There seems to be a sweet spot which lies somewhere between Labor Day and when the leaves start to turn. It is when things slow down a bit, and as William Chapman White describes in his book Adirondack Country:
“On one day lakes are alive and noisy, camps are filled, and every tourist cabin taken. A day or so after Labor Day and most people are gone. Yet two of the best Adirondack months are still ahead. As the Adirondack people say, on a hot September afternoon with a warm wind raising whitecaps on the lakes, ‘We keep the best weather for ourselves’.”
Weekends find us full and busy with “leaf peepers” but midweek provides us with an opportunity for extended trips.
We decided that we would do a circuit around the Seward Range with a short side trip to Duck Hole. As we had done the NPT before this time we took the Horse Trails on the south side of the Cold River. Horse Trails: wide, brushed out, well-marked, easy to follow. Right? Well it seems horses don’t like the south side of the Cold River, because from the ford of the Cold River to the Northern Lean-to’s the trail is nonexistence. This section had the feeling of remoteness that is often sought, but rarely found. We picked our way slowly with no markers or at times even a hint of the trail to guide us. Arriving at the Northern Lean-tos in time for lunch at least provided us with the comforting thought that we were not completely lost. Fortunately, the trail improved as we drew closer to Moose Pond Stream Lean-tos. Once we crossed the Cold River the next day at Shattuck’s Clearing the trail was almost a highway compare to what was behind us.
The trip to Duck Hole was a high light as we had not been back there since the dam was breached by Irene.
Duck Hole It is completely different.
In the end, we made such good time, we finished a day early. We ended up doing about 37 miles over the course of four days and three nights (Number 4, Moose Pond Stream, and Calkins Brook Lean-tos). We had no bugs and saw no one else after Camp 4. In retrospect the worst part of the whole trip was the walk down Coreys Rd from winter park lot at Stoney Creek back to the truck.
As for the weather it was as William Chapman White promised for September:
“…Days stay warm, nights grow chilly…The heat of summer is gone but its sparkle remains. The afternoon has a close warmth that makes any thought of the approaching frost almost ridiculous. By evening the sunset fills the sky. The temperature falls …almost as fast as a leaf down from a tree. At dusk, mist comes off the land in wisps of thin batting and the temperature continues to drop. At night everything is very still…”