A year later, our Adirondack reporter Brian Mann set off on a 25-mile trek with his wife Susan to see Duck Hole, between Tupper Lake and Lake Placid -- one of the most remote and iconic places in the Park.
Duck Hole was hit hard by the storm. What was once a beautiful mountain pond is now a scarred landscape, marked by the ruins of the old dam. But the deep forests and river valleys feel as wild and vast as ever.
When she hears the itinerary, my wife Susan laughs and says, "I'm sort of glad it's flat. But we have beautiful weather. We just couldn't ask for better." By mid-afternoon, we've plunged into the deep forest. It's dense country, not many openings or vistas. But the path is criss-crossed with bright mountain streams, deep pools. "Beautiful with deciduous woods," Susan says. "A beautiful trail."
As the day wanes, we reach an extraordinary open bog, one of the first breaks in the tree canopy. The wind is blowing through the autumn grasses. Dragonflies bob over the tassels.
Susan points out great slabs of rock exposed by the low water: "That one looks like a splatter painting, with colors of rust and creamy white and gray. A lovely spot."
There are also spears of color in the trees, the first flashes of autumn color. But we hurry along because the day is waning and we're eager to make camp at duck hole.
Rain falls through the night, but the clouds part for a view of the full moon over Duck Hole. And the next morning dawns blue and clear.
Saturday morning we hike on, passing along the Northville Placid Trail through broad mountain valleys and clambering down through great fern meadows. Near Moose Pond, we find a gorgeous wetland that offers a rare wide view of mountains. One of the glories of this country is that it goes on and on and on. You get a feel of real scale, of wilderness that gives way to more wilderness.
When we reach the trailhead on the outskirts of Lake Placid. We're both weary and sore from schlepping our packs so far. I ask Susan if she wants to do it again next weekend. She laughs and says, "It's a date."