Encounter: Old Growth Cedar Stand

we enter the old growth stand of cedars along Colden Lake

the high peaks: the Adirondack Mountains – New York State US, some years ago. Friday afternoon we hiked into Marcy Dam with gear and supplies for the long weekend and set up camp. Now on Sunday our second full day we were again on foot this time to Colden Lake. Some of us would climb Mt Colden. Others round the lake and return. I was one of the latter. 

The previous day we hiked Mount Marcy – the highest mountain in the High Peaks – the entire State for that matter. Yes, I thought I was in hiking shape but the up and then down (equally as difficult) of one High Peak was enough for the weekend – I speak for myself.

An early morning start. We followed the route to Lake Colden from the southwest. Starting from the Marcy Dam Lean-Tos, we head southwest through Avalanche Pass, past Avalanche Lake on the west shore, traversed the connection to and reached Lake Colden. We hiked the east shore of the Lake to the trail split – one trail going up Colden Mountain, the other to round the Lake. 

You already know which group I was with.

Colden Lake at 2764 feet, sits in the heart of the High Peaks of New York State’s Adirondack Forest Preserve. A small lake at 41 acres. It sits in the heart of the area – accessible only by foot. The south end – the Flowed Lands – has lean-toes and camp sites. Also accessible only by foot. 

Park Forest Rangers have an interior outpost on the west shore. 

One memory from the day stays even these many years distant. Just past the trail split (see map that follows) we passed through a stand of old growth cedar trees. 

We entered another world. The needles on the trees and the carpet of them under foot gave an eerie silence to the place. The air is full of cedar scent. Here the air, the trail low to the water, is cool and damp on the skin. The low hanging branches on the narrow trail brushed up against us. The deep green of the needles and the thickness of the branches darken the air. 
The smell – sight – sound – touch – feel of this encounter with the stand of old growth cedar trees remains with me even as I write.

I give thanks for this wonderous encounter with Mother Nature.


The Adirondacks are part of the largest boreal forest in the world. The Adirondack Mountains make up the southern part of the Eastern forest- boreal transition eco-region – a temperate forest region that extends into Maine and eastern Canada. https://visitadirondacks.com/about/adirondack-park

Hike to the Past – Mason Lake

3 of our several Hikes in Jessup River Wild Forest – The Adirondack Forest Preserve – MARKED

set of images on my Flickr account are available
click here to view them

Sunday afternoon brother-in-law Rich led me into the Jessup River Wild Forest around Mason Lake.  Rich was a man on a mission. He sought the campsite of a previous bushwhack. On the trail and when questioned, he was last there in 1985. Let me figure this out. That was twenty-seven years ago, right?

“I’ll remember it when I see it.”

“I think this is the trail.”
(Well it is a deer trail but do they travel to the campsite?)

“That tree looks familiar.”

It seemed like forever. But we did reach the site – verified by the debris covered remains of the fire-pit. And Rich’s vision verified by exact placement: “this is where we washed dishes;” tents erected “here, and there.” I did draw the line at locating the latrine pits.

It was fun for me to share in Rich’s excitement. I enjoyed his stories of previous trips to the Mason Lake area. And yes, I took pictures of the forest and “things” in the forest as we walked to and fro the campsite.

Plus, the walk helped me greatly in my quest to regain my core body strength.

Jessup River Wild Forest is a defined part of the New York State’s Adirondack Forest Preserve.

What follows is from the Internet – website place and text below:

The Jessup River Wild Forest area consists of 47,350 acres of State Forest Preserve lands in the towns of Arietta, Indian Lake, Lake Pleasant, and Wells in Hamilton County. This Wild Forest is bounded by NY 28 to the north and NY 30 in the southeast, as well as three wilderness areas: West Canada Lakes Wilderness to the west; Siamese Ponds Wilderness to the east, and Silver Lake Wilderness to the south.

The state lands in Jessup River Wild Forest border, or are in close proximity to, the communities of Indian Lake, Piseco, Speculator and Wells. NY 30 bisects Jessup River Wild Forest and serves as the main access corridor.

Many people enjoy hiking to the fire towers on Pillsbury and Snowy Mountains, snowmobiling between Piseco Lake and Indian Lake, canoeing on Fall Stream, or camping on Mason Lake. Hunting, fishing, and trapping are also popular activities throughout Jessup River Wild Forest particularly in and around Perkins Clearing, the Jessup River and the Miami River.