March 15 I hiked my first hike of 2003.

I planned to hike from Map M22 beginning East.  But Stoney Brook Road, where the trailhead and parking area are, is not plowed, and there was lots of snow.  I didn't think it was a good place on Cuyler Hill Road to park my car, so I decided to try the Fenby Glen trailhead, over on County Route 12.

But the same story there - lot not plowed, and the shoulders were way too soft to park on.  And fast traffic, so I decided to head into Lincklean (yes, that's the way they spell it) Center and try the Wood Road spot.

Wood Road is also not plowed, but I saw the trail signs on Paradise Hill Road.  I drove by looking for a spot to park.  I had gone by a plow turnaround with a big "no parking" sign, and a school bus turnaround, also no parking.  I saw a woman running with her dog, and pulled up as she stopped to make sure her dog didn't get hit.  She said it was all right to park at the trailhead so I turned around and parked.  I was putting my boots and gaiters on when she came running back up the hill.  I asked if she thought it was okay to park there overnight, and she said it wasn't.  She offered to let me park at her house down the hill and I decided I would.  So she said she'd meet me there.  I drove down to her house and she showed me where to park.  Her husband offered to give me a ride back to the trailhead, but it was only a little over half a mile, do I declined the ride and I thanked them.

I tied my show shoes and hiking poles on the back of my pack, and headed off about 3 p.m.  I got into the woods about 3:30, and immediately started post holing, in some places up to my hips.  After about 100 yards of that, I decided it was time to snow shoe.  So I hung my pack on a branch and adorned my show shoes and hiking poles.

What a difference!  No sinking in, and it wasn't nearly as hard as I remembered from several years ago.  I went right along, and would not have been wet at all if I'd started that way.  But being in the upper 40s, of course my gaiters and boots were soaked from all the sinking in when I started.

Eventually I got to the eastern junction with the Paradise Loop (J E PG LT on the map).  I decided to go on to the western junction and then head to the lean-to for the night.  I hadn't hiked very far, but I knew it would be dark around 6:30 and needed time to find water to cook supper with.

Soon I started up hill, up and up and up.  I was getting tired of that.  I started wondering if I had missed one of the junctions.  It was 4:21.  I decided I would hike up hill until 4:30, and if I didn't come across the junction, I would turn around and hike down into Paradise Glen from the junction I had noticed.  At 4:28 I looked up and there were the blue blazes marking the junction.

Getting down to the lean-to was a little tricky.  The trail descends about 200 feet, and skirts the gorge of a little stream that cut the glen.  So I was hiking down a steep grade in show shoes at the edge of a very steep drop off.  One place I had to cross the stream where there was a log bridge.  There was 30" of snow on the bridge and under that was ice.  So I needed to go down into the creek bed to cross it, but there were some logs down across it.  It was tricky, but between the snow shoes and the hiking poles I made it.     

Paradise Glen lean-to.  Fire pit in front, somewhere under that snow.  Some people left a lot of wood in the lean-to, and some papers.  I used the papers to sweep out one side to spread my bed.  Hey, that rhymes!

It was 4:50 when I got there, and set to work.  I shed my snow shoes and unpacked enough to get my cook pots.  With them I headed to the sound of running water.  I found a spot about 200 yards from the lean-to that I could fill my pots.  Of course, I was wading in snow up to my hips in places to get there and back.  I started up the stove and set the water to heating.  Then I hung my bear lines and cooked dinner.  Instant soup, coffee, chili macaroni with beef.  While that steeped I changed into dry clothes.  It was about 33º in the lean-to.

After supper I wrote in my journal and read a book.  I also made two more trips to the creek and filled my pots for morning.  It was about 31º.  By 6:30 it was getting dark, and I hung the food and trash up and got in bed - my Golite 40º bag and my 3/4 thermarest pad.  My toes were cold for a little while, but got warm.  I put a space blanket under the pad after a little while, more for a vapor barrier than anything else.

When I went out later to pee, I was surprised to see a really bright, nearly full moon.  It lit up the whole woods.  Later during the night I heard snowmobiles until after 2.  Dogs howling.  And what must have been an owl, or maybe a dream, that hooted and sounded like it was imitating the dogs howling.  It repeated the same song about 8 or 10 times.  Then I didn't hear it any more.  I decided it probably caught its dinner and wasn't singing with its mouth full.   Or maybe I fell back to sleep, who knows?  It was a little cold at first, and I thought that if it got too bad I could erect my bivy in the lean-to.  But after laying there a little while I was very warm all night.  It was 28º when I got up at 6:30.

I woke up to full daylight and got right to going.  I lit the stove and started heating the water I had fetched the night before.  Put on wet socks, wet boots and got the food bag and lines down.  Cooked oatmeal and coffee and packed up between eating and cooking and etc.  My feet got a little cold.  I hiked out in my night wear, since yesterday's hiking clothes were still wet.  I had one pair of dry socks, and they were the last things to go on.  Of course, they were only dry until they went into the wet boots.  Out I went.

This hike up and out was easier.  A level hike at first for a warm-up, then up to the main trail.  On the main trail heading southeast there were some nice views of the woods.


Across from the top of Paradise Hill, and open fields, and looking southeast, the horizon was overlapping hills.  Under the brilliant sun.


Back at the trailhead near the road the last thing I did before taking off the snowshoes, was to tip over and get completely buried in the melting snow, just to ensure that for the ride home I would be as soaked from the outside in as I was from the inside out.  Down the road to the car, and home by 9:30.

2003 March 15-16 FLT