Pushing for Piseco – Day 4
Morning – Hamilton Lake Stream Lean-to 8/26/2023
We must have slept pretty good because I only remember waking up once to stare off into the moonlit camp. The fire and number of bodies in the shelter kept us toasty! I rolled over to spoon Tarzan hoping he wouldn’t wake up and start his day with a bang like usual. I was hoping he’d just snuggle for a while before packing up for Piseco. Of course, snuggling lasted all of 2 minutes.
A New Routine
As usual, I begrudgingly started my day like everyone else. All of my clothes were still wet and my shoes still soaked even though I toasted them by the fire and took my insoles out. At least they were somewhat drier? I started what would was becoming my daily foot care routine. Clean my deep heel blisters, pop my toe blisters carefully, add triple antibiotic, place a small amount of gauze in the heel wounds, and cover heels with leukotape before layering my injinji liners and socks. At least it was town day!
We’re Going to Town, We’re Going to Town
The New Yorker crew had informed us that we must visit the Oxbow Inn and that it was just .3 up NY-8 on the left. They almost followed us back to Piseco just to go back for another Margarita! Not only did we have bar food to look forward to but it would only be about 3.4ish miles seemingly all downhill on the topo.
Baby Legs left camp first while I was struggling to convince myself to pull on my smelly, wet, pack. Tarzan is so patient with me. Between my blisters and 3 days of walking in the pouring rain, I was not having my ideal time on trail. Mentally it was becoming a bit cumbersome.
Once Tarzan and I got moving, I kept getting these weird panic attacks—I was filled with so much self-doubt. Mad at myself for not being better. For being so painfully slow. It was hard for me to feel like I was getting anywhere at all. The miles absolutely dragged. Maybe it was the rolling hills combined with the mud, the blowdowns, and our newest adversary, nettles. Maybe it was hallucinating the sound of lawn mowers making me feel like we were nearing town. The forest here reminded me of the forest back home in Connecticut so maybe my child’s mind was imagining refuge closer like it would be at home. Panicking, per my namesake, definitely slowed us down. I’d stop to breathe and eventually I’d calm down but not before a few tears!
After the last footbridge over Buckhorn Lake outlet the trail ascends for a while before flattening out between small pines. Eventually the road appears at the intersection of NY-8 and the road to Piseco Post Office.
Fungi Report: Comb Tooth (Hericium), Hedgehog (hydnum), and Black Trumpets were found in this section.
The moment trail opens up to town I find it a little overwhelming. Despite desperately wanting to return to society and to get out of the woods, I find my senses are heightened and aren’t as numb to the hustle and bustle of town. The cars are fast, the people are fast, convenience is at everyone’s fingertips, and you’re used to being a little quieter and much slower. It makes my head spin a little. To be fair though, I’m a potato chip and I have trouble adjusting to change in general even if I wanted it!
The Oxbow & Piseco
The Oxbow is definitely hiker friendly! Their side lawn was littered with wet hiking gear and clothes to soak up the sun and hopefully dry before the next bout of rain. Rain was definitely coming as there were clouds forming in the distance already. I knelt down and peeled my pack and shoes off. Tarzan and I changed into our town clothes which for me are synonymous to my camp clothes.
After laying out all of our wet clothes we went inside and reunited with Baby Legs at a table where she had been waiting for us. Our first order of business was Margaritas all around! We ordered cheese curds, burgers, chili dogs, and rachels. I downed my margarita and cheese curds way too quick that by the time my chili dogs came I did not feel well at all. The AC had me shivering so I excused myself to lay in the sun.
Rhonda’s Pissin’ Again
Before long the clouds moved in causing the precious sun to come in and out. At about 2pm, right on time, it started to sprinkle. Tarzan and Baby Legs came outside to pack their bags and drag them to the little shed near the fire pit for shelter. The good news was the sun really did a great job drying everything out. Even our shoes!
Since it was going to rain, we went back into the Oxbow and had another drink at the bar and use the flush toilets one more time. Even after our drinks, Rhonda (our affectionate name for the Adirondacks) wasn’t done yet. No sooner did we get to our packs in the shed did it start to absolutely pour. At least there were usable outlets to charge our battery packs while we waited. We still had to get to Piseco Bob’s for resupply and Fall Stream was only a campsite, no shelter! To say I was flustered, was a bit of an understatement. I was so sick of being soaked!
Luckily the delirium set in again and the sun came out enough for us to hit the road. There was just a little over 2 miles of road walking from the Oxbow to Bob’s. It was a good opportunity to keep my merrell water-mocs on to give my blisters a break.
2 Miles to Piseco Bob’s
On our way, a really nice gentleman who lived on the street approached us to warn us about the trail conditions ahead.
“Do you know the beaver dam broke up ahead? …I don’t know much about it but a couple of hikers turned back from the next section because it was impassable. …You’ll have to ask Bob, he’ll know more about it.” He also added “Not to scare you or anything like that but the lady next-door saw the biggest black bear she ever saw and she’s a native! So keep your eyes peeled!“
We thanked the man for this information but took it all with a grain fo salt.
Part of me wanted it to be true so we could skip some miles guilt free but part of me knew it probably wasn’t that bad. Deep in thought, hobbling down the road to Bob’s, a truck pulls over just behind us. A nice man travelling with his wife jumps out to offer us three of Canada’s finest beers saying
“I’ve known those faces, and they could use a beer!“
I guess we looked as bummed as we were feeling! He had a Backcountry sticker and a Deadhead sticker on the back of his truck so we knew he was cool!
With a positive and negative sign during this eventful road walk it was hard to tell what to expect for the rest of the day. It was getting late and we still planned to get in the woods. I was mentally preparing to walk in the dark at least some portion of the next 4.4 miles after resupplying at Bob’s to Fall Stream camp. The topo has been pretty unreliable in helping us gauge the terrain so far and it was calling for a slight uphill grade. I didn’t know how I was going to do it.
Bob & Matt’s Campwood
Resupply & Water
By the time we got to Bob’s it was just before 4pm. Bob and Matt welcomed us into their garage where our box was waiting for us. I was still feeling like trash physically and mentally. Hot and cold, my blisters on the backs of my heels were wicked, and my head was not happy. Bob quickly offered to wash our water bottles and fill them with fresh water while we resupplied. It was nice to drink fresh water after 4 days of “crick” water. We asked Bob about the beaver dam break and he said there was nothing to worry about. Same conditions we had been reading about online. Maybe 20-50 years of possibly knee deep water but nothing more.
Piseco Lake Camp
I think Bob could tell I was not in shape for walking so he suggested we start out in the morning. He clued us in to a camp a mile down the road on Piseco Lake! He even shuttled us down and got us the reservation. I was so happy to not have to go in the woods that night. Plus, there were HOT showers and outlets to recharge. The property was absolutely beautiful too. A little known refuge at the edge of the lake with canoes, kayaks, and cabins. Even the outhouses had flush toilets!
Tarzan started a fire while we set up our tents for the night. We sprayed the area with deet because the mosquitos were the worst we’d encountered yet but it didn’t matter to me. I was happy to rest my feet. Both Baby Legs and I took 20 min hot showers and really scrubbed down. The biggest blister on my left heel opened up and started to weep. I was pretty concerned about the next section but figured we’d discuss in the morning.
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