Unplanned Adventures in the Adirondacks

Do you ever have one of those days where you research and plan and have a grand idea in your head about what you are going to do and see—and then nothing goes as planned? That is how our first day exploring in the Adirondacks went, and even though it was not at all what we planned, we regrouped and had truly the most amazing day.

We left the camper shortly after 8, which immediately felt like a huge win considering the wrangling of Little Bird and Daisy and all the things for a day-long adventure. We had plans to head up to Lake Placid, walk around and get some lunch, then do an early afternoon hike. I had researched the walk around Mirror Lake in Lake Placid, I had found a family-friendly hike with great views, I felt like I had it together! As we are driving up into the mountains, we start passing trailhead after trailhead. And they are all PACKED. My heart sand more and more with every trailhead as I recalled every single post I read about the trail we had in mind for the afternoon—“great hike, but it gets busy!” If all of these trails were that busy, I knew without even getting to the trailhead what our planned hike was going to look like.

In a nonpandemic year, we tend to shy away from crowded places. As we pulled into the heart of Lake Placid, we immediately started looking for ways to get out of town. There were simply way too many people for our liking. Also, Little Bird was finally napping and waking her up to do something we knew was not going to pan out was absolutely out of the question. So, we scrapped all of our plans and started driving west.

I have always wanted to visit Lake Placid and see all of the Olympic training facilities and ride the gondola and everything. However, we never even considered these activities for this visit. While most people we have encountered in New York seem to be adhering to the face mask requirement, we have done our best to keep Little Bird out of places where masks are required. First, she is too young to wear a mask, and second, she is too young to understand why we need to wear them and thinks it is so fun to poke, pull, and play with them. I know we will all be wearing face masks for a lot longer than any of us want to admit, but I also want to shield Bird from that as much as possible. While we would love to see these sights, it simply was not worth the potential exposure for all of us.

As we made our way out of Lake Placid, we knew we needed to find a place to park to regroup. We ended up at small park on the bank of Tupper Lake. It was the perfect place to get a little walking in for both Daisy and Little Bird and eat some lunch. The lake was really pretty and there were so many monarch butterflies fluttering around the blossoming milkweed along the lake. Since I felt defeated in all my planning attempts, I handed the reigns to Will. He scoured the map for the most remote trailheads and came up with a plan.

After lunch, we packed back up and headed to Tahawus. Tahawus is a ghost town that was once the center of an iron ore mining operation in the early 1800s. There are old iron furnaces and remains of several homes along the road to the Upper Works trailhead where we started our hike. We only hiked for about 2 miles due to a muddy and rocky trail, which was hard on poor Daisy’s paws. However, we were able to hike to Henderson Lake and walked along the almost headwaters of the Hudson River (it technically starts a couple of miles further up the trail, but it was as close as we could get!). We also caught glimpses of Mt. Marcy and some of the other tallest peaks in the Adirondacks. Once we returned to the truck, we explored a few back roads and saw some of the vistas and mountain views we had hoped to see all day. Even though the day did not go as we had planned, we ended up having an amazing day. We know a lot of this coming year is going to be a lesson in “going with the flow,” and this adventure was no exception.

Tupper Lake
Butterflies at the Lake
Will, Little Bird, and Daisy at Henderson Lake
Taking it all in at Henderson Lake
Little Bird at Henderson Lake
Will and Little Bird along the Hudson
Bird enjoying the hike
Ruins at Tahawus

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