Tom and Jack went Winter camping in March of 2009 to Stephens Pond, an old favorite destination in the Adirondacks. Because it was late in the season, the snowpack was disappearing and what was left was no good for skiing. They decided, therefore, to hike in to the leanto on the pond in boots. They tied their skis to their packs and left their snowshoes in their cars. They hiked through Lake Durant campground, but missed the trailhead to Stephens Pond. After walking past the trailhead for about five minutes, they realized their mistake and backtracked. Flagging down a passing snowmobiler, they confirmed their mistake and found the trailhead. Please do not ask how they could miss the trailhead in clear weather that they have encountered many times.
Despite the poor snow, the 2.5-mile walk into the leanto was not unpleasant and they reached their destination as the sun was setting. The normal routine of unpacking and taking over the leanto ensued. While unpacking, Tom realized that he had somehow left the coffee and breakfast in the car. He knew they would have to travel out to get it in the morning or cut their trip from two nights to one. They had a good dinner, however, and enjoyed the magnificent view of the star-studded sky from the icy pond. They slid around on the frozen surface in their down booties while enjoying the Milky Way.
The next morning they decided to pack up and go. They hiked down the frozen pond toward the road and picked up the trail at the outlet to the lake. Back at their cars in the early afternoon, they broke out a camp stove and made a hot lunch. Leaving their packs at their cars, they decided to ski back to the pond. It was a warm sunny day and the pond glinted as its frozen surface began to melt. They skied back to their cars in the late afternoon and drove to the North Country Men’s Club clubhouse in Saranac Inn on Kimpton Road. The next day they skied in on the old truck trail that leads to Fish Pond. The snow cover on the old road was decent and the skiing was pretty good, and the extreme skiing video was made, which can be viewed here.
They had hoped for a two-night camping trip, but, considering the mediocre snow conditions at Stephens Pond, it was perhaps a blessing that Tom had left the camping breakfasts in the car, prompting them to spend a night at the clubhouse. Let’s hope for a prodigious snowfall in the Adirondacks in the 2009-2010 winter and a two-night camping trip without the need for klister.
Gallery: Stephens Pond 2009