perhaps it was the amount of time since our last backpack. perhaps it was the declining frequency of our gym visits. perhaps it was an over ambitious plan. perhaps it is the nature of aging. i don't recall when post-trip expectation switched from muscle aches to joint pain.
regardless, our backpacking trip was shortened by one day and one mountain peak. (poor skylight, we just keep shirking you! this time it was due to a trail-less behemoth named allen mountain-trip report to follow in a separate post).
we started from the upper works trailhead outside of newcomb on independence day. it's the first time we have hiked this trail in a few years and the re-routing caused by hurricane irene is obvious. the calamity brook trail, some of which is newly cut, now follows the north side of the brook for the beginning portion. one of my favorite suspension bridges was washed away. i feel fortunate to have gotten some pictures of it to refer back to.
we headed for a campsite off of flowed lands that is new to us and a bit out of the way. it turns out that the livingston point campsite was the highlight of the trip. livingston point is on the east shore of flowed lands, 0.6 miles from the junction of the calamity brook and hanging spear falls trails. it initially climbs up above flowed lands only to descend back to water level. it seemed clear that the trail and the camping areas saw much less use than other sites in the vicinity.
just prior to arriving at the camp area, we passed a fresh pile of bear scat in the trail. it seems this was nature's foreshadowing as that bear, apparently a mama with three cubs, visited our bear-proof food canisters early on the second morning of our adventure. our food was safe but our neighbors across flowed lands were not so lucky. we heard them banging pots and calling, 'hey bear' for quite some time around dusk. crossing paths with a DEC officer on the trail out, we learned that that group had left juice and cooking dishes out, a big no-no in the eastern high peaks.
we chose to take the campsite rather than the leanto due to its proximity to the water and also because of the view. much of the time not on the trail was spent staring out over flowed lands towards mt marshall, iroquois peak, algonquin and mt colden. there was orange hawkweed growing throughout the campsite. we were visited by all types of birds and a brave little chipmunk. there were also tons of little, tiny baby frogs hopping around.
no one else came through the livingston point camps the entire time we were there and the leanto remained vacant. we enjoyed two nights without the need for a rainfly, caught the sunset and saw the stars.
despite the aching hips and knees, we covered 27 miles and had one of the most memorable adirondack backpacks in recent memory.