Thursday, March 11, 2010

XC Skiing - Murphy Lake

With heavy rain coming in this weekend, and snow generally melting rapidly everywhere, Holly and some friends and I set off for the Adirondacks today for one more backcountry ski outing. We were planning to ski to Murphy Lake, the northernmost of 3 lakes on the Murphy/Middle/Bennett Lakes trail, just south of Wells. The round-trip mileage to the lake would be either 5.9, 6.2, 6.4, or 8.0, depending on the information source, but was most likely between 6 and 7 miles.

Arriving at the trailhead on Pumpkin Hollow Road, it was clear that this would be spring conditions. A light shower was passing by, but we hoped it would soon leave us behind. This trail is a marked snowmobile trail, and was pretty hard-packed, while off to either side, there was at least 12-18" of heavy wet corn snow, but not much room to make use of it. The trail was fast and full of icy spots, bare spots, rocks, and downed tree debris, but we unbelievably persevered and actually got to the lake. Some hills required walking rather than skiing, both up and down, and at least one stream crossing also required us to remove our skis.

It was a generally uphill climb to the lake, gaining in the neighborhood of 300-400 feet. We had lunch there on a mostly bare hillside overlooking the lake, as more light showers splattered in the open water near the outlet.

Murphy Lake from beaver dam at its outlet

Our lunch spot on the bare hillside east of the outlet

The return trip was much quicker, but also somewhat of a survival test on the speedy bumpy rock-strewn downhills. This trip was definitely an adventure with these conditions, but would be a very nice ski trip with softer and deeper mid-winter snow.

No comments:

Post a Comment