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