We awoke to soothing sounds of the creek punctuated by the clanking of pans in the kitchen. Hugh was thinking about breakfast. I put a pot (circa 1920) of coffee on and watched him work while the others gathered their senses about them.
Several pounds of home fries, bacon, Croghan Bologna, biscuits, and eggs later, we headed out on the the Number 4/Stillwater/Big Moose Road--25 miles of partially paved wonderment into the Adirondack State Park. Essentially, the first mile and the last mile are paved, the rest is an unpleasant journey on dirt, rock, and stone.
It was one of those constantly shifting weather days--sometimes rainy, sometimes sunny--so, we decided to climb a relatively easy peak with good views from the top.
After an hour in the wilderness, we parked the earth-coated hybrid (looking a bit like the Adobe from the SNL fauxmercial) at the base of Bald Mountain (also known as Rondaxe Mountain, for some strange reason), between the towns of Inlet and Old Forge.
Hiking the backbone
It was a quick hike up--with the last 1/4 up a slight incline across what was described as a dinosaur's backbone. Hugh kept making Natty Bumppo references, Chris examined every pile of animal feces that we encountered (slightly more disturbing than his crayfish obsession), and Dan made his usual sarcastic comments.
Leatherstocking comparison: who is the real Natty Bumppo?
At the top of the mountain, there was a fire tower that you could climb and look out at the other peaks and the Fulton Chain Lakes.
After spending an hour or so playing around on the summit, we headed back down to the car and Old Forge for lunch.
Chris, resting at the Peak
Old Forge is a tourist town--with tacky souvenir shops, restaurants, and Enchanted Forest, Water Safari ("where the fun never stops!"). Apparently, there was a big motorcycle rally happening in town (Thunder in The Forge), and all of the bars had bikes parked out front and mean-looking, leather-clad folks inside. We chose the place with the least amount of bikers--"Slickers"--as we realized we looked out of place (3 out of 4 of us were wearing Red Sox hats, and all 4 of us were wearing sarcastic looks) and were magnets for trouble. We had some burgers and beers, listened to a cover band, and left before the "Jagermeister Girls" could force us to drink the stuff (but not before they handed out Jager lais). After browsing souvenirs in town and pausing to let some deer cross the road, we headed back down the Big Moose/Stillwater/Number 4 road...
A well-placed sign.
Back at the cabin, we continued our beer, hot dog and s'more feast from the night before--listening to music through Dan's iPod (I'm sorry, but Radiohead is not campfire music) and watching the clouds periodically block out the stars.
Apparently flames and Calexico attract moths