Join The Choir
Reflecting on today, plotting tomorrow.
Love the ride
Set Your Heading

Leaf Covered Trails

Celebrating Fall’s Season

Musings, Memories, & a Hike

Framed in a Poem

I took a walk today

Down a leaf covered trail

Fall’s carpet of yesterdays

October’s confetti hail

I took a walk today

Down a leaf covered trail

Reminiscing crunched leaf memories

In full fallen foliage detail

I took a walk today

Down a leaf covered trail

Daydreaming tomorrows

Where renewed hopes prevail


As September faded to October, my wife Robin & I made a weekend road trip up Route 3 towards my Saranac Lake hometown.

We decided to walk the Ampersand Trail into Middle Saranac Lake to admire fall’s colors on Sunday, the 1st of October.

Ampersand Parking Area Sign
Complete with Added Instructions

This graffiti enhanced Ampersand parking lot sign always cracks me up,

(Especially the “Your Welcome!”).

I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve encountered misplaced hikers on Ampersand’s walk-in trail to Middle Saranac. Usually sweat drenched, flip flop or croc shod, sucking the last drops from a water bottle, clearly already near-gassed, asking with some anxiety in foreign accented voice,

“How far to the summit?”

“The summit? You mean of Ampersand Mountain? Well, my friend, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it’s now a bit further than it was when you started. If you keep heading down this trail, you’ll end up at the lake. I’m afraid the trail you are looking for is on the other side of the highway.”

The look on their faces upon receiving this news cracks me up, every time.

Robin & I hiked on down the trail to Middle Saranac Lake.

Croc free, without breaking a sweat, intentionally.

It’s hard to believe now, but once upon a time, my high school buddies & I routinely hunted small game all along this trail.

I can’t even begin to imagine the ruckus we’d cause if we tried doing that now.

Once Robin & I reached the lake, the shoreline views were spectacular.

When I was a boy, there was a Middle Lake lean-to just off the trail at this site.

The spot where the Ampersand Walk-In lean-to once sat.

Our family camped there quite often. It was a great place for a family with two young boys to camp. Dad could walk in on the trail and drive to work during the week. The water there is shallow, so Mom didn’t have to worry, leaving my younger brother and I free to go exploring, fishing or swimming.

View from what was once the Ampersand lean-to.
All that’s left is the base of what was at one time the fireplace.

However, the lean-to was removed in the early 1980’s, shortly after I graduated from high school. Apparently, as the walk-in trail’s traffic grew heavier, it had become a favorite local lakeside teen keg party hang out spot.

(I, of course, have no direct knowledge of that.)

So, the DEC took the lean-to out.

It is no longer even a designated camping site.

View from the old Ampersand lean-to site to Middle Saranac Lake

While I have many fond memories of camping at that Ampersand walk-in site, I suppose nowadays, with the increased hiker traffic, camping there would be a lot less fun anyways.

There are still outhouses though.

Which I guess is good news for the folks who need immediate relief once informed that they are on the wrong trail.

Once we finished at Middle Saranac, Robin & I hiked back out to the road and cruised on up Route 3 to South Creek.

The views were equally colorful there.

The view from the dock at South Creek towards Stony Creek Mountain.
Sunday, October 1, 2023

Once we had finished taking pictures at South Creek, my wife & I returned home.

I returned that Friday however, on a solo scouting trip.

It’s amazing what a difference five days can make.

The same South Creek view, five days later.
Friday, October 6, 2023

I imagine that by now, after this weekend storm’s wind and rain, most of the foliage is down, & this fall’s Adirondack trails are fully leaf covered.


Until Our Trails Cross Again: