10 November 2010

No trespassing!

As I left it: I was on fire. Got put out. Big blister on ankle. 20 silly blisters up my left leg. Camping just past the edge of nowhere, so we're self-medicating. Now it's time to leave this Gilligan's Island paradise. Soooo...

The story continues (and this is just to close it out):

We leave from the island cove by noon in a pissy rainstorm. Within an hour, a thunderstorm hits. We have to get off the lake. It takes hours and hours to make it the 5 or 6 miles to the next portage. And it's still raining. The damn storm bounced off a bunch of the Four-Thousanders and hit us once an hour every hour, so we spent a lot of time along the shore.

We have this new portage to make. This one was only about a half-mile long. But remember, if a portage is 1/2 mile long, then going back to get more stuff makes it 1 1/2 miles long. (Maths lesson, cause someone always asks...if you walk 1/2 mile, then turn around and walk 1/2 mile back, then turn around again and go back to your original destination 1/2 mile away, you have walked 1/2+1/2+1/2=1 1/2 miles!) A second trip back for more stuff makes it 2 1/2 miles long. So you have great incentive to make as few trips as possible. Especially when it's raining, with thunder and lightning to top it off.

The storm is finally gone, but it's pitch black, and the first hundred yards of the portage is up a muddy bank with a rushing cascade beside us. It would have been beautiful during the day. All we've got to look forward to is mud and crap for the next half mile. We get organized. The goal is no more than 2 and a half trips. Then someone decides if we double up and carry loaded canoes, we can do it in one and a half. Loaded canoes are tough to carry. Especially when they're filling up with rain water. But off we go.

Some clown (yeah, me) started singing. "The Titanic". How appropriate. Take a second and go read the lyrics. I'll wait for you to come back.................Welcome back. Our only light was headlamps and flashlights which are hard to hold when you're using both hands to carry a loaded canoe. We slipped, slid and managed to get the canoes and gear to the other end in only one and a half trips (meaning only half made a second trip back).

Now we've got a new problem. The rain has let up slightly, to a mist. But it is dark, and there is no way to find the Adirondack shelter along the lake shore in front of us. But posted everywhere along the edge where we are standing on old, rotten, broken down docks are NO TRESPASSING signs. We're on the edge of an estate owned by some old New York family, perhaps the Rockefellers. But we have no real choice. We break out the minimum number of tents, set them up on the rickety docks, and 4 to a tent, crawl in to try to get some soggy sleep.

The next morning we're up before dawn (not that we slept much), and broken down, loaded, and on the water in about fifteen minutes. Probably a new record for us! No armed guards showed up. No repercussions. We paddled like mad until we found a nice, dry beach to fix breakfast, then we headed up through Utowana Lake, Eagle Lake, and into Blue Mountain Lake. We arrived too late to turn in the canoes, so we camped one last night on a rocky, rooty island. The next morning, the canoe trip ended, and we headed to Fort Ticonderoga to cross into Vermont and continue the trip.

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