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TRIP REPORT: Peavine porcupine

March 25, 2013 - Morgan Ryan
The snow was nearly perfect Saturday in the Cranberry Lake Wild Forest. The powder was fresh, light and fluffy, like skiing on a cloud. Probably the best snow I’ve been in all winter (even though it‘s now technically spring).

The trailhead for the Peavine Swamp trail system was easy to find, about a mile east of the Oswegatchie River on Route 3 just outside of Cranberry Lake. There are three different loops in this area, but we stayed on the main trail that led to the Inlet Flow lean-to and Wanakena. Only the first of the three loops had any ski tracks on them, the others were completely covered in freshly fallen snow.

The parking lot was empty when we arrived (other than the towering snow banks of course). One woman had signed in before us. We assumed that she got a ride to the trailhead and was going to ski back to Wanakena. We were happy to follow along in her tracks.

The trail, which is part of the Cranberry 50, was incredibly well-marked. Apparently, the local wildlife find these signs appealing too.

We passed several large trees, like this huge hemlock, along the way.

The trail rolled along, undulating up and down through dips and rises. At one point we had to pull over to scrape the bottom of our skis and apply some glide to avoid sticking. Other than that, the ski went very smoothly with the sun poking its head out here and there for good measure.

We reached the lean-to on top of a knoll overlooking the lake after 4.1 miles.

This was a great place to take off our skis and sit down for a scenic lunch as we watched a steady flow of snowmobiles whizzing back and forth on the lake.

The views were quite nice though, with water surrounding us on three different sides.

The ski out was even more pleasant than the way in. There were long, gradual downhills and the powder allowed for easy mobility.

The highlight of the day for me was seeing this porcupine in the tree. Gordon, the dog, was the first to spot it. We stood staring at it for quite some time as the porcupine hissed and slowly made its way down the trunk of the tree.

It was tempting to move closer to get better photos, but Gordon tangling with this Peavine porcupine would not have been a good situation.

After several more gradual downhills, we were back at the car. Total trip was about 8.2 miles.

The only thing left to do at that point was to find a place to fill our stomachs for the drive back home. We found the perfect place on Tooley Pond Road, just outside of Cranberry Lake, and did some fine dining at Windfall Bar & Grill.


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