After a great 4th of July, we packed up and hoped we would get a ride from one of our Raquette Lake friends to the Trailhead down Big Moose Road. Minutes after posting this request on Facebook, our friend Laurie offered to drive!!
Our hike today was going to be a short 3.5 miles to the Queer Lake Lean to. Along the way, we met a family of 4 Australians who had spent the last 3 days at the Lean To and told us the Lean To Caretaker, Jim, was there and that he had a lot of rules. They told us if you really want a great spot and a bit of solitude, then bushwack to the peninsula past the lean to where you will find an amazing camping spot on the point. “Bush whacking”, for those of you that are not hikers is when you wander through the woods without an established trail to follow.
And they were soooo right. It was an amazing campsite!! The next morning, we woke up, had coffee and packed up. When we passed the lean to, we saw that the caretaker was still there so we continued on the trail. The trail was very pleasant, we stopped at Chub Lake for some lunch. (Cheese nips and tuna) took our bouts off and soaked our feet.
I decided to put on my head phones and listen to a podcast as the bugs were starting to buzz a little too much in my ears. I was in my own little world hiking when I hear Greg yell, “LORRAINE!! BEAR!!!!” And right there in front of me, maybe 25 feet ahead, on the trail is a bear!! Greg’s yelling, thank fully scared him off and he went running away. Greg had called my name twice when he first saw it, he thought at first it was a pot bellied pig so he wasn’t that alarmed. Lol. Then when he realized it was a bear, that’s when he yelled!! At that point I took out the headphones and the bugs got continuously worse as did the condition of the trail.
There was every kind of fly imaginable!! Deer flies, horse flies, black flies!! It was the worst possible scenario!! And on top of that we couldn’t find a clearing anywhere to setup a campsite, so we had no choice but to keep hiking! Between the bugs and the horrible trail conditions, I nearly almost had a mental breakdown. I just threw off my pack and said I can’t possible go any further. They just keep biting me and biting me. THEY WONT STOP BITING ME!!! Greg talked me off the ledge and offered me his big heavy raincoat. The flies couldn’t bite thru that!! However, it was so hot and humid out that I immediately starting sweating which of course attracted even more flies. At one point there was like 50 flies just circling me. But at least they weren’t biting anymore. That solves that problem, but still the trail conditions were horrible and we needed a place to sleep. 8 miles later, we finally found a tiny piece of land and set up our tent and hammock.
Tonight’s dinner would be protein bars as the bugs are the worst we have ever seen! The sun is setting and we’ll have an early bed time tonite. I hope tomorrow is a better day.
We woke up at 8 am and started packing up our stuff as fast as we could before the bugs realized what we we were up to! We ate a breakfast bar and got back on the most horrible trail know to man kind. This time we were heading straight up West Mountain. It was only a mile up, we figured, how bad could it be? It was bad, very very bad!! We had to cross numerous bogs, and had a tough time even knowing whether we were on the trail or not. Greg said it was like “guided bushwhacking.” Thank God for the trail markers or we would still be out there. We did finally arrive at the top. Had some lunch and took a nice break.
From what we heard, the other side of the Mountain was much better maintained and that’s putting it midly!! It was very well kept!!!
Thank God! Anyway, we hiked another 3 miles and are currently camping at the Sucker Brook Bay camping area. What an amazing spot this is!! We had dinner on the beach. And our view is unbelievable!! We saw an otter family chirping at one another. It was so cute. We also heard some Coyotes nearby. (Not so cute)
It stormed in the morning which kept us in our tent till around 10. Then the sun came out. We had a nice fire, kept the bugs at bay. When our stuff was dry, we packed our packs and headed on the trail. At that moment, the thunder roared and the down pour began. It rained pretty much until we got to Brown Tract Road. From there we walked into town and had some lunch at the TapRoom. Then continued on home. I am currently sitting in the lazy boy with ice on my “cankle!” A bug got me good there and it’s quite swollen. All in all, we did 21 miles. About 6 of them were horrendous, so I guess it was a good hike after all.