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May 2005

Epicenter: The Scene In North Creek, New York

Hike, climb and fish the wild Adirondacks

©Map by IMA

Trailhead: 18T 0571190E 4839788N; Shelter: 18T 0564662E 4836192N; Chimney Mtn: 18T 0563690E 4838104N.

Unlike other towns within the friendly confines of Adirondack Park, North Creek doesn’t rely on Olympic venues or outlet shops to draw tourists. Everyone knows everyone else in this officially designated “hamlet,” home to a hodgepodge of residents as diverse as the venerable park’s patchwork of public and private lands. Nestled between the churning whitewater of the upper Hudson River and the unpretentious Gore Mountain ski area, this is Lake Placid without the Olympic crowds. So it’s fitting that when Pete Burns isn’t leading Class IV-plus rafting trips or coaching the high-school ski team, he heads off for his stash of solitude in the 112,000-acre Siamese Ponds Wilderness. Starting at the Old Farm Clearing trailhead at the end of Thirteenth Lake Road (NY 78), he treks 6 miles west to Puffer Pond, where a lean-to and fine brook-trout fishing await (see map). On day two, he leaves a basecamp and follows the King’s Flow Trail up to a majestic 2,721-foot perch atop Chimney Mountain–the last section an easy 5th-class climb. After scanning the wilderness from the peak’s exposed rock spire, Burns explores year-round ice caves, and afterward completes a 7-mile loop along Puffer Pond Brook Trail back to Puffer for another Adirondacks evening before heading out. Ah, the hardship.

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