Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Easy Short Lake Placid Hikes: Adirondacks Wilmington Flume Trail System

The Flume Trail System is about eight miles of trails open to mountain biking, hiking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. The Flume parking lot is about 2 miles south from the town of Wilmington on Route 86 on the opposite side of the Ausable River from the Hungry Trout Restaurant. The majority of the trails are free and open to the public. This trail network does connect to Whiteface Ski Area, which does require a ticket.

Curses on that rain that wreaked havoc on the snow. I optimistically pack snowshoes hoping that the woods will still hold some of the white stuff. The children grab their own backpacks and fill each with the essentials. Flashlights, space blankets, first aid kits and gators are pulled from our winter kits. Then the games, stuffed animals and hardcover novels start being tucked around the sides. I remind them that we are just going for a bit of a walk, not winter camping. Once they realize they will be carrying their own packs, items start flying out faster than they went in. The end result is narrowed to lunch in one and water bottles in the other. Silently the children slide over the extra items in my direction, perhaps wishing I wouldn’t notice the extra weight.

We have only been to the Wilmington Wild Forest Trail System in the summer when the poison ivy warnings were enough to make us want to wrap ourselves in anti-contamination suits. Poison ivy can still produce an allergic reaction when dormant but we stay clear of the brush and head straight for the beaver dam. The ground has just a light dusting of snow so we abandon the idea of snowshoes and continue along on foot.

We encounter a gentleman who advises us to walk the Flume Loop. He agrees that snowshoes will be overkill. He claims to exceed our combined weight and he still easily walked on top of the ice pack. We follow the river for about a 1/4-mile along the River Trail before heading north on the Lower Whiteface Connector Trail. We can hear the water running below our feet, under the ice. We essentially circumnavigate the beaver pond in a 2-mile loop ending back at the parking lot. The tree cover is thick in places and at some points the ground is bare of snow. After the inconsistent weather it is a relief just to stretch our legs.

For us, it was a quick exploration that barely covers the backwoods. We will have to go again and this time with snowshoes on our feet.

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