Winter Fun!

Ski to Trombley's Lean-to

Lisa Sciacca

Change a bad day!

Ever have one of those days when everything goes wrong? You spill your coffee, you cut your hand and you rush around, but accomplish little. That was the start of my day, so when Trisa asked me to go cross-country skiing with her I jumped at the opportunity to change this bad day to a good day!

Our plan

Our plan was to meet a 2 p.m. and ski to Trombley’s lean-to. The trailhead is approximately 4.5 miles east of Tupper Lake off of state Route 3. At the intersection of routes 3 and 30, bear left onto state Route 30, heading north, to find the parking area. The U-shaped parking area is on the left. We parked our vehicles, gathered our packs, skis and poles, and walked along route 30 and across route 3 to access the trailhead. After I got my skis on I realized I had grabbed my downhill poles! As I walked back to my car, I wondered if this day would get better or worse. Luckily my cross-country ski poles were in the car and luckily Trisa patiently waited for me to get it together!

The trail

On the trail

We headed down a small hill and around the yellow gate. Snowshoers had been on the trail and the snow was a bit crunchy, but not bad. At times we had one ski in the snowshoe track and the other one on the bank, especially when trying to slow down as the track was too narrow to do a snowplow.

We did zigzags along the frozen stream

It was a sunny day and we were not in a great rush, but we did want to make it to our destination. The trail is relatively flat. The biggest hill is the first one you encounter and going in, it is a downhill. There are a few other hills but they are fairly easy, except a few inclines that had a log across the bottom. We spoke of reminding each other of this on the trip out. There was one dip which was a bit harder to maneuver, but I believe that is due to the limited snowfall we've had. One incline had a semi-frozen stream down the middle — we had to zigzag back and forth to avoid the rocks, logs, brush and water! Part of the stream that was iced over was covered with frozen flakes. It was very pretty; it reminded me of stained glass.

Isn't this pretty?

How low can you go?

We then began to encounter more obstacles. We side stepped over trees, did the limbo under trees (how low can you go?), took off our skis to step over a downed tree and walked around other downed trees. One pair of downed trees was massive. To get around them we were in the bush where we had to be more mindful, as even the smallest bush could snag your ski or pole and put you down. As you can tell, we were both determined!

Trisa Minton removes her skis for a downed treeNeither of us mentioned turning back. We went through at least three sections of forest that appeared to be aisles. Evergreens covered in snow lined each side of the narrow trail. It was absolutely beautiful!

Evergreens lined both sides of the trail

At one-and-a-half miles this is not a long expedition, but it seemed to be taking us a long time. Maybe it was a combination of the numerous obstacles and my continual stopping to take photos. We saw various animal tracks and wanted to see something, but we were talking a lot too! (Oh! maybe that slowed us down a bit!).How low can you go?


Finally, I recognized a clearing on the right and knew we were close to the lean-to! We checked out the lean-to, then headed down a short incline to check out the Raquette River, one of my favorite places to paddle. Again, I had to pull out the camera to collect evidence that we made it to our destination. We did not hang out long as we wanted to get to our vehicles before dark — skiing in the dark and getting around the obstacles was not an option.

Yeah! We reach our destination - Trombley's lean-to!

Our return 

Upon leaving we heard a bird cheerfully singing its song, but neither one of us knew what bird it was. Maybe I should take up birding. The first lesson would be to become familiar with the winter birds that sing!

As we left our destination we reminded each other of the obstacles and downhill inclines we would be encountering. Skiing out, the trip seemed shorter, the inclines seemed smaller and slower than what we expected and the obstacles seemed minor. Then we got to that very first hill! Looking up at it, it seemed steep and very long! We were in awe that neither one of us had crashed on the way down! We definitely worked a little harder and got our heart rates up, but in no time at all we were back at the yellow gate. We walked back to the parking area conversing about the other places we want to ski. We also talked about how lucky we are to live in the Adirondacks with wonderful places to ski — for free!

This bad day ended not as a good day, but as an excellent day! Next on my agenda was dinner in Tupper Lake,  a friendly little town!                   

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