I did get in one backpacking trip in while in the Adirondacks. I had kept delaying the trip in the hope of the leaves changing, but finally I realized that it was not going to happen and that if I wanted to get I trip in I needed to do it now. So after loading up the pack I headed out to the Adirondack Lodge and hit the trail, it felt great to be out walking under a backpack again and in the mountains. There were very few people out on the trail and I didn’t see anyone until I started getting close to Avalanche Lake. The trail that takes you along the lakeside while amusing with a day pack on was a little bit more challenging with a full pack, with more than a few ladders and a little gymnastics involved. You can see from the photograph below that the sides of the lake are a little steep.
Not too far past Avalanche Lake is Lake Colden and I got really lucky that there were some nice looking clouds that appeared just for a few minutes before dissipating.
Finally as evening was setting in I made it to the location I had been trying to reach all day - Hanging Spear Falls. I have always wanted to make it here but the falls are kind of in the middle of nowhere and I had never fit it into one of the trips before, this time I decided to remedy that. The trail that leads past the falls was pretty overgrown and the guide book I was using was not all that specific on exactly where the falls were located, so I ended up being a little confused. In defense of the book and the trail: there is a small cairn of stones on the side if the trail and even a small brown sign that said "Falls" nailed to a tree about 8 feet up. In my defense: by this time I was a little tired, the side trail to the falls is located along a steep rocky decline and the last thing I was doing at this time was looking up in the trees. My final excuse is there are several major unnamed falls above Hanging Spear Falls so identifying the exact location was challenging.
After determining I had overshot the location of the waterfall. I decided to parallel the stream back up hill to the waterfall location, which sounds completely logical on paper but the reality was a very steep, very rocky and very overgrown section - it is called the Opalescent Gorge and basically not a lot of fun but after walking all this way I was determined to find the waterfall. After about 15-20 minutes of struggling up hill I saw two gentlemen a short distance ahead of me and the waterfall behind them. The gentlemen of course were looking at me like I was retarded; after I explained what I was doing and they asked me “didn’t you see the cairn of stones?”
The two guys were from Rome, NY and do a lot of hiking in the Adirondacks. We talked for a while before they had to head out and it was a pretty nice ending to and pleasant day. After taking a few photographs of the falls the light was starting to fade so I decided to set up camp, rather than walk back up to where I had planned to camp, so I could catch the early morning light.
I didn’t know about this before the trip but here is a video of two crazy guys that basically followed the same route I took and then kayaked down the Opalescent Gorge:
Kayaking the Hanging Spear Waterfall - Headwaters of the Hudson
I hope you found this interesting. Please feel free to leave any thoughts, questions or comments that you might have.