Mohawk Valley Alpiners Hiking Club

located in the Central Mohawk Valley of Upstate New York

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Twitchell Lake Paddle/Hike

Posted by kathy miles on May 7, 2017 at 12:15 AM

Trip Report – Twitchell Lake Paddle / LaBastille Hike

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Event #1098

Leader: Scott Healy

8 members and 1 guest attending

After starting off with a very crisp morning, Mother Nature decided to bless us with a beautiful, sunny and warm day! We gathered at the Eagle Bay Visitor Center briefly, to make sure we had everyone, and then set off down the bumpy and windy Big Moose Road. Another turn up Twitchell Road brought us to the DEC boat launch on Twitchell Lake, which was pretty much empty this time of year.

We launched our crafts into the blue water of the lake, noting that for all of us this was our first time paddling for the year, though for some it wasn't the earliest they had ever paddled. Winds were calm, and almost immediately we saw a Great Blue Heron fly into one of the magnificent pines along the lake shore.

As we guided our crafts up the lake, a pair of Loons graced us with their presence. They would keep us company the rest of the day with their beautiful calls, echoing through the Twichell Lake valley.

After a little over a mile of paddling, we reached the dock at the former property of Anne LaBastille, famous author, whose estate had donated her Twitchell Lake property to the State. We checked out the site where her cabin once stood, which was painstakingly disassembled and has been reconstructed at the "Adirondack Experience: The Museum On Blue Mountain Lake" (formerly the "Adirondack Museum"). 

We then began our short half-mile hike, along Little Birch Pond (where some of us saw a beaver swimming around), and checked out Anne's "Little Birch Cabin", which she used in her later years for writing, and being able to fax her writings from. The not-so-obvious trail continued through about every variation of Adirondack woods, winding its way over some still snow covered ground, and finally ended at the "Thoreau II" cabin, which was also called "West of the Wind". Anne had built this far-removed cabin to escape the noise of the lake while writing, as well as hide from any obsessive fans who figured out where her property was (in her books she didn't reveal the exact location, though some fans figured it out). We also took in the view across Lilypad Ponds, and tried to figure out the species of two birds that were on the water at the far end of the lake. 

A return hike brought us back to Twitchell Lake, and Anne's old cabin site, where we started a fire, cooked some hot-dogs, and munched down on various yummy snacks. Scott blew his Conch shell, which used to belong to Anne LaBastille, and then we toasted Anne with a communion of Irish Cream. Throughout our lunch, warblers and loons serenaded us with their songs. 

Two more short jaunts took us to two lean-to's that were on the shoreline, on either side of the cabin site. Then we got back into our boats, and did some exploring further up the lake, as well as a scoping out of the various camps along the shoreline. A lot of the camps here incorporate the "Covey" style of architecture, which is named after Earl Covey, who built the Twitchell Inn, as well as the Big Moose Chapel.

Finally, we headed back to the boat launch. We paddled against a stiff breeze at times, but most didn't care, because the day was so perfect, especially for late April! Satisfied with a full day of hiking and paddling, we loaded up our gear, and drove the long ride back to our houses, the spirit of the day remaining with us all. 

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