Friday, October 1, I picked Bob up and we drove to the Pillsbury Mountain trailhead, where we parked and backpacked into Sampson Lake, one of our favorite spots.  We got started hiking about 10, after chatting with a couple of fellows from Barneveld at the Sled Harbor parking "lot" - which is more of an abandoned gravel pit.  They were going to hike to the Pillsbury Mountain fire tower.

We stopped for a very short break at the Pillsbury Lake lean-to, where we had spent a night in 2001, just to remember.  The lake still looked as dead as it seemed to be in 2001.  And still very pretty.

Then we continued on to Sampson Lake, and found the lean-to unoccupied.  The last couple of miles were tough hiking, very mucky and hard going.  Especially with my 51 pounds of brand new Gregory Palisade pack and its contents.  I was pretty dehydrated when I got to the lean-to, as the strenuous climb of over 700' on a beautiful, sunny and comfortable but somewhat humid day really sweated the water out.

I washed out my gaiters, pants trousers and washed off my boots on arrival, then hung everything I had worn to dry.  It was sunny and warm with a nice breeze.  Everything dried in a couple of hours.

Bob filtered water while I boiled some for lunch.  Then we went to the rock for a bath.  The water was so cold I could only get in to my waist.  But Mr. Manly Man Bob Brenner got in to his neck.  The water was so cold that any submerged part was completely numb after a few minutes.

After that we went back to the lean-to and a nap overcame us.  I got up after a few minutes and started procuring a large supply of firewood.  I figured we could either have a fire Friday night or Saturday night, but since the forecast was for rain Saturday, we needed to gather the wood and keep it dry.  I put lots under the lean-to and piled lots more up by the fire pit.  Bob woke up a few times, but fell back to sleep every time.  By dark, I was done foraging and lit the fire.  I watched it for a while, then decided to go to sleep.  We both slept through the night.

On Saturday, we woke to the gloomy day that had been predicted.  After breakfast, we broke and sawed up the firewood and got some more.  We piled it under the lean-to, and next to the fire pit, then covered it with my siltarp.  Bob was down at the rock watching the mist roll in and I was eating a snack when the first cloudburst rolled through.  He came running back to the lean-to, and told how the roll cloud moved right across the lake from the west like a sheet of water.  We cooked lunch and spent the afternoon in the lean-to watching it rain off and on.  I think there was another significant nap, but I can't be sure, because I was asleep at the time.

We cooked supper and hung out, listening to the loons and watching it drizzle.  Just as dark was becoming complete, I saw a light in the west.  I thought some hunters were jacklighting the area.  We went down to the rock, and saw that the clouds were broken, the sky clear, and the light was a small strip of sunset at the horizon.

Bob got the fire going and we enjoyed it for a couple of hours.  Then we passed out.  During the night a brook broke out under our lean-to.  Bob woke me up at 2, asking me if I heard it.  I did.  It ran for several hours, then stopped.  While we were up, we heard a single, long, loud dog howl.  We think it was a dog.

In the morning, it was in the 30s, but clear and sunny.  We had breakfast and packed.  Neither of us wanted to leave.  On the way back we explored an old logging camp site and their trash pile.  They used lots of Lestoil, and lots of beer.  It was a beautiful day to hike out, and we made better time.  The net 700' descent granted us a half hour - we made it out in less than 3 hours, where the trek in took 3 and 1/2.

On the way home we tried to get a meal in Speculator, but the biker population was out in force and all the restaurants were jammed.  We stopped in Lake Pleasant at Swifty's and had what we could get.  Then south to Utica and West to home.

The Polar S625X heart rate monitor charts for heart rate and altitude versus time are also shown below. There is a 700' climb going in, and the hike took 3.5 hours, with average heart rate 112.  The same hike coming out, with a 700' descent, took only 3 hours, with average heart rate 101.  That's 23520 beats going in and only 18180 coming out - a difference of 5340 beats.  And they say I have too much time on my hands!

2004 October 1-3 Sampson Lake