Camping on Limekiln Lake

For those of you who don’t know I met my husband on Friday, July 13, 2012. That is a super fun story that I love to tell, but I am going to save that for another day. Instead, I really wanted to talk about the past two days we spent celebrating our third wedding anniversary.

Every year we try to take at least one little trip up to the Adirondacks. Past years we have gone to many different towns in the region, but we always try our hardest to go to Inlet for at least a few days, and particularly, we always stay at the Limekiln Lake campground. This area has a special place in my heart since I spent summers there as a kid. My grandparents had a little cottage on a dead end street right across from the lake. I would spend all day swimming or riding in a kayak with my grandpa or paddling around on a paddle boat with other kids who were visiting for the summer. In the evenings we would go fishing or have a bonfire and listen to the loons. It was a shared property between my grandma and her two sisters who, unfortunately, wanted to sell. So my summers, which were once filled with swimming and hiking, came to a crashing halt.

When I met Seth I talked so much about how I loved the mountains, and since he was an avid hiker in California he was very excited to conquer some of these trails. In 2014, after he moved to New York, I took him up there for the first time and we went on one of my favorite hikes, Black Bear Mountain. He had planned on proposing at the top but decided to wait because he was afraid it might get lost or ruined on the way up or down. It was really lucky that he changed his plan because it ended up pouring rain and I slipped into some mud on a slippery rock coming down, and surely my beautiful ring would have been caked with mud within half an hour of owning it. He did end up proposing later that evening, which is another reason this place is so special to us.

Our engagement story is another one of those funny look back and laugh at it scenarios, also for another time.

After our wedding we came back for our honey moon for a week, and sadly, until earlier this week, that was the last time we were there as the last few years we have gone to other regions camping with my parents.

So when we found out that Seth had 2 days off from work (and that he worked a late shift on the day we would be returning) we jumped at the opportunity. The plan was to keep things super simple, sandwiches, and things we could cook over the fire (like hot dogs!). We packed up the tent, our camp chairs, the canoe, and a sleeping mat (down mattress topper) with some blankets. We chose to forgo the air mattress because they always lose a little air over time; and honestly we couldn’t have been happier with that decision. I also packed a tiny duffel bag with a few pairs of clothes. This was so similar to the first camping trip we took together, a la our engagement.

One thing being married to my amazing husband has taught me, is that simple is beautiful. He has this ability to really enjoy the simple things in life, which I’m learning. So we drove the three hours and forty-three minutes to our campsite and set up our one tent, put our one cooler in the bear box, and rested the canoe at the shore. Once everything was unloaded we took off for our first hike of the mini getaway, another favorite of ours, Bald Mountain.

It was a humid eighty three degrees, not ideal hiking weather, but beautiful nonetheless. My favorite thing about this hike is that there are tons of places to stop along the way up with some really great views. It’s a really rocky trail, mostly going over boulders so I would not recommend it if there is a potential for it to be slippery. It is about a mile hike  to the 2,350 ft.  summit which has The Rondaxe Fire Tower that you can climb to get even better views. At the trail head, near the book where you sign in (always sign in, in case of emergency. It also helps DEC to collect data for funding and upkeep.) there is a sign that tells the history of the tower, which is pretty interesting.

After our Bald Mountain hike we were ready for a fire and some relaxing at our campsite. We even took the canoe out for a bit in the evening, because the view of the stars from the middle of a lake is always amazing! Unfortunately, it was a little cloudy so we didn’t get much of a view, but it was still so calming to look out over the still lake at dusk. When camping,w e always end up going to bed pretty early and waking up pretty early, unless we are with my parents.

See this article about how camping can help your sleep cycles!  http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/how-week-camping-resets-body-clock/

We woke up around five thirty the next morning to see the sun rise over the lake, but we fell back asleep for a few hours. Our plans for the day consisted of hiking Black Bear and taking the canoe across the lake to see my grandparents’ old cottage. Of course as soon as we began the drive toward the trail head it started to rain, luckily it was just a passing shower. The trail head for Black Bear is next to the trail head for Rocky Mountain, a hike we have yet to do. It starts out pretty generic, like most forest trails, be sure to bring bug spray! Eventually the trail splits in two, the yellow path and the blue path. We have taken both and I definitely prefer the blue. It is a little tougher with quite a few rock scrambles, but it’s the shorter of the two with a more worn trail. Keep in mind the blue trail is steep but only 1.9 miles while the more gradual yellow is 3.1.

I much prefer earth to water and it shows in my love of hiking. I would take a mountain house over a beach house any day. I always hear people saying they can’t hike because they are out of shape, overweight, old, etc.. But I have to say, there is no shame in stopping along the way. I am not in the best shape yet, but I show up and I push through. Bring a lot of water and some protein bars and stop whenever you need to. The views from the top are like nothing you can imagine, and seeing them in pictures can not compare to the real thing. I think that is what I love the most about climbing mountains, the reward at the top is so worth the hard work to get there.

After we got back from the hike and ate lunch we headed out onto the lake. We paddled easily over the calm lake clear to the opposite side of our site. As soon as I snapped a few photos to show my family it started sprinkling. Okay, I was wearing my bathing suit in anticipation of going swimming off of one of the islands, no big deal. We headed back toward our site and it began down pouring. Of course the wind was blowing toward us so there was a driving rain hitting my in the face. On top of that I had sunscreen on because it was sunny when we headed out, which was now running into my eyes. We paddled as fast as we could toward the nearest land, a small island to our right. As soon as we got our boat up on shore the rain stopped. The water was warm, think bath water temperature, and perfect for swimming. We swam for a few minutes before heading back to our “home” to dry off and go into town for the evening.

The closest town is Inlet and after the Old Forge. We went to both and looked around in the shops before stopping at the Northern Lights ice cream stand because when you find Perry’s ice cream away from home you better get some. This was also Seth’s compromise for not getting our favorite Pizza at the Scremen Eagle. If you are passing through or staying in the area definitely go there!

Our last day was coming to an end and we knew we had to leave pretty early so we packed up what we could and burnt the last of our firewood (always buy firewood in the area you’re staying, never transport it or you could be transporting harmful invasive species of bugs!). We spent a long while sitting on the shore of our site feeding the mother duck and ducklings that swam up on our beach, we even got some of them to eat out of our hands. Then we went to bed so we could get up early and finish tearing down before heading back to reality. Mother nature seemed to have other plans for us though. A few hours after we fell asleep I woke up to the people next to us yelling “go on! Get out of here! Get!” I nudged Seth awake and said “I think there’s a bear out there!” We lay there in silence for a few moments before hearing crashing through the brush, a loud splash, and saw a black bear barreling toward our tent. It veered off to the side and we listened to it sniffing around the side of our tent near our heads before it wandered in the other direction.

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I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep after that, not to mention all the people banging pots and pans together in every direction. So we packed up in the middle of the night and high tailed it out of there.

We definitely got our fill of nature in only two days, but it reminded me of how important it is to respect nature and wildlife. I would definitely encourage everyone to get outside and, at the very least, take a hike. Being in nature is so good for your body, your mind, and your relationship. Go have an adventure, and unplug for a while! You won’t regret it.

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