Well, with the recent thaw we've had in my neck of the Northeast, I decided to head out for a quick overnighter to the Tracy Ridge Complex, a 33-mile network of trails with numbered intersections, each of which have a sign pointing to each path's destination. It borders the Allegheny Reservoir, and includes about six or seven miles that parallel the North Country National Scenic Trail. I guess that technically makes me a section hiker!
I was hoping for some crisp Spring weather, but what I got instead was a serious freeze! Undeterred, I packed up my stuff Saturday morning and headed for the mountains.
Well, the first thing that happened upon arriving at the trailhead around 11:45am was that my car got stuck in the snow, in the empty parking lot. In retrospect, it would have made a cool video if I had thought to record the process of becoming unstuck, but I digress... Anyhow, it was a beautiful sunny day, but chilly. Temps were in the mid-20s during the day, and the forecast for the overnight low was 10 degrees.
My route started at the parking lot, then went as follows: 1>2>15>14>13>12>11>10 (around where I camped) >17>3>2>1> back to the car.
Map at the trailhead
Me looking fresh with my new Ohm! Shout out to Benjamin Tang for the great deal on the gear swap. This is my first UL pack! Previously was using a Gregory Z55, but with a Sitlight pad in the back panel, the Ohm is just as comfortable.
Endless woods... this is what the first ~4 miles looked like. I took a side trail that promised two vistas, but alas there were none to be seen. After I met back up with the main trail, I began my descent off the ridge, to where the TRT meets the NCT.
My first view of the Allegheny Reservoir as I descended sharply
I have not quite mastered the art of stiching photos together for a panorama, but not bad...
Oddly-shaped icicles stretching down a log to the stream
The resiliency of beehives never ceases to amaze me. This one looks like a human damaged it recently, but they failed to dislodge it from its branch!
The hive's other half, on the ground below
Arriving at camp. Not a bad frontyard view, hm?
My Copper Spur 1. I don't care how many ounces I could save, this is my baby and will never see the dark corner of my gear room!
At least Spring is trying to "spring"
Around the bend from my campsite. Where Johnnycake Run spills into the reservoir.
Taking the chill off... kinda
Sun sets in the mountains...
Really good once I put some salt on it... I recommend this brand (Hawk Vittles, look them up) if you are the type of person that thinks there's way too much sodium in Mountain House. I happen to love MH meals!
Oops I forgot my stove. Good thing my 1.3 L IMUSA pot is awesome!
Cool fire shot with 60-second shutter. One of my favorite things about the Allegheny National Forest is the perpetual abundance of downed limbs. Supplying the fire is never a problem! Getting them started when you can't find dry leaves or birch bark is a different story...
Checking the temp before bed, around 9:30ish
What would a TR be without a token illuminated shelter shot?
I didn't get much of a chance to snap photos on the hike out (I was trying to make good time as I had an obligation early in the afternoon), but this is Johnnycake Run, which paralleled the trail for a while until it ascended back up the ridge.
The stream is lined with shady hemlocks, whose downed limbs give off a lovely aroma when burned which I sort of liken to fabric softener! Seems like there probably some good campsites along this stretch, but were probably obscured by all the recently fallen snow.
This was the first trip I used my ULA Ohm on, and I can already tell that it's my new go-to pack. I didn't even come close to filling it. I have the old-model hipbelt and have no reason to complain about it- it was comfortable all day (~9 miles).
Honorable mention also goes to my GG NightLight pad. Kept me very warm even though it was 11 degrees out when I woke up at 7am. I did pad my tent site with some dead leaves, which may have helped. Honestly I was a bit worried that it wasn't going to insulate enough, but I slept long and well last night.
Second honorable mention goes to the IMUSA aluminum pot which is 1.3 litres and weighs the same as my Backcountry.com 700ml Ti pot. I stupidly forgot my stove so I ended up nestling it in the fire to boil water. Fished it out with a gloved hand and I was ready to roll.
One last piece of gear that I brought out for the first time was my Motorola Droid X. I marked a few waypoints that I'd like to return to using Backcountry Navigator, and it was awesome listening to some Wilco while doing my camp chores, setting up the shelter, etc... I found a 4.5 oz Altec Lansing single speaker that actually even pumps a little bass, and lasts 10 hours easy on 3 AAA batts.
Well, I hope you all enjoyed a glimpse into my little slice of the Northeast. Cheers!