Hearkening back to its first winter camping trips, the North Country Men’s Club camped one night on March 9, 2013 at St. Regis Pond. The first two NCMC winter trips were also one-night affairs in March. The expedition team was made up of Jack, Bill, Tom, and Matuki, who was making his first winter trip. The day before their night of camping, they had all assembled at the Kimpton Road clubhouse and taken a quick ski, during which they had practiced skijoring with Matuki. The skijoring experiment went splendidly. As Jack pointed out, Matuki will pull a skier as long as he has a lead skier to chase. After skiing they went back to the house, joining Mary and Kate for dinner.
They set out the next day in 40-degree weather for the lean-to on St. Regis Pond. A mini mutiny occurred when Jack and Bill disagreed on a route to the lean-to. Jack wanted to ski to the lean-to via the woods trail, while Bill wanted to ski to the lean-to via frozen lake surface. Tom sided with Bill and the two campers drove to the Fish Hatchery road so they could access Little Clear Pond, leaving Jack and Tuki to head through the woods.
Tom and Bill skied easily across Little Clear Pond and then skied down the portage trail from Little Clear Pond to St. Regis Pond. Not far from St. Regis Pond, a trail from the left came into the portage trail, and Bill and Tom spied Tuki’s tracks, indicating that Jack and Tuki had passed before them. They soon were skiing on St. Regis Pond and reunited with Jack and Tuki at the lean-to.
They settled into the lean-to, which offers a nice view of the pond, and then set off on a day ski on the truck trail to Fish Pond. Bill turned back early upon discovering a blister on his heel from his ski boot. Jack, Tuki and Tom skied on and tucked on a couple of nice hills in the woods before returning to camp.
They had a pleasant time hanging out in camp and enjoyed a dinner of Bertoli frozen Italian sausage and rigatoni. It is a great winter camping meal as preparation is minimal and it tastes fine. They had brought two stoves, but only one worked, and they only needed one for their one-pot dinner. They also were limited to a single book of matches. That was because Tom thought he had forgotten all the wooden matches he had packed in various waterproof containers. In actuality, the matches were in a mesh stuff sack that he had pulled from his pack and hung on a nail at the lean-to and promptly forgotten. They were only discovered when the group was packing up to ski homeward.
It wasn’t a completely clear night, but a good part of the sky was open to the stars. A snowshoe walk on the lake after dinner afforded a good view of winter constellations with minimal light pollution.
Sleeping was easy, as the low temperature overnight was only about 30 degrees. The next morning they had coffee, hot chocolate and Mountain House freeze-dried scrambled eggs, which were eaten out of their container after adding boiling water. The eggs were edible, but the no-cleanup aspect of the eggs is their main claim to fame.
Bill had to get back to Buffalo in the early evening for work, so they packed with alacrity and headed home. The party of four all took the same route out, which was the one Jack took in, except for just at the end of trip, when Bill and Tom went down the truck trail to Route 30, while Jack retraced his steps to a spot on Route 30 directly across from Kimpton Road.
Back at the house, they packed up quickly and were on their way, with the chimes on the front deck left to sound for whoever might be within earshot.
NOTES: Tom purchased waxless skis for the trip, so he ignored the discussion and execution of waxing by Jack and Bill, which involved the dreaded klister due to the warm temperatures… While driving through Lake Placid on the way to Kimpton Road, Tom spied Mary on the street in Lake Placid in front of High Peaks Cyclery. He pulled over and Mary informed him that Jack was in the store with his credit cards. Fortunately, there were only minor purchases of spray-on klister and other inexpensive items… Upon arrivng at the clubhouse, Tom had to be reacquainted with a wary Tuki, but they were soon pals again.
Gallery: St. Regis Pond 2013