Basin & Saddleback 10/30, With Lessons Learned

Posted on November 9, 2011 at 8:34 pm by Mr P

Basin Benchmark

I left Schroon Lake about 4:15, hit the Garden and was on the trail by 5:15, headlamp on low. I made JBL by first light. Just a dusting of snow overnight, but by the time I was half way up Shorey Shortcut I got out the microspikes, and left them on until I was half way down the Ore Bed Brook trail. I hit the intersection with the range trail by 11:15, with the sun blazing and a beautiful blue sky, and thought I might make lunch on Basin.

Two hours later I was on the summit (just .7 mi!). I had read a few trip reports and knew that it was a tough climb, but there was just enough snow and ice to make for slow going. I tend to take it pretty easy when hiking solo, slow and steady wins the race. After enjoying the views and taking some pictures, and pushed on.

Down the other side was a bit exposed and windy, got down and started up Saddleback without much difficulty, although there were a few steep spots. Cresting the ridge, noticing a bit of a dip and then down into the next col, I thought to myself, wow, that was very uneventful, I didn’t even see a summit marker. I started looking for the Ore Bed intersection.

As I started back up, I thought I was going up Gothics, and thought I had missed the intersection. So, of course, here is the first lesson. I should have done more research, and know what to expect. About half way up I turned back to check for the intersection, thinking I’d missed it. After getting across the col and heading back up with no sign of the intersection, I came back down and headed back toward what I thought was Gothics, carefully looking for the intersection I was sure I’d missed.

Basin Panorama

Panorama looking toward Marcy from the summit of Basin.

I headed back up what was actually Saddleback peak, and wow, it was hairy. Just enough snow and ice to hide the hand holds, I got about half way up the rock face and stopped. I had convinced myself that this was Gothics, and I didn’t think I had it in me to run the rest of the range to get back to the garden. That’s when I made the first phone call. Left a message at DEC Ranger HQ (wasn’t carrying the dispatcher number), then called my girlfriend. I wasn’t sure I could make it over, and really didn’t think I should, so I considered going back into the col and try bushwhacking down the valley to find the Ore Bed trail. I was pretty uneasy about this plan, so I was really calling to let someone know about the change of plans in case something went awry.

I got back into the col, checked the map and took a compass bearing. I turned the phone back on, and I had a message from DEC dispatch. I called back and explained my situation, where I thought I was, what I was looking for, that I was prepared to spend the night if needed, but really preferred not to if I didn’t have to. After talking for a few minutes Ranger Burns helped me figure out that I was in the saddle of Saddleback (do you see the cables on Gothics? no. ) and I needed to go over to get to Ore Bed, or back over Basin the way I came in. Remembering the climb up Basin, I knew I didn’t want to go back down that way. I also was feeling like a bit of a dumba$$ for not knowing where I was, so I decided to give what I now knew was Saddleback another try. It was 4:30 by this point, and I had killed almost two hours dinking around looking for trail that wasn’t there.

I was more motivated this time, knowing that this was the shortest route out. and the trip that I’d planned. I made the summit by 5:30, not without a little missing skin on my knees and elbows. It was a tough climb. I could see where this would be fun on a dry sunny day, but given the patchy ice, and snow/ice filled hand and foot holds, it was a real challenge. The second lesson was really knowing that I’d pushed myself farther than I had in the past, and a bit past my comfort zone.

I called Ranger Burns and my girlfriend back from the summit, explained that I’d made it up and was going out the way I’d planned, and promised to call both back when I got out. I got my headlamp back out, had a couple granola bars and headed down. This time the Ore Bed intersection was easy to find.

The re-routes on the Ore Bed were a bit challenging in the dark, but fortunately there were footprints in the snow from a group that had been through earlier in the day. The new slide was really awe inspiring, even (especially?) in the dark. I lost the trail briefly just past the ADK property line, but picked it up again near one of the cabins. The rest of the walk out was uneventful, and got back to the garden just before midnight.

I knew that this trip was going to be one of the hardest I’d done since I got back into hiking a few years ago. I wasn’t worried about a long day, I’m not fast but I can go all day. But I now have a better idea of my limits, and I know that I pushed them pretty hard. I should have been a bit more aware of the conditions. There was more ice than I was expecting, and while prepared for basic climbing, I probably wasn’t prepared to do the scrambling required on Saddleback. Which leads me to being better informed about the trail. I should have been better prepared for that scramble, but I had also convinced myself I was someplace I wasn’t. So convinced I was that I almost started bushwhacking to get out. That would have been a bad decision that time of day with snow on the pines. I’ll store that one off for next time.

Thanks to Ranger Burns for not calling me a dumba$$ while I was up there, but he and all y’all are welcome to now.
Post Script
Here’s the link to this trip report on the ADKHighPeaks forum, and the resulting discussion.

Smoked Turkey for Thanksgiving? Yes please!

Posted on October 21, 2011 at 12:27 am by Mr P

As much as we don’t like mushing all the holidays together, there is something to be said for getting a head start on the turkey ordering for this year.  Especially since we want to be able to offer a variety of sizes from a variety of suppliers so you can get the bird that is right for you.  We’ve been harassing our vendors for the last few months in anticipation of smoking up some fresh birds; our first shipment will be here next week – let the recipe testing commence! 

In addition to supplying our customers with juicy smoked turkeys, we’ve put together a real smorgasbord of salads, side dishes, potatoes, desserts, even four different types of cranberry sauces to choose from.  As with our regular menu items, everything will be made from scratch and of course, gluten-free.  If you have any other special dietary requests like dairy-free, sugar-free, etc., please let us know – most of our recipes can be modified very easily. 

Here are your choices for smoked birds:

Bone-in Turkey Breast
Whole Bird, Fresh
Whole Bird, Adirondack raised, fresh, organic  
Whole Bird, Previously Frozen

We have a variety of sizes to choose from, email Shelby and she’ll give you the run down on price per pound, available sizes and ordering deadlines. 

You might not want to cook at all for the holiday, so let us do it!  You can mix and match from any of the following menu items, all hand-crafted and freshly prepared in our Schroon Lake kitchen.  No drooling on the screen! 


Smoked Salmon Filet (yes, it’s back for the holiday)
Fresh Vegetable Crudites
Smoked Sausage Stuffed Mushroom Caps
Herbed Zucchini Spirals
Cranberry and Walnut Baked Brie

Salads and Sides

Classic Garden Salad
Waldorf Salad
Blue Cheese Cole Slaw
Roasted Carrots & Parsnips with Balsamic Glaze
Hazelnut Green Beans
Warm Brussels Sprout Salad
Roasted Cauliflower with Parmesan Asparagus


Cornbread Stuffing with Andouille Sausage
Spinach and Portobello Stuffing
Traditional Sage Stuffing
Cranberry Fennel Stuffing


Rosemary Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Mr. P’s Special Mash with carmelized onions, bacon and blue cheese
Classic Mashed Potatoes
Whipped Sweet Potatoes


Lemon Thyme Cranberry Sauce
Cranberry Orange Chutney
Chipotle Cranberry Sauce
Roasted Cranberries with Candied Walnuts


Honeyed Cornbread
Sweet Potato Biscuits
Classic Dinner Rolls
Corn Spoon Bread
Sourdough Rolls
Herbed Bread Sticks

Pies (9 inch)

Sweet Potato
Sweet Potato and Pecan
Caramel Apple and Walnut
Cherry Cobbler

Cakes (single layer cakes; check with Shelby for additional sizes & prices)

Classic Cheesecake
Pumpkin Cheesecake
Chocolate Hazelnut Cake
Red Velvet Cake
Tiramisu Cake

Here’s the fine print: 

Because we will be ordering and preparing a bird just for you, we won’t be able to accept any changes or cancellations to your turkey order.  A 50% deposit will be required to secure your bird.  When they’re gone, they’re gone!  Give us a call at the restaurant or email Shelby to place your order.  If you’re looking to host a non-traditional dinner, all of our menu items are available for catering as well.   And, finally, if you have something in mind but can’t find it anywhere, give us a shout, we might be able to track it down. 

Happy Early Thanksgiving to all! 



Skylight via Upper Works 10/3

Posted on October 14, 2011 at 9:34 pm by Mr P

We had a larger trip planned for Sunday & Monday but we let the forecast scare us off Saturday night. After seeing that we didn’t get the inch of rain Sunday I decided ~4:00 Sunday afternoon to go in to try to salvage the trip and try to get Skylight & Gray on Monday. 

I got to Upper Works and the Calamity Brook trailhead and was on the trail by 7:30 PM, headlamp blazing and shooting for a lean-to Lake Colden. My first time on this trail, it was wet and rocky, but easy to follow in the dark. I got a little turned around and stumbled onto the monument, but easily found the trail again from there. I hit the Calamity Brook lean-to about 10:30 and decided to stay there.

Up at first light, had breakfast and had a look around in the light. Clear blue sky and watched the sun come over Flowed Lands while filling up on water for the day.

I left my overnight gear in the lean-to and headed out with my day pack. On the way in to Lake Colden and the dam there was lots of evidence of Irene and significant water, but the trail was clear of blowdown the whole way (all the way to Skylight, actually). The dam showed evidence of being topped and all the loose fill in the cribbing on the S/W side was scoured out, leaving just the large rocks. Pressing on to Lake Tear I took my time to look around and take some pictures, my first time up this route. While climbing, the clouds moved in but the rain held off.

I made four corners by 12:30 and had some lunch before going up Skylight. I spend about a half hour on the summit, exploring, all to myself. The two guys I met at four corners were already up and down, on their way to Marcy. The clouds were blowing through the col with Marcy, but lifted for about 15 minutes, enough to get views of Marcy & Haystack. Colden, Algonquin and the rest to the north looked like they were clearer. Absolutely spectacular, even on a cloudy day. Cool to find this benchmark from Colvin’s original survey, too.

I made it back down to four corners by 2:00, my turnaround time, so I wouldn’t be getting Gray. Started to sprinkle on the way down, but nothing heavy. The trail was already wet, so it didn’t make a big difference.

Got back to the Calamity Brook lean-to by 6:15 to get my gear. Had some dinner and packed up for the hike out, back on the trail by 6:45. Dusk, headlamp on again. I was hoping to see a bit of the trail in the daylight, but not this time. Three hour slog out in the dark and the rain, generally uneventful. In the car by 10:00 and back home in Schroon Lake by 11:00, an hour before Shelby was going to let herself start to worry about me .


Second dates and chili cook-offs

Posted on October 2, 2011 at 8:37 pm by Chef Shelby

I posted the chili question on our Facebook page yesterday: what makes a good chili? It reads like the opinions on chili are as varied as the opinions on barbecue, everything thinks their favorite is the “right” way, everyone has their own secret ingredients and their cloak-and-dagger method to assembling all the components. 

So we have an informal chili battle simmering at Mr. P’s…


Mr. P made a batch of his award winning chili last night, and admittedly toned down the spice factor a bit so we could put it on the menu.  In this corner, Mr. P’s chili with stew beef, ground beef, Italian sausage, black beans, roasted tomatoes, corn, green and red peppers, onions and his signature spice mixture.

This morning, I went and gathered a bunch of hearty veggies to make my own batch of vegetarian chili, almost ready to be served.  In the other corner, my vegetarian chili with grilled eggplant, butternut squash, chickpeas, dark kidney beans, green and red peppers, onions, tomatoes, and a slightly milder spice mixture.

Given my assumption the carnivores vastly outnumber the vegetarians around here, I’m not prepared to lay down any type of challenge as to whose chili is better (aka more popular.) I still think it would be a blast to put together a chili cook-off of some sort, maybe as a fund-raiser for a charity? Thinking about something after the first of the year, when it’s nice and cold out and everyone is looking for an excuse to get together over some steaming crocks of their fav bowl of chili.  Anyone interested? 

ps – Mr. P & Shelby trivia…. our second date (hope I’m right about the number) was a chili cook off for charity.  :-)