A popular hike in the Adirondacks, NY: Silver Lake Bog Preserve

 

At the bluff overlooking Silver Lake, Silver Lake Bog Preserve, NY

John Muir:  “In wilderness lies the hope of the world.”

During the first week into our month long stay in the Adirondacks (New York) in April, my wife and I had hiked to the top of Mt. Jo and we absolutely loved it.  We were exhilarated, at times scared, but also had the time of our lives on that hike.

We did get lost on our way down, but it’s these trips that you tend to remember when you think back.  We were secretly hoping we could do more hikes in the Adirondacks after that first hike to Mt. Jo.

Our AirBnB rental provided a local magazine called “Adirondack Life”, which we got to read at our leisure.  In one of the magazine articles, I came upon one of the quintessential hikes to do in the Adirondacks, the Silver Lake Bog Preserve.

After our exhilarating hike to Mt. Jo, followed by our hike to Mt. Arab, the following week, we were totally excited to hike the Silver Lake Bog Preserve.  So, on a beautiful, sunny Monday, we took off to do some more hiking at Silver Lake Bog Preserve.

The ride to Silver Lake Bog Preserve would take about an hour drive from our rental at Tupper Lake.  We took us via NY 30, then NY 3 going east.  About 5 miles out, Google Maps had us turning right on Alder Brook Park Rd, which is technically a shortcut.

Alder Brook Park Rd is a non-paved, really more suitable for snowmobiles, or snowshoes, but not really for cars!  The first few hundred yards started out ok.  It was up until that point partially paved, and we had expected some dirt road getting there.

After few hundred yards, the road became rough, with potholes everywhere!  We quickly realized the road was not really suitable for cars!  We slowed down from about 30 miles per hour to as slow as 5 miles per hour.  There was no one living anywhere near the road, and it showed.  The ‘road’, if you call it that, was getting rougher by the mile, and we had to traverse about 3 miles of it!

We wondered what would happen if we got stuck on that road with a flat tire, out of gas, or worse.  Luckily, we had plenty of gas, but the thought crossed my mind as to what would happen if a wild animal came by to investigate while we’re changing the tire or something…

We’re no outdoorsy types!  We were brought up in New York City for most of our lives.  We lived in suburban areas in Pennsylvania, which was our idea of living in the country.  Our idea of outdoors is doing a hike that takes not more than 4 hours round trip.  If a black bear came by to say hi, we wouldn’t know what to do…

With all that negative thoughts going through our heads, we finally came out of that road, onto a paved road.  Yeah!!!  We were so happy to make it through that treacherous road in one piece, us and the car.

From that point on, the Silver Lake Bog Preserve was only about 4 miles up ahead.  We pulled into the small parking lot (has space for maybe 4-5 cars), then we started our hike.

At the entrance to the preserve 
Information about the trail
Parking lot at the preserve 

We read the information placards as soon as we made it inside the entrance.  We found out the boardwalk takes up 1/2 mile, followed by the dirt trail for another mile.  We were the only ones hiking that morning, and we felt great to be hiking again in the Adirondacks.

The boardwalk began immediately, and it was rather narrow, maybe about 4 feet across, wide enough for two people to just walk closely side by side.  On either side of the boardwalk was heavy foliage in a swamp/damp environment.  Air was incredibly refreshing and clean, and we took several deep lungful of air.  At first, we didn’t hear anything like insects or birds, which scared me.

I remember watching the movie Alien: Covenant, where a distant planet was infested with spores that kill everything is sight.  In that movie, a scene where the forest is eerily quiet with no sounds of living things, was really spooky.

The preserve reminded me of that.  Spooky!  To my relief, I did hear sounds of birds and insects shortly after we started our hike on the boardwalk.  

Crossing a creek!
Beautiful boardwalk!

We loved the boardwalk as usual.  It was so nice to see one in the Adirondacks, after hiking Mt. Jo and Mt. Arab, which had neither.  Thanks to the boardwalk, the initial half mile hike was super easy.  We didn’t break a sweat, and we covered the half mile walk in no time.

As soon as the boardwalk ended, the dirt trail began.  We knew most of the trail has about a 10 percent grade, so we weren’t too concerned after hiking the aforementioned two mountains above.  

We took our time just enjoying the hike, looking around, and smelling the forest.  Thanks to the rain few days prior, the trail was wet and muddy in spots.  We carefully planned where to set our feet, and hiked at a leisurely pace.

Along the hike, we saw some beautiful and huge trees on the trail.  They were easily hundreds of years old and were at least 50-60 feet tall.  

One of those huge trees!
I had to crane my neck for this shot

We were making good progress when we came upon a fairly large muddy area taking up space right in the middle of the trail.  We mapped our approach to go right, and I went first.  I made it ok about half way point on our detour, when I slipped thanks to a slippery underfoot. 

Luckily, as I was slipping, I managed to use my arms as a fulcrum to stabilize myself.  I was lucky.  I just got bit of mud on the bottom of my pants, but otherwise, I was ok.  No harm, no foul!

We kept on going, taking only a couple of water breaks during the process.  After nearly a 20 minute hike on the dirt path, we finally saw the sign that said the bluffs was straight ahead.

Sign for the bluffs

We pushed ourselves to make the final push up the slightly more difficult grade leading up to the bluffs.  Compared to Mt. Arab or Mt. Jo, this was still much easier though.  We made it up the bluffs, with the sky opening up like a window, through the trees in the distance.  We welcomed the change after our walk through the forest.  

We were giddy with excitement at the potential views up on the bluffs.  The views did not disappoint!


View as we approached the bluffs

We saw a small sign ahead to the bluffs, which was a small clearing, bit precarious to approach.  The short walk down was approached with respect, as we didn’t want to fall right off the mountain.  The drop is about 200 feet!

I went down first, carefully charting a suitable path to take, and using tree branches for support.  Luckily, the bluffs area wasn’t wet or muddy, so it did help with our footing.  I helped my wife out on her descent once I had made it down.

The descent was absolutely worth it!  Views really opened up, revealing incredible mountains, the Silver Lake, and trees everywhere.  Mountain tops still had snow on them, while Silver Lake was glistening in blue with streaks of silver. 

It was as if we were watching a scene from Alaska or Colorado.  It was just incredible.  We were lost for words looking at the magnificent scenery, which is a gift from nature for us humans to enjoy…




We sat down on a flat rock overlooking the lake.  One, because it felt safer to sit, and two, we wanted to take in the scenery a bit longer…

After several minutes of imprinting the scenery into our minds, we got up, retracing our path back up the trail.  We again took our time, carefully mapping our ascent so we don’t slip and fall.

We made it safely back up to where we had started, then headed back out, to the parking lot.  On our way down, we noticed we weren’t hungry yet, but as we got near the parking lot, we got hungry all of a sudden.

We decided to eat some blueberry pancakes at the Swiss Kitchen, in Tupper Lake, as it was so good the last time.  We got there, only to see that the restaurant was closed for the Spring Break for about 2 weeks.  We were totally bummed…

As a secondary option, we went across the street to try Well Dressed Food.  We ordered a fish sandwich and a falafel gyro with coffees.  Coffee had a burnt taste, and was a bit too strong for us, but the sandwiches were really good.  Although pricey at $30 for lunch at a fast casual restaurant, it was a good meal, nonetheless.

It was a satisfying day trip for some hike in the Adirondacks, followed by good food.  We were living the life right then and there…

In conclusion:

Adirondacks region is truly a nature lover’s paradise.  There are so many great mountains to hike, so many lakes to explore, and so many picturesque towns to venture out to.  

We were so happy we got to hike few of these magnificent places, then live to tell about it!  We had some of the most exhilarating, exhausting, but incredibly satisfying hikes in the Adirondacks.  The magnificent scenery we’ve witnessed will stay with us until the day we die…

Food was another great thing about the Adirondacks.  We truly got to enjoy some of the best tasting foods anywhere, and we would put the Adirondacks region up there with any great foodie places anywhere!

We thank you all for reading and happy trails!


Jake

Wandering Money Pig 



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