Sunday, January 29, 2012

Hiking - Chase and Mud Lakes

Yesterday, I joined a Schenectady ADK trip to Chase and Mud Lakes, off the end of Pinnacle Road in the Shaker Mountain Wild Forest. The original plan was to continue bushwhacking to the base of some cliffs on Pinnacle Mountain, but tough snow conditions convinced us that the two lakes would be enough for one day.

Twelve of us started in on the trail to Chase Lake and its leanto, 2.7 miles away. There were about 8-10" of snow on the ground, and the trail had been packed sometime previously, before subsequent bouts of rain and ice. The trail was pretty firm, but off-trail, there was a healthy amount of crust, which we found ourselves breaking through later as we began the bushwhack.

There was a significant amount of running water, and many smaller streams we needed to detour to get across. The trickiest was the outlet of Mud Lake, which the Chase Lake Trail crossed on the way to the leanto. We continued upstream of the normal crossing and finally found this log that got us to the other side as we watched the churning water below.

The leanto was moved sometime in the past, and now occupies a nice location overlooking Chase Lake.

We stopped here for a pretty long lunch in the balmy almost 40-degree temperatures.

After lunch, we began the uphill bushwhack to Mud Lake, a tiny puddle hardly worth of the "lake" moniker. "Mud" would probably be accurate in a warmer season.

After the decision to skip the additional bushwhack to the cliffs, we decided to cross the Mud Lake outlet here, rather than dealing with that dicey log crossing again further downstream. We tiptoed across the questionable ice, if that's possible on snowshoes, and safely got to the other side. Then we bushwhacked down the west side of the outlet until we rejoined the Chase Lake Trail we'd come in on before it crossed the outlet. From there, it was a fast trip out to the cars on a packed trail.

Back at the cars, our party of 12 was joined by a party of 13 from the new ADK Foothills Chapter, who had also gone to Chase Lake this day. It was odd to see that much traffic at the end of this dead-end road seemingly in the middle of nowhere.

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