Henderson Leanto

Winter ’98

The 1998 NCMC winter camping trip saw the club return to Henderson Leanto on the Indian Pass Trail in Tahawus.
Tom, Jack, Bill, Jay and Lucky made the trip in February (In January of that year, they had all gotten together over Martin Luther King weekend at Earl’s house in Lake Placid).
Tom arrived first at Tahawus for the trip to Henderson. He packed up and headed down the trail to the leanto on his snowshoes. It was mild for February; well above freezing, and the mushy deep snow caked up on his snowshoes. Jack, Bill, Jay and Lucky were not going to get there until close to dark, so Tom went in early to secure the leanto.
Henderson is only a couple of miles from the trailhead at Tahawus, so it didn’t take Tom long to get there on the well-marked trail.
Once at the empty leanto, he secured a spot for himself next to one of the shelter’s side walls. It’s better to have a spot on the side than in the middle of the leanto. Somehow or other, you wind up with more space that way and have less chance of losing a glove or a sock or a hat amid the jumble of gear and sleeping bags that accrues in the center of things in the leanto.
Having picked a choice spot for his gear, Tom busied himself boiling water for dinner as darkness fell. After dinner, with all the stars out, he climbed into his bag and went to sleep. He wasn’t sure whether his fellow NCMCers were going to make it in that night or not.
He feel asleep and awoke to a racket in the woods as his fellow campers slogged along the trail in the dark. He assumed they were close to the leanto, but it was 15 minutes before the group arrived, getting louder all the time as they approached the leanto.
It was a warm and comfortable night, probably in the mid-30s, and the new arrivals were in no hurry to get in their bags. Eventually, however, they all settled down for the evening.
The next day continued warm, and their plan for an outing was to return to the cars via Henderson Lake, rather than by the trail. Had conditions offered better skiing, they probably would have made a trip the iconic Wallface leanto that sits farther along the Indian Pass trail.
The parking lot was warm and sunny when they arrived. There is not a great deal of detail available about the day, except that Tom did not bring his keys back to the parking lot, and he did recall looking through the vehicle’s window at the beer inside.
At some point, they traveled back to the leanto and had an excellent dinner that night provided by Jay.
They left the next day, which was another one of unseasonable warmth. The skiing was pretty poor because of the temperature, but it was, as always, an enjoyable trip, particularly for Tom, who had missed the previous year’s trip, when Jack and Jay and Bill had stayed at a leanto near Adirondack Loj and traveled to Avalanche Lake.

Gallery: Henderson Leanto

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