The NCMC Winter Camping trip for 2011 was light on challenge and heavy on convenience. It was a one-night trip and the destination was an Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) lean-to near the club’s Loj at Heart Lake.
As has become the norm, Tom, Jack and Bill rendezvoused for the trip at the Semler Great Camp, or NCMC clubhouse, outside of Saranac Lake.
Tom and Jack arrived at the house in time to take a ski before dark. Bill arrived sometime in the middle of the night and caught a bit of shut-eye on the coach.Over coffee the next morning, Tom suggested an easy trip to the ADK campground.
The decision was ratified and off they went. This involved driving to the Loj, parking their cars and walking a short distance with their gear to one of the campground’s lean-tos. This was accomplished in short order, as was a quick stop at the High Peaks Information Center, and they decided to ski to Marcy Dam. The skiing wasn’t great. It was early March and a bit warm, but there was good snow cover. It was the kind of conditions that call for waxless skis to avoid klister or the use of skins to help with the climbing.
They made it to Marcy Dam before too long, however, and there were plenty of campers and day skiers coming and going at this backcountry crossroads. Someone spending a few hours at Marcy Dam with a camera on one of its busy winter days could take a collection of interesting portraits of the various groups and solo sojourners. There were also plenty of black-capped chickadees at the dam, too, and the NCMCers had fun feeding the tame creatures GORP out of their hands.
Jack was more than willing to continue skiing on from the dam (which was, incidentally, washed away months later during Hurricane Irene), but it was late afternoon and the consensus of the group was to return to camp.
Back at the lean-to, they had dinner and walked over to the Loj to peak at the dinner menu in the window. As lean-to renters, they were not allowed inside the Loj, where they could see happy people enjoying the warmth and light. They wandered back to their lean-to by the light of their headlamps and got into their sleeping bags for the night.
The next day they skied over to the hill where the ADK gives telemark lessons and watched Bill bomb the hill. Jack did it to, but Tom’s skis were just too sticky to allow him to get going. Next on the agenda was a snowshoe hike up part of Mt. Jo. They didn’t make the summit (and it’s a very easy climb), but got their hearts going on the uphill. Following their hike they went back to their vehicles and headed home.
Gallery: Adirondack Loj
Video: Marcy Dam and skiing