I met Kelly in Piseco last night and we left her car at the trailhead, then went and stayed at a hotel in Saratoga Springs for the night. We woke up early this morning, had breakfast, and then drove the 45 minutes to Northville to get started.
The 138.6-mile Northville Placid Trail starts at Waterfront Park right in town, then there’s a 3.4-mile road walk before you enter the woods. The road walk used to be much longer but they rerouted some of the way into the woods in 2013 and 2015. Most of the roads weren’t busy and there was good signage at intersections. One couple even pulled over and offered us a ride when we were barely started but I want to hike the whole trail, roads and all. Still, we were happy to get in the woods onto nice, soft trail in the Shaker Mountain Wild Forest.
The woods were mostly open all day, to the point that without the trail markers, I might not be able to tell where the trail is. It looks almost exactly like the rest of the forest floor so it felt like we were just zigzagging around the woods randomly. The trail is very well marked with blue NPT markers though.
We stopped for a snack at Mud Lake a few miles in. It was a beautiful spot and had some trees with changing leaves on the other side. Although there have been plenty of leaves down on the trail (some brown, some colorful), we are still mostly surrounded by green. I hope that as I get farther north, that starts to change.
After a few more miles we came to West Stony Creek. This is the one water crossing I had heard about where you have to ford. I am always optimistic that things like this will be rock-hoppable, but this one definitely wasn’t. I don’t know if the water level ever goes down low enough that it is. The problem is it’s 80′ wide. Supposedly they will build a bridge here in the “near future.”
Kelly and I rolled our pants up above our knees and I started in. The water didn’t look too deep but the level changed with the rocks I was going over and it did get above my knees here and there. The water did have some push to it and the rocks were slick so I took my time crossing. Luckily the rocks weren’t so large that I had to step on the big slick ones. I could wedge my feet in next to smaller ones for a solid stance.
The crossing felt like it took a long time but was probably no more than five minutes. I reached the other side and turned to wait for Kelly. She also made it without incident so we went up the little spur trail right there to the new West Stony Creek Lean-to. There we took off our wet shoes, wrung out our socks, and had lunch while our feet air dried. But then, of course, the wet stuff had to go back on as we started hiking again.
We crossed Benson Road into Silver Lake Wilderness, accidentally took a different trail for a quarter mile before realizing, then backtracked to the NPT. In my defense, the side trail wasn’t on my map, so I hadn’t been on the lookout for a junction. Going back, it was very obvious.
We were slowing down at this point and Kelly was feeling sore so we decided to stop early for the night. We found a good campsite off trail not too far from a creek, set up our tents, then went back to the trail to cook dinner, brush our teeth, and hang our food bags.
It was suddenly very dark in the woods just at 7:00 so we turned in to get a good night’s sleep and an early start tomorrow. I think we hiked about 15 miles today. It was such a beautiful day: high somewhere in the 60s, sunny for the most part, and a nice cool breeze all day. It’s nice to be on rolling dirt trail after the rocky and rooty peakbagging I’ve been doing all summer. This trail won’t go over a single summit.