Paddling Thirteenth Lake

I put in another work weekend at our camp in North River.  It’s not really work to me — stacking firewood and improving our trails — it’s exactly what I want to do with my free time in summer.

paddling-Thirteenth-Lake

I actually daydream about cabin projects from my desk at work. Six million acres of opportunity for adventure all around, and I’m completely content on just a handful of hectares.

But Thirteenth Lake is practically in our backyard. Big and beautiful and right there, the lake is hard for us to ignore. After working on the Red Trail for the better part of the day we drove to the boat launch and put in. Even on a gray day the lake is a special place.

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Shanty Cliffs, NY

If you go west on Route 8 out of Wevertown NY, about five miles past the Eleventh Mountain trailhead, you’ll find a parking area near the confluence of Shanty Brook and the East Branch of the Sacandaga River.

Shanty-Cliffs-NY

From there you can catch nice glimpse of Shanty Cliffs and begin hiking toward the outcrop that hovers 700 feet above the road. This past weekend I was with former DEC forest ranger Steve Ovitt, looking for a hike that would let us enjoy the peaking foliage.

We started by walking down to the river for some easy, beautiful views. Then we set off up the west side of Shanty Brook.

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Hooper Garnet Mine, NY

Garnet mining is an important part of the history of the Gore Mountain region. And, right in our neighborhood, is an old abandoned garnet mine; the Hooper Mine on Garnet Hill.

Hooper Garnet Mine in North River NY

The garnet from this area was (and is) prized for the way it fractures, making it very valuable for abrasives like sandpaper. In 1878 the Barton family began mining on the backside of Gore Mountain.

Twenty years later Frank Hooper started his mining operation near Balm of Gilead Mountain.  Hooper’s mine wasn’t as rich as Barton’s, but to some extent, he made up for it with ingenuity.

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