Adirondacks or bust. 10 days of VW van living.

I am back! All shops have resumed to open and I am ready to ship once again. Please reach out if I can assist you with something! I added a bunch of items right before I went on vacation and will be working through my latest finds to get them listed. My booth will remain 20% off all items through the weekend. SHOP LOCAL and save! Open WED-SUN 10-6, Fleetwood Antique Mall 14129 Kutztown Rd, Fleetwood, PA 19522.

i decided to keep a journal of our time in the adirondacks as much of it was off the grid. We rolled in to the moe.down music festival last Friday after spending a single night in a motel. We got a lot of rain during our trip but all went well! Hope you enjoy!

WEIKEL ADIRONDACKS VACATION 2017----OFF THE GRID-the missing files.

Our camp at site 63 along the Sumner Stream. 

Our camp at site 63 along the Sumner Stream. 

Entrance to Moose River Plains Recreation Area in Inlet, NY

Entrance to Moose River Plains Recreation Area in Inlet, NY

SATURDAY 12:24 pm We are officially on the road leaving Allentown at noon. It is a warm day but not too humid. It's cool in the van with the windows open. Vanny seems to be dogging up the mountains. Kenny is watching the temp gauge like a hawk and intermittently turning in the heat if needed to quick cool down. Our sunshower just flew out of the basket and had to be recovered on the highway. Apparently our net is falling apart. 1st leg: We will take the pa turnpike NE extension to 81 to Binghamton NY. Then 12 to the south western entrance to Adirondack park following route 28 to Inlet, where we will enter the backwoods of Moose River Plains natural area.
We stopped for lunch in Greene, NY. Such a cute town with a great 5 and 10 that featured cheap stuff like my usual haunts. We grabbed some 99 cent Twizzlers for the road. Then we hit the Dollar General for swim suits for the males because, surprise, both forgot to pack!
6:45pm. We are on route 28 on the way to Old Forge. Just pulled over for some firewood. The homeowner has cards with his name address in case questioned about where you got the wood. All untreated wood can only be transported 50 miles or less than it's origin. We just passed a farm with albino peacocks and was happy to see one with his feathers displayed! We also just crossed the moose river!
7:46 we are well into the moose river plains and starting to see campsites. It reminds me of Maine. Lots of marshes/waterways. The sun is going down fast so we need to find our real estate!
8:00 Benedict Creek and Mitchell Ponds trailhead. The skeeters are waking up! We found a great site just before the access but wanted to keep looking! Heading towards HELL DIVER POND. Further along we found site 63. It sat right next to a little bridge over Sumner Stream. Next to water. The bugs worried me so we continued to see if we liked anything better, but I would rather be here than in the deep woods or a clearing. We found sites in many of these terrains! 9:02 we are back at the very first site we loved in which I said we will know the right one when we see it! We are surrounded by Sumner Stream. We got our ez up and awning surrounded by screens. Time to start a fire and finish up. The bugs were really bad for a bit but now at almost dusk they may have backed off a bit. 10:41 pm. Listening to the peepers and the bullfrogs and sitting out at the fire enjoying the bright stars. The bugs really subsided after dark so hoping we are not covered in welts tomorrow. I did spray myself by mistake with permethrin instead of my clothes! And we sprayed our screens. I can see a few buzzing in the van but we are doing good with our little screen rooms. The kids are in bed, Trent is out. Genny is tossing a little. Tomorrow we will spend exploring the area and trails. We will not go back to town until Monday. It is cool out as I can see my breath but in the van is nice. No heat or fan required! I had my only Maple Mistress tonight so ready to hit the hay as Kenny lets the fire burn down. He just remarked about never seeing the sky as beautiful as it is tonight. 🤘🏼⛺️🚐 FREE CAMPING.....The impressive vacation that does not cost you a thing! 😍 zzzzzzz😴🌲🌲🌲🌲🌜🏔🔭
SUNDAY 8:10amWoke up to a not entirely cloudless beautiful day! The sleeping was cool and comfortable. We did not even open windows. sausage with gravy over toast on the menu. We want to fill the sun shower and get it in the sun for later wash ups and then we plan a hike. Looking forward to a fun day exploring the area.
10:15 am we just discovered a curious little feathered friend who is eating the bugs that swarm us!!!! So excited to find the mother lode of cedar waxwings!!!! They even come to us in a little flock and check us out when we stand on the bridge. Love them so much! We also discovered the insane amount of snakes in the taller grass just off the cut grass. We think they are garters. New rule. Don't walk before looking! They seem to leave when we get near but don.'t want to surprise them! The Forest Steward aka ranger assistant just came through. A nice young kid who gave us a permit and some tips on hikes near us. Getting ready to go for a walk in the woods!
Forest Steward just came through again and we asked about water. Site 70 has a pipe spring on the side of the hill. There are loons on the ponds and there is a Hell Diver moose which was spotted last week with a bear in the morning. We are close to hell diver pond so planning a hike!
We finally got our act together and started our approx 4 mile round trip jaunt to Mitchell Ponds. We made lots of stops to observe, take photos and explore which made us think we were on a much longer hike! The trail varies from tire tracks in gravel to grassy terrain with a view of the wet areas as we followed around the edge of a mountain. It had up and down grades but generally was pretty level in elevation. It was a great kid hike and complaints were minor.
12:03 well into Mitchell pond trail. Passed the biggest Beaver lodge ever! 💕1:07 finally at Mitchell pond! A shower came through and we are hiding out trying to stay dry in the forest. We got a quick glimpse on the dock before the rain started. As quickly as it started, the clouds moved out and the rain stopped. We stayed pretty dry. We admired the large pond. Spied another Beaver lodge on the far shore. Then we heard rustling on the trail behind us. We turned to see a most adorable Shepherd just as surprised to see us and turn back to look for her leader....1:37 heading back after talking to a man on fat tire bike with his dogs max and ruby. They were having a great ride and the dogs were excited to see us.The hike back went very fast as we were not stopping for anything except one short rest on a rock overlooking the massive beaver lodge.4:17 we have made some burgers and just hanging out enjoying the intermittent clouds, the smoldering charcoal and the breeze. It is cooling off. I am still in a tank top but kind of want to walk down to check out hell diver pond, which the ranger said was less than a mile from the trailhead down the road from us. If we are going to see a moose, this pond will be the place. We want to get up early tomorrow too.5:38pm. Back at camp after speed walking 2 miles on a almost 4 mile round trip. Dark clouds have been rolling through sporadically all day and we got caught in a light quick shower at the last lake. We follow the road probably 2 miles to get to the trailhead in beautifully sunny skies following what I named THE DEER SUPERHIGHWAY to the many tracks we followed on the sandy road when we hit the left down our road 1/4 mile. A car comes towards us with a smile and wave the slowly disappears as I turn around to follow them with my eyes. Then we both look up enough to see the massive dark sky that was following and gaining on us. Then we heard a rumble in the not too distant area. Fuck. Kenny and I turn around and start walking. Me in a speedwalk panic. My camera and phone are in my pack and the kids are at camp alone. Kenny stops to check for a signal and the kids hear us. We think we were out of range when we started back. Instruct the weasels to get camped cleaned up and everything under cover. The thunder is rumbling louder now, I am hoping a car goes by so we can scam a lift back to camp and I get well ahead of Kenny, who is trying to get the emergency weather on the walkie, and simultaneously smoking a cig. He's out. I break into almost a jog. Almost ...because I pretty much hate running and I already did 6 miles that day. But I had to get back with my electronics and because I did not trust the kids. As I push up a grade that I am praying is the final descent to camp, I can't even see Kenny behind me anymore and it was starting to drizzle, but maybe rain as the trees were shielding me. I get to the crest and strain my 👀 and there he was. Vanny. I yell Genny and she appears from the ez up like an angel. I quickly instruct them to radio daddy and tell him I made it. Then Genny tells me they got everything....every last piece of the wood pile even, under the awning and ez-up. They did a great job! As the thunder grows and the rain starts to fall heavier, I get naked as Kenny hooks up the sun shower that was cooking in the sun all day and because of the cooler temps and the clouds, only made it to 115 degrees. I soaped up in the shelter just as Kenny got everything set up and showered in the rain. The rain was a lot colder than my sun shower,but I am happy and exhilarated as outside showers are my favorite. Then I make a naked run around the back of the van and under the awning. No one drove by and no Bears were scared. We are now at 5:59pm as we are relaxing in our beds blogging, watching something on the iPod or playing a game. I think G was planning on napping. This day was the best day. 💕🌲🌲🌲🌲🚐7:57pm. After some reading and hanging out in the van, Kenny decided he wanted to get the fire going and make some mountain pies. We watched a beloved Cedar Waxwing hop around our camp before my face watching him through the window spooked him off. The storm is over but the temps really dropped and I feel myself grossly unprepared for cold. I put on one of 2 pair of leggings I packed plus a sweatshirt and cuddle further into my warm bag. Although it is still light, the sun is gone and it is very crisp. We do have the heater but I think it is in the roof box and Kenny will call me a total wuss if I demand it. So I guess I am in for the night! 😂 found a decent radio station playing Coldplay and pop but did find Mountain Stage just not in the mood. Kenny's fire is quickly raging. Maybe I will go out....or maybe I will wait in here for my mountain pie to get handed through the window....it is getting foggy on the mountain across from us due to the drop in temp.MONDAY 10:56am after a morning of packing up camp and oatmeal bar, we are heading out to explore Inlet. It is very overcast so starting off by driving to Hell Divers Pond, finding the spring at site 70 to fill up our water and then hitting the town. We met a guy this morning, Terry who just sat the moose this morning and told us a pack of coyotes were in the area.
HELL DIVER POND There are 3 sites on the road to the parking area. The one right at the parking lot is amazing but handicap accessible. The trail is through a pine forest filled with a moss covered floor and the sweet smell of balsam. No wonder the moose lives here! The pond is so gorgeous. We did not see the moose yet but the kids found some tadpoles in the pond to watch. It is amazing that 2 miles away from our Stream side site lies a lush pine forest. The terrain is so different at every pond! We are on the way to Inlet. It just started pouring so glad to be driving. Drove out of the rain. Wow! Inlet is so Northern Exposure!3:42 putt putting in Inlet and I not only get through the tube, it drops right in! Hole in 1 on hole 1! A fun day in town including ice cream, souvineers and WIFI a little. Not enough to load this but the word got out that we ok and having fun.
7:52. We decided to explore some roads up from our camp before we set up shop for the night. Just did another walk to Icehouse Pond which is pretty close to Hell Diver. There was a great mist rolling over the water and we saw a single Merganser who seemed to be having fun in the water. Now heading back to Hell Diver to dusk moose watch.

one of the Mitchell Ponds.  We hiked no less than 4 miles a day. There were so many Ponds! Each one different from the last. Can't wait to go back and explore more! 

one of the Mitchell Ponds.  We hiked no less than 4 miles a day. There were so many Ponds! Each one different from the last. Can't wait to go back and explore more! 

8:41/ no moose but daddy called a bullfrog next to us and we got to see him.  Such a little frog makes such a big noise! The pond was more misty than the last and we enjoyed doughnuts we brought back from town on the dock. Now heading back to camp to get set up for bed.

Tuesday 7:41am

Coffee at Helldiver.  We got up just after 6 got ready and I made a pot of strong coffee. Then Kenny and I walked 2 miles to Helldiver Pond leaving the sleeping kids with a walkie.  The deer superhighway was loaded with fresh tracks after the rain and I found mama and baby tracks. Helldivers has the remains of morning mist and cool.  The bullfrog remembers Kenny from last night.  Kenny sees a duck so I focus in with the binoculars to find a LOON!! We watched him float and fish. Then watched a kingfisher work his way around the pond diving for fish after he was perched on a tree watching for them.  Now I hear a woodpecker...probably a flicker but not surel  had an older couple show up at the dock when Kenny went back to the outhouse. They were real nice and he hunted the area so knew a lot.  I just watched another loon come in for landing through my binoculars and the pair is swimming and diving together! 9:07

Could not get the loons to call but we had fun watching them catch and eat fish! 

Could not get the loons to call but we had fun watching them catch and eat fish! 

10:36 Kenny is cooking us up some eggs and corned beef hash. I just started a fire and the kids still are in their bunk playing games.

4:02. We enjoyed a nice fire, s'mores and the kids made some doggies on the fire. A nice couple stopped to say hi. They were towing a cute Scamp camper. Later our friend Terry stopped by again and we saw pics of a bear and the moose he for got the other day.  We talked about our morning at Hell Divers and some history of the area. After he left I could see some dark blue/purple clouds headed our way. I think this is the afternoon storm that seems to roll in every afternoon. The shower water was at 115 degrees so I quick took a shower followed by Genny as the drizzle started. The boys got the sides up on the ezup and now we are riding out the rain and thunder.  The kids and I in the van and Kenny in his smoking lounge. The weather here has been pretty consistently inconsistent and it seems you need to get hiking early so you do not get caught in an afternoon storm. We have been doing a great job of keeping things Stowed and dry during the rain, even our firewood.

5:12pm the storm has passed and the sun is trying to come out. We are still in the van and one by one the 3 others crawled into my bag to warm up. We are talking about our plans for tomorrow.  Loose as they are. This feels like fall camping.  My shopping list for tomorrow: uggs, sweatpants, parka. 😂

The adorable town of Inlet. Wifi only in the parking lot. No cell service here. Best bakery ever in this town!  

The adorable town of Inlet. Wifi only in the parking lot. No cell service here. Best bakery ever in this town!  

8:01 a great dinner of steaks on the grill, green beans and salad followed by mountain pies. It's a lot cooler after the rain and although the sun did come back, it is now behind the mountain. The fire is warming my legs but I am sure it will be an early night. The kids just went in the van for the night. The waxwings just popped in our site to poke around. They are all around us right now making the cutest little peeps as soft as a nuthatch. There are also sparrows with a white line through their eyes. I forgot a bird book so not sure which they are but will look up when I get internet again. Maybe a song sparrow. It is funny how some times of the day is almost silent and so are the birds. I took a pick of a 4 towed clawed foot this morning down the road and Terry said coyote. It was smaller than a large animal but much bigger than a cat or fox. He told us they were in the area. We have not had the windows open in the van so have not heard them. Tomorrow we plan to head to old forge after breakfast. If it ends up getting hot we could go to the water park, but I think we all agreed that if temps are like today, we will explore town. I think there is a free museum to check out and many more shops are it is more commercial.....just a tad more.

Coyote tracks on the road about a 1/4 mile from our camp. So much wildlife to observe! This place is so special! 

Coyote tracks on the road about a 1/4 mile from our camp. So much wildlife to observe! This place is so special! 

WED 7:55am IT's another episode of coffee at Helldiver. Up and making coffee. Not sure if a kid will come along today but Trent is awake. Gary Lee just passed our site. He carries a canoe on the roof and uses it frequently. I am not sure his deal and cannot wait to look him up on Google but he appears to be quite the naturalist/photographer in this area. The sun is shining and it is warmer than last night. That sun makes all the difference! Still breezy.

The trail to Helldiver Pond was my favorite. Smelled of balsam and the forest was beautiful. 

The trail to Helldiver Pond was my favorite. Smelled of balsam and the forest was beautiful. 

10:20am. Sitting on the dock at Helldiver. Got to see pics on crazy expensive cameras by 2 guys who were in kayaks. We just missed the moose as he went back in the woods just before we got here. We followed coyote and moose tracks on the deer superhighway which was fun. Terry was here too. Saw his pics of the coyote on the road. As the guys took some gear back to their truck a whitetail came out of the woods and we got to see her. I don't feel too bad we missed the moose as these guys have been trying for 5 years to get photos like this. This place is amazing and special. I also confirmed that our sparrow friends with the white stripes who Genny was whistling to are a white throated sparrows. Their song is pretty and haunting and fills the woods with life. The loons are not here today as we heard they come here to feed but don't nest here. We were lucky to see them yesterday and spend a few hours observing them. I have read a little history on the area and this tract was purchased from a logging company. Most of the trails we hike on were logging roads. There is some controversy as the state wants to close it down or at least stop funding but the towns on the ends on the road are taking responsibility for the upkeep. We see inlet town trucks daily back here. The whitetail is hanging around and we watched her move down the shore. She goes back in the woods and then pops back out on the shoreline. I got some pics. Terry gave us one of his moose pictures.

12:58 made some cheesesteaks, cleaned up the van and getting ready to head out to old forge for a day in town. Met a woman leaving the lake that owns an air B&B that has no electric or water. She said it is very popular with artsy folk and foreigners. She is a teacher and starting off her summer by sleeping in her car out here. This place really helps you reset to a different state of mind.....

1:38 found the spring pipe for fresh water just before mile marker 6 heading out. Now we know where 2 springs are.

2:08 stop at Inlet transfer station to drop trash and recycling.

WED 6:30pm heading back from old forge we had a black bear run across route 28 in front of us. Then we encountered a mom turkey with her babies!!!! We pulled over and I could here her peeping to them so they follow her. So damn cute! Now heading back onto moose river plains. We thought about moving our camp but changed our minds. We will just set the alarm tomorrow so we can make the 2 mile trek to the pond at a decent time. Just started a fire now at 7:38 and getting the van set up for bed time.

Relaxing at camp. We kept the kids pretty busy but they did not make all of the moose watching excursions. 😂 

Relaxing at camp. We kept the kids pretty busy but they did not make all of the moose watching excursions. 😂 

8:12 Genny just saw a snow shoe hare. Terry told us yesterday that they are the only bunnies out here. They turn all white in winter.

THURS 5:20am coffee's on. Getting ready to walk to Helldivers. The early bird catches the moose:

6:24am on the dock. He's not here but going to sit and wait. The frogs are silent. There is a light mist over the pond. It is an overcast day. There is a deer getting a drink on the far side of the pond. I noticed the small brown spot and checked it out with binoculars.

6:38. The deer went in woods and then HAROLD CAME OUT!!!! he has just gotten in the water/. He is so far down I cannot get good pics we are watching with binoculars. We know how large they are having seen in Maine and he is so far the magnitude of him is diminished.

7:16 still watching Harold work his way down the shoreline. He is getting ever so closer but my camera is still making him look like Loch Ness. He was eating, but then appeared to be swimming and playing by splashing water up over his head. We are hearing splashes but they are echoing far to our left very faint. He is definitely having a good time. Just heard a loon call far in the distance. 💕

Here's the Helldiver Bull Moose! Affectionately known as Harold to a few.  💕 It was such a treat to observe him for over an hour! I have seen moose before but never this intimately! My camera is Sony alpha DSLR with 300 zoom lens, not professional but decent. He was very far but captured the best shots just before he got out directly across from the dock.

Here's the Helldiver Bull Moose! Affectionately known as Harold to a few.  💕 It was such a treat to observe him for over an hour! I have seen moose before but never this intimately! My camera is Sony alpha DSLR with 300 zoom lens, not professional but decent. He was very far but captured the best shots just before he got out directly across from the dock.

7:55am. Harold disappears into the woods having worked his way half way down the pond ending directly across from us. Drizzle starts and we dig out the ponchos for the walk back to camp. An hour of pure moose bliss!

10:32am had eggs and bacon then packed up camp. We are ready to roll. Decided to head to a state park or motel for tonight but first going to do laundry and grab some groceries for the weekend. Just said goodbye to our snake neighbors. It is drizzling and the mosquitoes are the worst they have been since the night we've gotten here. Most of the other annoying bugs did not bite and we had gotten used to them. We are at the tail end of the buggy season right now. Camping next to water, however does guarantee them somewhat. If you get out this way to camp, def keep site 63 in your radar as it has great access to many trails within a mile walk. The plains area that we walked to get to Helldiver is more open with less taller trees. And many on the sites in the way in are total wooded with no view or other ambiance. There truly is something for everyone out here if you can handle the rustic camping charm. I did not see any poison ivy nor did we find any ticks. Terry confirmed that ticks are not prevalent here. Refreshing! As we head out of Moose River Plains, we are filled with awe at this beautiful treasure hoping it will continue to be preserved for future generations. Next time bring a boat!!!! The kids are looking forward to flush toilets and a hot shower tonight before we head to the festival in the morning.

The music fest was at Snow Ridge Ski Resort in Turin, NY. We had a great view of the Adirondacks from Tug Hill Plateau. We had a lot of rain but enjoyed some slope side fun on Sunday watching the show below. 

The music fest was at Snow Ridge Ski Resort in Turin, NY. We had a great view of the Adirondacks from Tug Hill Plateau. We had a lot of rain but enjoyed some slope side fun on Sunday watching the show below. 

The jam band, moe. performing one of their 7 sets during the festival. Other acts played and I enjoyed Ryan Montbleau's sets.  

The jam band, moe. performing one of their 7 sets during the festival. Other acts played and I enjoyed Ryan Montbleau's sets.  

Genny LED hula hoopin in the dark.  

Genny LED hula hoopin in the dark.  

our camp in the RV section.  

our camp in the RV section.  

Hope you enjoyed the virtual trip! ✌️ 

Xo Malissa