gear that doen't work out. Don't give up - I'm on my second season with the steripen and really like it so far
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Old 11-09-2013, 09:39 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by cuterocky View Post
Last year, my friend Todd and I set out to backpack the entire CL50 loop over 4 days starting in Peavine Swamp. Due to our lack of backpacking experience (this was my first multi-day backpacking trip) and the weight of our food and gear (probably should have upgraded my 12 pound tent when I updated the rest of my gear), we ended up cutting the trip short. We had planned to make it to High Falls the first night after starting at the Peavine Swamp trailhead but we didn't even make it that far. We ended up spending the night at campsite #21. I never got a chance to thank DSettahr last year in helping show me which campsites along the Oswegatchie River were accessible from the trail, so thanks DSettahr, you really helped us out! We were tired, sore, and blistered so we decided early the next morning to cut our trip short and continue around the High Falls loop and back out through Peavine Swamp over our next 3 days. We spent our next 2 nights at Janackís Landing and the Inlet lean-to. We had a good time but definitely wanted to go back and finish what we had started.

So this year Todd and I met again at the Cranberry Lake state campground on Wednesday 9/18. I drove up from Rochester and he drove up from New Jersey. The trip started off with a bang as I got my car stuck on a stump at the campsiteÖ I swear I didnít see it! Luckily, the maintenance workers at the campground were kind enough to pull me off using their dump truck and a few 2 x 4s the next morning, thanks guys!

We hit the trail Thursday around 11:00am starting at the Burntbridge Pond trailhead. Not 10 minutes down the trail, an American Marten jumped across. I thought it was a bobcat at first until it jumped back across the trail and I got a better look. Very fluffy looking thing. The trail was pretty easy and we had a good pace going. We passed by a pair of dayhikers before we hit the intersection to the Dog Pond loop trail. We stopped to take a quick snack and photo break at campsite #10 along the lake. Our goal for day 1 was to get to the campsite at Curtis Pond. We passed by East Inlet which is gorgeous and continued up the trail past a lot of huge glacial erratics. To me, the hardest part of the trail was between East Inlet and Curtis Pond due to the amount of uphill hiking but it was also getting towards the end of our day so we were tired out which didnít help. We made it to the campsite by 4:30pm if I remember correctly. We changed out of our hiking boots and set up camp. We were hanging around when a very loud splash noise startled us. We decided it had to either be a very large fish jumping or a bird landing that we didnít see. We quickly found out this was not the case. There were a few beavers swimming around and doing some very loud tail slaps. Very cool to see. We cooked up some Hawk Vittles for dinner (delicious!) and got to bed by 9pm with plans for our alarm to go off at 7am the next morning.

I donít remember hearing the alarm the next morning but I woke up at about 7:20am. We slowly and lazily got out of bed and packed up camp. We were on the trail by 9:30am. Around 10am, before we got to Dog Pond, we ran into Vthiker77 and exchanged pleasantries. He said he had left Chair Rock at 7am that morning. Chair Rock was our goal for that day. A little further on we ran into a friendly hunter who informed me it was early bear season. Turning onto the Otter Brook trail, the trail widened up quite a bit and it was easy hiking. We passed by some remnants of old camps and crossed between different wilderness designations many times. Although this was technically our longest day based on mileage, it didnít seem too bad as the trail was pretty easy the whole way. We arrived at campsite 17 on Chair Rock Flow around 2:30. I sliced up some summer sausage and Vermont cheddar cheese I had brought for a classy appetizer before dinner. We went and checked out the bridge over Chair Rock Creek and took some pictures. The flow is a very pretty area and I got some great pictures of the changing leaves.

The next morning our alarm went off at 7am again and this time I heard it. We packed up camp and were on the trail by 8:30am. The goal for today was to get to the Cowhorn Pond lean-to. Based on the forecast I had seen before heading out on the trip it was supposed to rain all day today. The skies were overcast but we didnít see a drop until after we had set up camp for the night. The trail started out with a bunch of uphill hiking and then lots of back down through switchbacks near South Flow. When we got to Six Mile Creek we stopped to take some pictures. We then continued on to the intersection with the Six Mile Creek trail where we took a left and hiked down to see Sliding Rock Falls. I had already slid down the previous year and Todd decided the water was too cold so after a few pictures we headed back up the trail towards the lake to the intersection with the Olmstead Pond trail. We passed by the ponds and got a little confused when we got to an intersection with a trail to Simmonds Pond. The trail was not marked on any of my maps but it had trail markers which threw me off. Luckily we were able to pick the correct trail to continue on and saw a CL50 marker a little ways down it. We stopped at the Olmstead Pond lean-to for lunch. From skimming through the lean-to journal it seems like this is a popular lunch spot. We tried to pump some water but my water filter had been acting funny since the night before. We each got enough water to make it to Cowhorn Pond and I decided Iíd look into fixing my filter once we got there. Back on the trail we made it back to the Six Mile Creek trail and were soon walking along the ridge towards Cowhorn Pond. We made it to the lean-to by 1:30pm and set up our tent and the bear bag rope. We both felt more comfortable sleeping in the tent than in the openness of the lean-to. I tried to fix up my water filter but had no luck so we decided to boil water to have for the trail the next day. I think the check valve on my filter is broken. After we got everything set up it started to rain pretty hard so we hung out in the lean-to for the rest of the night. After running the stove for almost 2 hours straight and boiling multiple pots of water (for dinner and for water the next day) we ran out of fuel. We ended up with about 3 liters of water between the 2 of us for the next day plus I had iodine tablets if we needed them. We hit the hay a little earlier due to the rain with our alarms set for 6am the next morning.

We woke up bright and early the next morning excited to get off the trail and back to civilization. It was still raining slightly and it was chilly so we donned our rain jackets and hit the damp trail by 7:30am. We were to the Cat Mountain junction by 9am where we decided to skip the side trip up Cat Mountain due to us wanting to get off the trail plus there would have been no views due to the clouds and rain. Next was the junction with the High Falls trail by 9:30, Janackís Landing junction by 10am and we were to the Wanakena trailhead by 11:30am. We took a celebratory photo, jumped in my car, and drove back to the Burntbridge Pond trailhead to pick up Toddís car. We changed into clean dry clothes and then headed to the Pinecone for a celebratory lunch. I had some delicious French onion soup, an amazing jalapeno and Monterey jack burger and a Yuengling. After lunch, Todd and I said our goodbyes and hit the road. I wanted to get home to see the Bills game and was able to make it home with 7 minutes left in the first quarter. It was not a good gameÖ

Overall it was a great trip! We were both very glad we were able to go back and finish what we had started. We averaged about 7 or so miles per day which was a good distance for us with our full packs. The trail was in great condition, some muddy spots but nothing of much concern. The trail crews have done some great work between Janackís Landing and Wanakena since last year, there are some new bridges over very wet and pond-like areas of beaver activity that we had some issue getting around last year. The weather was absolutely gorgeous except for the last day and the leaves had started to turn. We even had the full moon Thursday night. For right now, this trip has satisfied the Adirondack withdrawal I seem to go through every 6 months or so but hopefully Iíll be able to get back up there soon! Thank you to everyone on the forum that provided us valuable information both this year and last year for our trips.

Here's a link to some of the pictures I took
Great photos! Thanks for sharing!

Does the trail go near High Rock and High Falls. I paddled the Oswegatchie upstream from the inlet in wannakena to high falls twice (both times in the late fall) - always a great trip. I haven't hiked it yet. I want to, just can't seem to ever get more than 2 days off to do things <smile>
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Old 11-11-2013, 02:06 PM   #11
cuterocky
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Great photos! Thanks for sharing!

Does the trail go near High Rock and High Falls. I paddled the Oswegatchie upstream from the inlet in wannakena to high falls twice (both times in the late fall) - always a great trip. I haven't hiked it yet. I want to, just can't seem to ever get more than 2 days off to do things <smile>
Yes the trail goes by both High Rock and High Falls. If I remember correctly, High Rock is right off the trail and High Falls is about 0.25 - 0.5 miles down a side trail. That section of the trail is called the High Falls loop and can be seen on this map in the bottom left. There is text on the map showing where High Rock and High Falls are.

If you only have 2 days off you could just hike the High Falls loop. It about 16 miles and you could split it up over 2 days and camp at High Falls for the night. Be warned that the trail can be very wet, especially between High Falls and High Rock, due to beaver activity
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