ADK Adventure 22
I have been itching to get out and do some exploring and adventure as of late. It has been about two years since I last went camping. That adventure was alright, but was a little unfulfilling. Due to my companions alcoholic and low activity nature, we didn't get to do too much in the way of hiking. It was mostly spending time at the campsite and driving around.
This year however, things were much better. Terri is an amazing lady and she matches my activity level very well. It was her birthday, so I wanted to show her some new geography and do some hiking, which I know she loves. It would also be her first cold weather camping experience. I was excited, and very much looking forward to the adventure. But beyond pre-booking a camp site at Cranberry Lake, I really didn't have much else pre-planned. I know I wanted to show Terri mountains, and ideally go up a mountain. I was initially thinking of Mount Washington, but that would of been quite a bit of a detour and quite a bit more driving.
This time, I ended up picking a time right around Columbus day, and indeed the fall colors were in full swing up in the Adirondaks. We stayed in my favorite campground, Cranberry Lake. And while the plan was to attempt a hike up Bear Mountain this year, we just didn't get up there. Maybe next year! We do for sure want to climb a mountain, legit. But we kind of did some mountain climbing this time. More on that later.
Cranberry Lake was a little cold, and it was the final night of camping. I was hoping to camp a few days, but I was also winging it a little. I wanted to stay flexible and adjust to what Terri wanted to do. It was Terri's first experience sleeping in a tent let alone in cold weather, but she handled it well. She was also a great help and super camping buddy. I know she also mentioned that I was a trooper for the amount of non-stop driving I did over the trip. But she really is also a super trooper too. I very much enjoyed her cooking!
We did get some hiking in at Cranberry Lake, but ended up veering off of the trail by mistake. We turned around when we realized we were going the wrong way. But it was fun none the less. Terri also experienced her first time walking around the campsite at night without a flashlight on. I wanted to teach her some confidence and such in terms of not being scared of the dark and showing her that her eyes will adjust and she can still see without a flashlight. And surely that was the case, as it was a very full moon that night.
I was super surprised that she was willing to go on a night time hike in the woods, to revisit a spot by the water where we were earlier in the day. With the danger of bears in the area, I was very cautious to venture into the woods, but it wasn't so bad. I had a thermal imaging camera with me too, so that gave me some confidence.
The night was rainy and cool, which was okay. We both seemed to sleep very well. We woke up early, around 7am, and proceeded to get showered. Then breakfast was made. We packed up the site, and washed up, and then hit the road. Where we were going, was up in the air at this point. I knew lunch was important, so Tupper Lake, with it's restaurants, was the next stop. We found a little Italian place, and had a lovely little lunch. This is where we discovered something called the Wild Center. It is also in Tupper Lake, and so we decided to stop by. Admission was $22 per adult, which was maybe a bit steep. But it ended up being a decent experience.
The wild walk up in the trees was very cool, and there was some grating which Terri recognized. The wild walk had some great views of nearby mountains. And made me wonder if I could get to any of them. We also enjoyed the trails and the musical forest was very cool. The inside exhibits were interesting, especially the living plant and biome exhibits, tho I was hoping for more animals.
At the Wild Center we discovered that we could drive up Whiteface Mountain! Of course, we didn't discover that it was a toll road and only open at specific times. I plotted a course, and away we went, with the idea that it was a road we could just drive up. Upon getting there, it was 5:50 or so. It was a toll road with a gatehouse, and apparently the road was only opened from Spring till Fall, and of course after Columbus day, it was going to be shut down for the season. We stopped by the North Pole for a picture.
We were 20 minutes late, after the last car was allowed up. Shucks. Oh well, now we know. By this time it was getting close to dinner. We had passed through Lake Placid, and we were in the high peaks. It was difficult to plan things because it seemed that the whole area was shutting down for the winter right around us. We eventually found a place in Wilmington to get some pizza which was still opened.
Fratelli Pizza was pretty good, and it seemed to be a lovely local small place, and it was lovely to have found them. There were several other hikers in there, mostly from Canada based on the license plates of the vehicles in the parking lot. But now it was getting important to find a place to stay for the night. We checked on a few locations in Wilmington. One place was asking $440 a night. 3 other locations didn't even appear to be opened, even tho there seemed to be some cars parked at rooms. The one which we ended up finding that seemed to be opened was Cadence Lodge. It was a reasonable price of $150 which wasn't bad for being so close to Lake Placid. The room was also very nice and lodge'y. It was a good experience, and a very relaxing night.
The morning brought us a nice clear day. We didn't find any breakfast locally in Wilmington, but we drove into Lake Placid and found a restaurant called Generations which was serving breakfast. Both Terri and myself ordered amazing dishes. Terri got a Nutella french toast, which was amazing. I got a breakfast wrap which was also delicious. I mentioned to Terri that Lake Placid has some of the world's best chef's as many of the places there are owned by the big chef's from New York's scene.
After our lovely meal, we headed back up to the Whiteface area for a nice hike. While it wasn't really a mountain climb, it was a mountain hike. We hiked the Cobble Trail which led out to a rocky overlook of the whole valley. It was an amazing location, and we found that we were high above the valley floor. Even saw a helicopter way down there, flying around maybe 1000 feet below us.
A very cool experience. After that hike, we stopped by an A&W location in Wilmington! Who knew A&W was still a thing? We got floats of course, and also burgers. I will say the burgers were decent, and a heck of a lot better than a McDonalds burger that I purchased today. McDonalds has so gone down hill. After this we stopped in Lake Placid again to look through some shops before setting out on the long journey home.
All in all it was an amazing little adventure.