We are getting all set for the first springtime paddle ofthe season. We are getting boats out of storage and moving the winter gear to the back of the garage. Springtime can be chilly in the Adirondacks but trees are starting to bud and the ice has melted off of most ponds. We are in the market for a few kayaks to get out into the Adirondack lakes and rivers but for the moment are satisfied with the canoes we have. Sometimes these transitions take more time than we hope so we leave the yard looking like a tag sale and look for different opportunities to get out into nature.
One area we always enjoy is part of the Adirondack Mountain Club's 640-acre Heart Lake property dubbed the "finest square mile." The Adirondack Mountain Club's property is a main trailhead to many of the Adirondack High Peaks, it also is a great place to explore. (There is a fee for parking.) The Heart Lake loop is an easy 1-mile walk. Check in at the gate and follow directions to the parking area. The High Peaks Information Center (HPIC) allows us a chance to get an area map and use the facilities. There is also a small shop in case you have forgotten any essentials.
We follow the blue trail markers, keeping the lake to our right. Once again, I am the caboose of this family train. My son runs ahead to join his father and sister, but he always comes back to check on my progress. We pass lean-tos to explore, plank bridges, and an old ski slope. Turn right at the park bench on the ski slope. We pretend the fallen leaves are the water and the path is the riverbed. We can only walk on rocks and roots or "risk" being swept into the lake.
At the trail junction, turn right to proceed to the Nature Museum. The museum is closed for the season but there is still valuable information available there. Bring a few quarters so if you take a brochure you can leave the requested donation. The Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) is a member-driven organization that is committed to stewardship, environmental education, and the protection of New York State lands and waters.
We end the loop at the Adirondack Loj and rest at a bench overlooking the lake, enjoying a crisp spring day. Now we can get back to the house, research kayaks and get the boats ready for paddling season.
From Lake Placid take 73E toward Keene for about 3 miles, turn right on Adirondack Loj Road and drive for 5 miles. The Adirondack Loj and Heart Lake is located at the end of the road.
all photos and content © Diane Chase, an excerpt from Diane's guidebooks. Diane Chase is the author of Adirondack Family Time: Tri-Lakes & High Peaks: Your Four-Season Guide to Over 300 Activiities (with GPS Coordinates), covering the towns of Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake, Keene/Keene Valley, Jay/Upper Jay and Wilmington. Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Time guidebook series and co-owner of the the young adult wilderness adventure program, Adirondack Outdoor Expeditions.