Submitted by guest blogger Susan Repko
As soon as I see the morning light in the summer, I start thinking about how to spend the entire day outside. After months of gray and cold, Adirondackers go into overdrive during this time of the year. I feel a need to make up for lost time by squeezing in as many activities as possible.
I start with coffee on the porch and ask my husband the daily question, “So what do you want to do today”? Then I steer the discussion to what I have in mind. Recently we decided to take a hike to Gull Pond — the best little trail in Schroon Lake. I remember when my grandfather, an Adirondack guide, taught me how to track deer in the area and to respect the woods. He shared his love of nature and the mountains with me.
An easy trail
My husband and I are not serious hikers, but we have backpacked through the High Peaks in the past. Now we enjoy spending leisurely time in the woods along an easy trail. A trip to Gull Pond is a perfect nature experience in every season. It’s an easy half mile that takes the hiker on a journey to a scenic pond. I have a fear of getting lost in the woods, but there’s no worry there because the trail is well-worn and well-marked.
I grabbed the backpack from our mud room and threw it over a shoulder. It’s always ready-to-go with a first-aid kit, bug spray, matches, flint and steel, knife, cell phone, trail map, and even bear spray (not to worry). We packed the perfect lunch -- a couple of subs from DeCesare’s restaurant, kettle chips, trail mix with nuts and M&Ms, and bottles of water. I prefer wearing long, lightweight pants and hiking boots, although sneakers are fine on this trail. We were on our way as soon as Dottie, our dalmatian, leaped into the back seat. She knew there was an adventure ahead.
A trip to the natural world
The trail to Gull Pond may only be fifteen minutes from downtown Schroon Lake, but it’s a trip to another world. As you drive north on Route 9, you leave the village behind. Once you take a right on Alder Meadow Road, there may not be another car on the road. You pass wetlands that are surrounded by mountains and full of wildflowers, streams, and beaver dams. You take a right on East Shore Road and follow the lake to the trailhead which is located about three miles down on the left.
We were ready with bug spray and hats when the mosquitos realized that we had arrived. We grabbed our backpack and hiking poles and signed the register.
There’s something about the woods
As we left the parking lot, I felt welcomed by the quiet woods. There was a wonderful cool in the air as we started down the trail through dappled light. The scent of warm pine needles and the chatter of birds surrounded us. The trail was outlined by beautiful arrangements of ferns, berries, wild plants, and rocks, which all seemed to guide us as we trekked along. There was a sense of discovery as we walked quietly, listening for wildlife and looking for unusual wildflowers. Swallowtail butterflies flittered around and tempted me to chase them.
We crossed a bridge of cut logs over a marshy area and then the trail rose up to an area where light streamed through the trees. A quick walk up the pine-needled hill gave us a view of the pond below. We had this classic Adirondack place all to ourselves. The only sound was the flapping wings of a loon. We sat together on a log and enjoyed our lunch in this wild place.
I sensed that nature continues whether we are there or not. The next time you visit the hub of the Adirondacks, make sure to check out this trail or many of our other hikes in the region. Don't forge to find a place to refuel and lay your head after a long day of adventuring.