Lake George

Lake George
Lake George - from Tongue Mtn Range - 11/11/2011

Monday, February 1, 2016

XC Ski - Camp Bliss and Bum Pond - William C. Whitney Wilderness - 1/31/16

I'm not a happy camper when the the forecast calls for temperatures in the 40's in January.  Still, there was no reason not to go outdoors.  I brought my xc skis and snowshoes with me, not knowing what the day would bring.  I was determined to ski if possible.  I headed for the Long Lake area and settled on trying to ski the old Burn Road on the west side of Little Tupper Lake in the William C. Whitney Wilderness (National Geographic Trail #135 on the Old Forge/Oswegatchie map #745.

There was about a foot of snow on the ground.  The temperature was 25 when I left the house, but 38 by the time I got to the trailhead.  I put some fresh glide wax on my skis and started out.  The trail is an old woods road that still feels more like a woods road than a trail.  No one was parked at the trailhead, but there was an old ski  track from 3 days prior.  There was just a dusting of snow in the old track.  Even though it was warm, the skis still were moving OK.   If all went well, I'd go at least as far as Bum Pond.  The sun was making an appearance, but after an hour, clouds rolled in for good. 

Map at the kiosk.

The rules...

First stop, Bum Pond

Wide open old woods road 

This trail is very flat and would be classified as a novice level ski trail.  It would also be a good ski route for a full moon ski.

At the two mile mark, I saw a big number 2 hanging on a tree.  There were no more numbers after that.

Perhaps each mile had been numbered at one time. 

At the 2.5 mile mark was an old outhouse that had been painted (kind of a nice idea).  The door had a plexiglas top and wood frame bottom. 

Not your typical weathered board outhouse. 
There was only one significant tree down in the trail and that was at the 3 mile mark.  It was easy enough to ski off the trail and around it.

A typical scene along this trail.

Eventually I came to Charlie Pond stream; a significant water crossing at 4.0 miles.  No worries though, there was a very sturdy bridge in place with steel beams and new wooden deck.

The bridge at Charlie Pond Stream

After I crossed the bridge, I noticed that the old tracks I was following decided to call it quits.  The person that made those tracks was probably worn out from breaking trail.  I took over the trail breaking and pressed forward.  

I was moving slower now in the untracked snow.  I could tell it was getting warmer as well.  I was skiing with no jacket and no gloves.  Even the hat came off.

Next up was a trail junction at 4.7 miles.  The red disc trail from Sabattis Road ends at this junction. It becomes a blue disc trail going straight ahead, or a yellow disc trail by turning left towards Bum Pond.  I made the left and soon found that the yellow discs were almost non-existent.  No worries though, the woods road was still plain as day to follow. 

Perhaps a little water under the snow blanket here.

These signs have seen better days.

At 5.0 miles, I came to Bum Pond (as advertised by the trailhead sign).  Unfortunately with the snow on the ground, I couldn't get much of a vision for what the pond looks like. 

Bum Pond

Bum Pond (street view)!
At like point, I decided to plod forward to one last stop - Camp Bliss (on the southwest shore of Little Tupper Lake).  With an intriquing name like that, how could I not visit?  0.7 miles later, I skied upon a designated campsite at Camp Bliss.  It looked like a nice location.   I wonder if there was ever an old camp at this location that caused the name Camp Bliss?

Campsite at Camp Bliss

I went to the edge of Little Tupper and looked at the expanse of white on the snow covered lake. Once again it was hard to visual what this place would look like in the summertime.  

Sign by the lake, indicating the trail.

Little Tupper Lake
I was hoping that the return trip on skis would be a little faster, utilizing my fresh tracks on the exit. It wasn't to be though.  The temperature had continued to climb, so even though I was skiing in my own fresh track, the snow was getting softer and slower.  My legs were tired when I got back to the car. To my surprise, it was 46 degrees at 2 PM when I reached the large parking lot.

Ski Stats:
Ski Distance:  11.8 miles
Ski Time:  4 hours
Total Elevation Gain:  ~700'  

The route 

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