The Adirondacks: Part 5

Day 5: Lake Colden |1-2 miles

“There are few words to describe this moment – watching the sunset, bundling up in warmer clothing before dark, laying in our sleeping bags – writing by flash-light, listening to music from David’s iPad …

It’s been a pretty amazing day.

We slept in this morning… so grateful to wake up feeling partially refreshed and re-energized. Yesterday took its toll on us.

We. Are. Drained.

We had opted for a day of rest and relaxation here at Lake Colden, rather than hiking down into Panther Gorge and back out. One of my boots is falling apart, and Daddy says the hike is pretty intense – so believe me, I’m happy for some R&R!


It’s beautiful here – our leanto is by the river, with many other campsites along the numerous trails surrounding us. I have yet to figure out which trail leads to the dam because there seem to be quite a few paths that end up at different parts of the river… 😉

We made breakfast on the dam – instant oatmeal, orange tang, and tea. I had a square of dark chocolate for breakfast, that I saved from yesterday. That wins over instant oatmeal any day lol. 😀


Back at the lean-to, we journaled, or read from the lean-to journal – stories of the campers before us. Apparently some rangers came through here looking to take out a couple of bears that were attacking people and taking their food – LAST MONTH. Oh joy! I fell asleep and woke up sometime around noon. We ate snacks for lunch – beef stick and crackers. Someone suggested we take a short hike to Lake Opalescent. We must have looked pretty crazy … hobbling along the 1-2 miles through mud “rivers”, and over rocks and swamp logs – in our crocs and flip-flops.

The highlight of the day-hike had to be these lovely boards that lined the trail. Yay for staying dry and clean + not having to step on rocks or roots with our sore, tired feet!




Lake Opalescent was beautiful – open and surrounded by tall grasses and marsh … the perfect setting for bears. 🙂

I was seriously dragging. I could have cared less about anything but sleep. My feet were so sore. Today I learned that when Daddy says “moseying along” he actually means we’ll hike at our usual high-speed “let’s get there quickly!” pace. And that is pretty great … most of the time LOL!






Back at the leanto we decided to go swimming! Talk about a little “wake me up” or something to refresh, energize and SHOCK the body into motion! We threw on our wet things from the day before {gotta love that wet cold material on your skin from yesterday’s rain storm … just prior to jumping into a waterfall}. We were all pretty excited, it had been a long time since we went swimming on a backpacking trip!


We hiked up the trail to the cable bridge. Beth and I ventured in just out from the waterfall. I finally went all the way in and under the waterfall. WOW! You know when something’s so cold you never actually get used to it until you feel like your entire body is numb? The others were wise and only went in up to their waists. 🙂


After about 10 minutes we ran down the trail to the dam. Here the water was deliciously warm in comparison. One minor problem – the best way to get in? David thought he had a pretty smart plan and ventured in via the swamp. I followed and discovered that unless you have the capacity to leap as far as a 20 year old guy … you SINK. Yuck! Back out I came hanging onto Bethany – this time both of us girls opted to enter from the dam bridge. This was much more convenient. The only problem is that the water was so shallow that it never got deeper than 2 feet. The rocks were large and round and difficult to maneuver in crocs and flip-flops. I ended up sitting down and just soaking up the murky muddy {yeah, but warm!} water for a few minutes… meanwhile 2 men stopped by on the bridge to talk with Daddy.


Mid afternoon Bethy and I returned to dry off, change clothes, and play a game of Dutch Blitz. Just for the record, Stelzls always bring Dutch Blitz on backpacking trips. It’s a must have for those rainy evenings stuck in the tent … or for afternoons of absolutely nothing to do but sleep, swim, or journal.

We took naps – again. It took a little while for the cold damp feeling to go away.

At 5 we made dinner – chicken and mashed potatoes {all freeze dried – scary but surprisingly delicious!}. And of course hot chocolate works wonders on chilly nights!


It’s 7 now. We are dressed for bed, teeth brushed, food barrels packed away. I love moments like this at the end of the day when everything is finished, put in its proper place … and we can wind down. Daddy and Bethy are on the river and David is journaling also.

In closing, there has been a lot of discussion about food on this trip. At first David was the main culprit but now we have all succumbed to random conversations regarding pizza, ice cream, steak sandwiches, fresh salads, our favorite fruits … I think it would be insufficient to say that we are all VERY HUNGRY. It’s traumatic to think that someone left half of every lunch for this week in the cooler in the car. The end.”

Part 6


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