View Full Version : Northville-Placid Trail Advice/Comments?

08-16-2005, 15:31
In two weeks, I'll be starting a thru-hike of the N-P Trail; or maybe I should say
I'll be 'attempting' a thru-hike. Don't want to tempt fate (or the 'convex-lens
affect' as my daughter calls it) too much. So who's been there, done that?
Any comments on best shelters, worst sections, best places to eat in Long Lake?
Anything special to see or great places to eat in Lake Placid? Anything
at all? I've got plans to hit the ADK Museum the Saturday of the Rustic Fair,
and I've heard Hoss's in Long Lake is a good place to eat. Other than that,
I've got nothin' folks. So speak up.
~~eArThworm <http://trailjournals.com/earthworm>

08-16-2005, 16:48
eArThworm, the ADK Museum is perhaps my favorite museum on the planet. Plan to spend at least half a day there. You can also climb to the fire tower atop Blue Mountain in the same day. The N-P Trail doesn't climb too many high points as I recall.

Have a blast! The Adirondacks are SWEET!

08-16-2005, 16:54
Well, I have done a few day hikes on the NLP trail. Hope to thru-hike it in the near future. In fact, I considered snow shoeing it last winter.

From what I know of the trail, it stays mostly low, near lakes, and is relatively level. Trail is cleared and blazed or otherwise obvious. Shouldn't be too hard to follow.

I'll listen to others about places to eat in Long Lake. We went to the birding festival out there in May, so that's about all that I know of the town.

Adirondack Museum is excellent. Certainly worth spending at least 1/2 day there.

Hammock Hanger
08-16-2005, 16:56
In two weeks, I'll be starting a thru-hike of the N-P Trail; or maybe I should say
I'll be 'attempting' a thru-hike. Don't want to tempt fate (or the 'convex-lens
affect' as my daughter calls it) too much. So who's been there, done that?
Any comments on best shelters, worst sections, best places to eat in Long Lake?
Anything special to see or great places to eat in Lake Placid? Anything
at all? I've got plans to hit the ADK Museum the Saturday of the Rustic Fair,
and I've heard Hoss's in Long Lake is a good place to eat. Other than that,
I've got nothin' folks. So speak up.
~~eArThworm <http://trailjournals.com/earthworm>Hey eArThworm glad to hear you are getting out on the trails... I did this trail a few years ago and planned to do it again next year. It is a great trail rather easy if you compare it to others. Blue Mt is your biggest ascent. Getting food or resupply can be rather difficult. (We buried our food at the half3way mark on N28.) You will pass one PO but it is within the first couple of days. Unless you plan on hitchhiking there really isn't much around the NPT. Lots of great lakes to swim in so bring a suit (or go al' natural :)).

Hoss' is definatle worth the hitch up the road, if no ride comes it is a short enough walk. There is also a Stewarts there for short re-supply. The is a great ice cream place across the road from Hoss'. - The Museum near Blue Mt is a great hands on place. - Once you reach Lake Placid if you like Mexican food try Luna Loca in the new Price Shopper Plaza at the town line between Saranac Lake and LP. If you are looking for a nice sorta fancy place there is the Boathouse on the far side of Mirror Lake (opposite side of the tourist strip).

Unless the trail has changed there is a 7 mile road walk... :( The little campground just before the road walk I can't remember the name has a great shower if you are willing to go stand in a culvert near the bridge.

I did this hike in early September and it was a great time, few other hikers on the trail most nights we had the shelters to ourselves and only used our tents once.

If you have the opportunity stay at Duck Hole. ENJOY and please let me know how it was for you. Sue/HH PS: The LP Trailhead is only 15 minutes from the summer camp I worked at.

08-16-2005, 21:21
I used to live in Lake Placid. You might want to check these things out:

1. Olympic Center Ice Arena, Main Street. THE hockey game, USA v. USSR was played here. They have ice all year round. The big pile of "real snow" in the front of the Center is ice shavings from the Zamboni.

2. Swim and kayak Mirror Lake, in downtown Lake Placid. I think you can rent kayaks from EMS on Main Street.

3. Chairlift ride almost to the top of Whiteface Mt. in Wilmington, about 7 miles from Lake Placid. Or you can hike to the top from Connery Pond, an all day thigh-burner of about 14 miles round trip with about 6,000 feet total ascent and descent. Or you can drive up the Memorial Highway. Whiteface is one of the 46 High Peaks in the Adirondacks.

4. The High Peaks are easily accessible from the Adirondack Mt. Club property which includes the Adirondack Loj, just outside of Lake Placid. Many mountains to climb including Mt. Marcy, highest mt. in NY at 5,344 ft. Hang your food well in the High Peaks, the bears are plentiful, clever and accustomed to eating human food. The state is thinking of making bear canisters mandatory.

5. Olympic Ski Jump complex. Jumpers train all year long and land in a pool during the summer.

6. John Brown's Farm, just a hop, skip and a jump from the jumps, pun intended.

7. Eat and drink at the Cottage at the Mirror Lake Inn. The dining room at the Inn itself has fine, but pricey food. No cheap AYCE here!

8. Get a massage at The Lily Pad on Main Street just down the hill from the speed skating oval, which is located next to the Olympic Center.

9. There are so many good places to eat that it's hard to describe them all but you might want to try the Charcoal Pit for good steaks.

10. Tourist info is available from the Chamber of Commerce, located in the front of the Olympic Center.

Enjoy! Lake Placid is a great village.

08-16-2005, 21:41
Make sure you get the guide book. It is old (1994) but the trail is remarkably stable and maps are accurate.

Best resupply are mail drops at Piseco and Long Lake. Blue Mtn Village is also a possibility for a mail drop, if you are going to do the ADK Museum mid-hike.

Piseco has a post office, no real stores (only a general store) and tow places of lodging. A motel off the trail, and an Inn almost on the trail.

The Irondequoit Inn is extremely hiker friendly. It is about 300 yards past the post office. They will accept packages which may be a good idea. The Piseco Post Office is closed during the middle of the day. $55. for a single room and full breakfast the next morning and a ride to the trailhead.


Jodie and Craig run the place. Can't say enough nice about them. Call them at (518) 548-5500 or (888) 497-0350. You won't need a reservation mid-week.

Blue Mtn Lake Village has very little except the museum. The town is about three miles west on Rte 28, and the museum about a mile north of the town. If you have a vehicle, I'd recommend coming back to do it and not try to include it as part of the hike. Where the trail crosses Rte 28 Lake Durant Campground has sites and showers.

Long Lake has plenty to eat, lots of places to stay, not so much shopping. A food mail drop here is a good idea. The town is aobut a mile and a half from the trail road crossing. (You follow the road a mile and a half, then you can see at a right hand turn at the lake that the town is to the right. However, the post office is straight ahead just over the hill. Save soem steps and get your mail drop before heading into town.

Lake Placid has everything: motels, restaurants, fast food. There is an excellent BBQ joint, Tail of the Pup I think it is called.

The trail as people have said does not involve a lot of climbing and there is plenty of water. Too much, if it rains a couple days. Lots of loons and coyotes making night music.

Two major road walks. About three miles near Piseco and about 7 miles near Wakely Dam. About three miles from northern trailhead to Lake Placid, about 10 miles fromNorthville to southern trailhead in Upper Benson.

Hammock Hanger
08-17-2005, 07:33
Lake Placid has everything: motels, restaurants, fast food. There is an excellent BBQ joint, Tail of the Pup I think it is called.
Ahh yes, Tale O' the Pup!!! My veghead down fall. After 10 years of being a veg I ordered baby back ribs... mmmmm

Lots of great info here but don't stress out to much remember the trail is not that long one resuppply should get you from end to end.

08-17-2005, 07:43
New regulations for the High Peaks area include manditory bear canisters. Too often bears got into bear bags.

However, the NLP trail only skirts the High Peaks area, so you probably don't need a canister along this trail.

08-17-2005, 18:19
My husband and I "thru-hiked" the NLP Trail in September, 1977. It was a wonderful hike and we saw a bear in the last mile of the trail! We resupplied in Blue Mt. Lake and stayed overnight at a great place, and of course the name escapes me! The museum is the best one we have ever visited. DO NOT pass it up! Surely eateries have changed by now so can't help you on that. The West Canada Creek Hilton shelter sticks in my mind as a fun place to stay...I guess because of the fun people there that night! We took our boots off at many places for creek crossings since we did not want to get our all-leather boots wet. There was a huge amount of beaver activity in some areas and some places were flooded due to them...some due to the rain every day! Have a great trip. It is a great hike.

C'est La Vie
08-17-2005, 23:11
We hiked from Lake Placid to Long Lake 7 years ago. I remember good camping and refreshing swimming along Cold river and especially Duck Hole. The bear activity was mostly in the High Peaks where most of the people and therefore food was concentrated. Hope to do the whole trail someday. Have a great time.

08-18-2005, 11:19
Thurhiked it once in '92 and again in '95 along with maintianing several lean-tos on a feeder trail and many dayhikes on parts of the trail. It is a lowland trail with only one highpoint between Tirrell Pond and Long Lake. You won;t go over Blue Mountain unless you get off the trail.
ditto on the museum in Blue Mountain Village

I used maildrops at Piseco and Long Lake Village and it worked great. If you get to Piseco and the PO is closed, there is a small airfield just before the PO with some woods off to one side - makes a nice camping spot until the next morning - It is very quiet and no one comes down there and you can probably still get water from the airport building spigot.

If you would like an excel spreadsheet of all the mileage points in a section by section layout of the trail to help with your planning, please PM me with an e-mail address. I can also send out the ADK 1992 write-up of "Death on the NLP - The David Boomhower Story" which might give you some insight.

10-07-2005, 20:35
There is an article in todays NY Times about the trail. Here tis:

October 7, 2005
Following a Hermit's Footsteps
A TUNNEL-LIKE opening into the woods, covered by a mostly coniferous canopy and dappled in fall with red and yellow hues of leaves from intermingled hardwoods, heralds the deep forest at the beginning of the northern section of the Northville-Placid Trail in the Adirondacks. The trail is one of several routes into the wildly beautiful Cold River country in the High Peaks Wilderness, an upstate New York area remote enough that it might well be the haunts of a hermit.

In fact, it was. Along the trail, deep in the woods, is the place once inhabited by Noah John Rondeau, the self-styled "mayor of Cold River City, population 1." A colorful, emblematic Adirondack figure, Rondeau lived alone on a bluff above the river for part of each year from 1914 until 1929, and then year-round from 1929 until a hurricane blew down a swath of the surrounding forest in November 1950.

Resentful of low wages and long hours in various jobs in upstate New York and in Vermont, he had taken to the woods in his early 30's and hunkered down to a modified hunter-gatherer's existence in the state forest preserve. "Man is forever a stranger and alone," he once said, according to an account by a fellow woodsman named Richard Smith. But Rondeau was no poet. His next comment, Mr. Smith said, was that he liked crowds best "going the other way."

When Rondeau first colonized his bluff, the Adirondack forest, designated "forever wild" only 20 years earlier, was just beginning its recovery from intensive logging in the mid-1800's. By the time he left, at age 67, for a more domestic existence in Saranac Lake and other towns, nature was resurgent.

Today, his last cabin, 8 feet by 12 feet and with a stovepipe protruding from its bark-and-tarpaper roof, is a popular exhibit in the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake, N.Y., where two lumberjacks took it in 1959. On a recording there, Rondeau speaks of "them wonderful mountains" in a singsong voice. But a hike into the mountains where the cabin once stood, topped by trailless peaks and threaded with chilly streams, remains an introduction to the glories of the backcountry and an enduring glimpse at the relationship between wilderness and solitude.

The trip begins when you shoulder a pack at a state parking lot east of the town of Long Lake. When I went this past summer, Toni Varnum, a friend who lives in the Adirondacks, accompanied me for the first mile as a kind of local well-wishing gesture. We talked about Rondeau and about a theme in Taoist Chinese poetry, dating back to at least the Tang Dynasty of the eighth century, of "going to see the hermit and not finding him there." What is found instead, the poetry implies, is insight into one's own relationship with the landscape.

Armed with an indispensable Adirondack Mountain Club guidebook, we descended to the marshy Polliwog Pond. Throaty bullfrogs croaked as we crossed a plank pathway. To the left was Long Lake. The flavor of the first portion of the journey was clear: following the shore of the lake and fording the shallow streams, creeks and rills that gurgle their way into it after draining the hills. At a spot called Catlin Bay, Toni turned back and I continued alone.

A merganser duck skittered away in a small cove. Punky downed white birch logs lay at the feet of their living siblings, as birch logs have for millenniums, replenishing the forest floor. In another spot, a cluster of large uprooted trees look like apparitions to a weary hiker, probably the result of a microburst, or straight-line storm, that strafed the area in 1995.

In the wilderness, powers of observation seem heightened. The forest was denser here, and the scent of balsam fir tantalizing. A mink, with its peculiar running hop, scurried across the outskirts of a classic bog, around which the top of a beaver dam furnished a path. A tea-tinted stream, colored by tannins leached from coniferous trees, ran from the foot of the bog.

I made camp at Plumley's Point, just short of eight miles into the walk, where the state Department of Environmental Conservation maintains two lean-tos. Hikers taking the entire trail, which ends near Lake Placid, can roll out sleeping pads here to an eerie moonlight serenade by loons. Or this can be a base camp for shorter sorties into the Cold River country. Another explorer, the only one I would see on my hike to Rondeau's haunt (though there were plenty of boats on the lake), was encamped there, too; we chatted about trails and equipment, and went our separate ways in the morning.

The trail veered away from Long Lake and entered wilder country. The path cut in a half-circle around a formidable vly, or swamp, and headed toward Shattuck Clearing, a kind of intersection of the woods that Rondeau, the hermit, knew intimately. Soon a bridge crossed the Cold River, tumbling out of the mountains. I had reached Rondeau country.

A considerable lore is associated with the Adirondacks; American Indians, soldiers of the French and Indian War and the American Revolution, lumberjacks, wealthy owners of Gilded Age Great Camps, hunters, writers and artists all figure in the narrative. And then there are the hermits.

What drew Rondeau to the hermit life? And what drew another man, Louis Seymour, known as Adirondack French Louie, to a similar stint of solitary trapping life in the West Canada Lakes section of the Adirondacks? Why do hermits, fixtures of spiritual tradition in some cultures, misfits in others, find their way to empty spots on the map?

Rondeau's biographer, Maitland C. DeSormo, found a partial explanation for Rondeau's behavior in the deep affinity for north woods life exhibited by his ancestors, French-Canadian migrants to the Adirondacks. Rondeau's existence revolved around trapping and guiding (he met customers through Daniel Emmett, an Abenaki Indian guide whose clientele included at least one member of the Rockefeller family); a diet mostly of trout, wild game and greens; and a resourceful method of dwelling in two cabins and several wooden wigwams constructed so that they later provided firewood. Like many other loners, he was also a writer of diaries. And he kept Thoreau on his bookshelf.

Rondeau, all 5 feet 2 inches of him, was fiercely independent and had a few run-ins with the state Conservation Department. But he did not fit the stereotype of a sullen loner. He welcomed friends and certain hiking groups and even played a fiddle for his guests and gave them haircuts.

The world learned about Rondeau in 1947, when the Conservation Department, after dropping him a note from the air, picked him up by helicopter and flew him to a sportsmen's show in New York. As Mr. DeSormo describes it, the department's idea was to show him off to demonstrate the wild character of the forest preserve. Rondeau played the part willingly, appearing in a muskrat hat and taking along his snowshoes and a buckskin suit. In an era of clean-shaven men, he had a long beard. He was a guest on a popular radio show and was, after a fashion, the toast of the town, signing autographs, meeting movie stars and being photographed for newsreels. Later he returned to the city several times.

After the 1950 storm, the aging Rondeau left the hermit life for good. He died in Lake Placid in 1967.

As the trail nears the spot that was Rondeau's home, it follows an old fire road along the Cold River, opening to mountain views and passing Millers Falls, a rugged, rock-lined spot with a natural swimming hole, about 14 miles by foot trail from the nearest road or village.

The hermitage site was 2.7 miles farther. The descendants of Rondeau's forest neighbors are still fond of the small clearing: two ruffed grouse took off with a powerful drumbeat of wings, a rabbit scurried away and a chipmunk dashed for cover. All that marked the place were a weather-beaten sign tersely identifying it as Rondeau's home; a plaque with whimsical, anonymous verse ("Here dwelt Noah Rondeau, a hermit some say, year upon year, day after day," it began); and some rusted cans.

At the Adirondack Museum, most visitors stop to listen as Rondeau says, in an excerpt of the recording of a 1959 radio interview, that the mountains are "rough and hard places to stay," and then adds, "They're beautiful, you know."

Miles away on the trail, his quiet clearing is a place to stop and reflect. No, the hermit is not there. Nor did he make any grand philosophical statements about nature from his Cold River stronghold, the way Thoreau did at Walden Pond and John Muir did in his California mountains. And Rondeau was not a holy man, in the way that is generally understood.

But his independent stance in an increasingly commercialized society was a link to a concept of wilderness that was later embodied in words of the federal Wilderness Act of 1964 - a place where "man himself is a visitor who does not remain."

Hammock Hanger
10-07-2005, 20:46
I have a few pic of HIS place in the woods. Thanks for sharing the article.

I hope to re-hike this trail next summer.