Adirondack High Adventure

Eight scouts (mostly 9th graders) and four dads had an action-packed week in the Adirondacks. Evan Molnar flew back from Colorado to participate and Jack Fancher joined us for part of the week.

Saturday morning we started by shopping for the week and then drove to Adirondack Extreme, near Lake George. This was a series of COPE courses with ziplines, rope ladders, swinging bridges, etc. We spend about 4 hours there and completed 5 courses. This was a lot of fun for everyone, but we were all wiped out at the end. After a parking lot picnic, we headed to our first base camp near Indian Lake. The sites were great, next to a small gorge with waterfalls. We had beef kabobs for dinner and then went to bed after a long day.

Sunday was our whitewater rafting day on the Hudson River Gorge. There was a multi-hour delay due to problems with the dam and it was looking like we would not be able to raft. But just when we had given up, our guides told us that the dam was open and we were ready to go. As we got into the river, it began to rain really hard which seems to happen on every whitewater trip. This didn’t last too long and eventually the sun came out. The Hudson River is very pretty in the Adirondacks going through birch and hemlock forests and past steep granite cliffs. The river was a little low, but the rafting was still fun.

Monday we woke up to heavy rain. Fortunately we had set up a dining fly the night before so we were able to cook and eat without getting TOO wet. The rain wouldn’t stop but we decided to head out on the day’s adventure anyway. We climbed Chimney Mountain, which is a short, but steep mountain near Indian Lake. Near the top, we found the entrance to Eagle Cave. The entrance required crawling through a gap in the rock about a foot wide and 12 feet deep, then you need to repel down a rock face another 12 feet. Inside, it is completely black other than from the headlamps we had brought. We spent about 3 hours inside the cave including climbing down a rope ladder we had brought with us. It kept getting colder and colder the further we went into the cave – Luke Fancher even found some ice in the cave (in July!). Eventually we worked our way back out but it was still raining. Max Gordon made an awesome spicy pasta dinner – but he made so much we couldn’t even finish it.

Tuesday we got up early and packed up camp for the next phase of our trip: three days canoeing through a variety of ponds, streams, and lakes. The ponds were really nice with a heavy cover of lily pads and other water flowers. Tuesday night we camped on an island on Upper Saranac Lake and grilled pork tenderloin by the edge of the lake.

Wednesday, we had to paddle all the way down Upper Saranac Lake which was hard because of the wind, then we had a ˝ mile portage which took about an hour and a half. We were all exhausted at the end but recharged with a big snack. After the portage, it was a short paddle to our next campsite, a roomy, wooded island on Middle Saranac Lake. Some of the scouts took the canoes out to find firewood while the rest stayed behind to make spaghetti dinner. We had a great sunset that night.

Thursday, our last day of canoeing, we went through a lock on the river between Middle and Lower Saranac Lakes. Further along, we saw a bald eagle in the trees. Then, with about 2 miles left to go, it began to rain hard and we could hear thunder so we paddled as hard as we could. Everyone made it out safely but soaked. From there, we went to Mr. Fancher’s lodge where everyone could shower and the boys swam and played video games for a few hours until the rain stopped. Dinner that night was at the Tale o’ the Pup, a BBQ restaurant – the food was awesome. Afterwards, we drove to the Adirondack Loj near Lake Placid, which was our base camp for the rest of the trip.

Friday morning, we got up early again and hiked Algonquin Peak, the second highest mountain in the Adirondacks. It was a 3000’ climb over three, very rocky miles. But the view from the top was worth it. We decided to “bag” Wright Peak on the way back, another of the 46’ers. At the top of Wright, we saw remains of a WW2 era bomber which crashed on the mountain. We were exhausted again at the end of the day but had delish pesto chicken kabobs and fresh corn on the cob for dinner.

Saturday was our last day so we fit in a lot. We drove to a waterfall along the Ausable River and the boys took turns jumping into the river from cliffs of varying heights. Afterward, we went out to A&W for lunch for some good fried food. Next we hiked up to Copperus Pond, a great swimming hole. We would have stayed longer, but it started to rain and thunder again. We headed into Lake Placid to look around town for a while. We checked out the Olympic ice rinks, EMS and some other stores, but soon it started to pour again. We went for an early pizza dinner and then headed back to the Loj. When we got there, our campsite was flooded from all of the rain. Rather than staying another night, we decided to break camp and head home to Yardley. Everyone got home safely, but very late.