Saturday, June 24, 2006

My Calf's Pen Adventure on Lake George

I'm going to label this entry under the "hiking" category because it certainly turned out to be more of a hike than I had expected. 
    I had been planning to head up to Lake George down Shelving Rock Road to Log Bay and then hike along the shore to Calf's Pen with Emily after work.  Calf's Pen is a popular local cliff
Cimg4019 jumping spot on Lake George.  I'm not even sure how it was formed, but it is basically a crack in a cliff face on the side of the lake that is nearly 200 feet deep straight down.  It is about 30 feet
wide and you have to jump over brush and branches (see pic of drunk guy about to jump from upper level.. look at what he has to jump over) when jumping from the highest levels.  It is a staircase of jumping options leading up from lake level to about 55 feet.  There is also a tree at the top that can be climbed and jumped from which is about 70+ feet.  I did that years ago and it ripped the hair out of my legs when I hit so I decided not to this time. 
    At work I asked if Kate and Keturah wanted to join us and after some persuading they agreed and
Cimg4017drove up with Emily and I at around 6pm from Saratoga.  We made it to Log Bay down the trail from the parking lot at around 7pm and I thought we would only have a short 15 minute walk along the shore but it was a lot longer than I had remembered and turned out to be about 45 minutes of walking with the girls in flip flops who weren't happy about it...(see map on right).   I should have remembered to tell them to wear sneakers for the walk.  At one point Emily almost slid into the lake!!!  I felt really bad but we finally made it to the cliffs and after the sweaty walk we were all ready to jump in.
    After some coaxing I was able to get the girls to jump from about 25 feet off the lower levels
into the very refreshing lake (60 degrees I'm guessing).  A bunch of drunk guys from NYC on

vacation in a boat showed up to jump with us and were nice enough to give us a ride back to log bay.  I swam our towels, cell phones and my camera over to the boat above my head so they wouldn't get wet for the girls.  We had a windy cold ride back as the sun set over the mountains to Log Bay. 
    We thanked the guys a bunch for the lift down the lake and I exclaimed, "wow, that worked out perfectly", to which Keturah then responded, "Jon, where is my green bag?".... SHIT!... I simply said, "girls, keys are in emily's bag, wait for me in the truck" and as I started running I yelled, "this is what I do..".
    I was wearing my kayaking sandals and was in a full run down the eastern shore of lake george in the remnants of daylight knowing that I had to make it to the cliffs and back before I wasn't able to see anything.  The sun had set and I didn't have any form of light with me so time was running out.  I made it back to the cliffs in about 15 minutes and frantically searched for her green bag.  I finally found something in the dark that looked like a rock with buttons and thankfully it turned out to be her camoflage colored green bag.  I crunched it up in my hands and began to run.  At this point it became nearly impossibly hard to find the trail in front of me and I was purposefully lifting my legs and feet high in the air while running so as not to trip on the hidden roots and rocks.  Suddenly I slipped and found myself sliding down a rock face towards the lake but was able to grab a root and arrest myself.  I could feel that my leg had fallen on something sharp and my shin was bashed but I had no time to look at it.  While on our way to the cliffs earlier we had come across a large crack in the shore about 25 feet deep and about 6 or 7 feet across that we had to walk around.  Well, on the way back running in the dark I could barely make it out in front of me.  The sun was well gone by now and there was no moonlight yet because the moon was behind the mountains over my right shoulder still so the ground quickly became invisible in front of me.  I barely noticed the pitch black hole in front of me before reaching it was able to lunge over the crevasse in the earth to the other side barely making it.  Yes, I was nervous without light, proper footware, being alone, and running down a trail I was unfamiliar with but damn it felt like something out of an action movie... haha.  That's when a wire across the trail caught me by the throat and body slammed me into the earth... that one hurt a bit.  We had crossed under it earlier in the light and I had forgotten about it. 
    10 minutes later at a slightly slower pace because nothing was visible now I found myself back at Log Bay and began to follow what I believed was the road back to the truck... wrong... I ended up going up a river towards Buck Mountain... I stopped, realized I had to backtrack, fell down a ravine into the river, gave up and decided to just wade down the river to Log Bay where I finally met the bridge that I was supposed to be at and the trail back to the truck.  The phone rang and it was Kate.  She said that her, Emily and Keturah had just made it back to the truck after having gotten lost trying to make it back up from Log Bay.  They had apparently taken the only wrong turn possible from the lake and had to back track a little bit.  They were in flip flops and were moving at a slower pace so it took them a little time to find the truck.  I told them I was a little lost and couldn't see a thing but would be with them soon.  The cell phone came in handy the rest of the way as a light in front of me so I could atleast see an open path in front of me through the dark shadows of the trees which I knew was the trail.  The girls kept my truck lights on so I could find my way back to the truck which helped. 
    So, I wasn't planning on a trail running adventure in the dark but I got one and I was able to retrieve Keturah's bag, car keys, and cell phone as well.  My leg has a chunk out of it now and my calves look like a cat attacked them with all the scratches.  I think the girls must think I'm crazy but I know they were grateful that I was back ok.  The whole sprint back to Calf's Pen, searching for her bag, and then back to the truck took me about 40-45 minutes and I was back at the truck and driving out at 10:15 in the pitch black of night in the mountains.  We saw a few deer on the way out as well as an owl that almost hit my windshield.  I told the girls that I was running I could hear large animals such as deer running out of my way but I couldn't see them of course in the darkness. 
    On the way in to the cliffs earlier Kate had mentioned that it would be an "adventure".  She was certainly right.  Next time we will go with sneakers and earlier and with a headlamp for saftey.  I'm still a bit sore today from the run but am glad that I have another crazy story to tell.. hahaha.  And take a look at the sunset we saw from the cliffs of beautiful Lake George!

    After we got back to where Keturah had left her car at Exti 20, Kate Emily and I headed back to Saratoga.  Kate stayed in for the night but Emily and I ended up going out for drinks with Mike until 3am and then back to her place until the sun came up.  I slept in until 11:30 today and still feel like I need more sleep after yesterday's adventure..


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