FKT: Guillaume Fournier, Nicolas Chaput - Northville - Lake Placid Trail (NY) - 2023-07-25

Route variation
"new" 142 mile route
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
4d 6h 48m 0s

Here is our story of our SOBO thru-hike on the NTP July 21 -25 2023:

NicoIas Chaput and I have ran together two 50 milers trail running events in our area in the last year, with the same pace and multiple marathons, 50 km, etc. This was then the partner of choice to try this trail. We were looking to try fastpacking, which is a mix of running and hiking. 
I also have extensive knowledge about hiking long distance, having thru-hiked the Long Trail in 2017 and done many 3-4 days hiking adventures. I am also a 46er so i know the adirondacks well. 

LOGISTICS: We packed for 1 or 2 days of food , and our packs weighted between 15 and 19 pounds depending on the amount of food we had. I did not carry any water because there were many streams available all the time. We drove all the way to Northville from Montreal with 2 cars to drop one car in the free and safe parking there. Then, we drove to Lake Placid and on the way stopped to Piseco Npt Bob to drop our second resupply point. Then we stopped at the Lake Durant trailhead and dropped a bear canister in the woods with our first resupply point. Then we slept at Saranac Lake (LP is too damn expensive) and we dropped the car on Friday July 21 at LP Northern Terminus which is the train station museum. Again, it seemed safe and our cars were fine when we finished.

Day 1: Lake PLacid to Long Lake (Kelly Point #2) - 55 km
The road walk was uneventful, but mostly downhill which was great. Averyville to Duck Hole was a complete mess and was the hardest part of all the hike. We were thinking if the whole trail is like that, that we will never finish !!! Bugs were present, but not biting. We took time to talk to every human we met, as we were very happy to see people. We saw two people by themselves enjoying the lean-to in the area around duck hole. But then nobody. We had to wait until day 4-5 to finally meet thru hikers ! Trail then because much easier until Long Lake where the trail is surprisingly hard because of many up and down and mud and roots and etc... We crashed at Kelly Point #2 and our feet were already having blisters issue because of constently being in water and mud. There was a huge group of people at Kelly Point that came in by canoe but they were a school group and very respectful. 

Day 2: Long Lake Kelly Point to Wakely Dam 53 km
Weather is beautiful, we had a bit of rain during the night but the lean-to kept us dry. Getting out of the Long Lake shore took quite longer then expected. Lots of up and down made it quite difficult. Then, we entered the Long Lake to Lake Durant section, which was the most washed out section of the whole trail. You could really see the flooding that happened here on the trails. It was super wet and there were bridges missing but everything was easily passable. We fell a couple of times on those wood planks that are like ice when humid. Then the hard climb over the highest point of the NTP was not too bad. Tirrell pond was a beautiful area but we were tired and it was a rough walk to Lake Durant Campground. We found our bear canister and stopped at the campground to rest, eat and re-do our feet taping (with Leukotape !). We started back to walk at 3:30 pm with Stephen Lean To in mind. The trail was so easy we made good time and decided to push to Wakely Dam. This was a good decision because the trail was again very easy on old forest roads so we could really kick the speed up. We arrived around 8:00 pm at Wakely Dam. Since this was a saturday, it was FULL of people and we had to ask around to people if they knew  of a campsite for us maybe hidden somewhere. A nice women helped us and pointed to us a perfect spot, as we had to go through a site that had tents, RV's, to get to our spot. Quick lunch and we slept.

Day 3: Wakely dam to Piseco Npt Bob 55 km
Started the day with easy trails and road walks, but it was very hot and deer flies were completely out of control until around 11 am. Then when we reached the Cedar Lakes dam the trail became very rough again, a lot of bushwaking and vegetation on the trail. But, the high point were the views of the lakes and the bog bridges. Wind picked up and temperatures became more pleasant, which made this the best part of the trail in terms of enjoyment. We pushed to Spruce Lake Lean-To 1 and got there at 6:00 pm. We decided to go for Piseco, as the elevation profile was favorable and we gambled that the trail was going to be quite easy (which was the case ! yay !). We got out of the woods around 8:45 pm at Haskell road and arrived at Piseco Npt Bob at 9:15pm, with our resupply in our mind ! We were quite destroyed from the day and could not think very fast. Matt came out (because bob was sleeping) and brought us water and told us we could camp or sleep directly on the garage floor. The idea of not having to put up the tent made us sleep on the floor (lazy). We chilled a bit on the bench in the garage and then ate and then went to sleep.

Day 4: Piseco Npt Bob to Abner Brook Campsite - 43 km
Woke up around 7:00 am with Bob not believing that we made it in 3 days to his place ! We talked while we packed up and enjoyed the great stories about hikers, the NTP and life in general around Piseco. I changed to the pack i put in my resupply as i knew we were not going to run so much from this point on. He pointed us where to go to get cleaned up near his place and off we went around 8:00 am. We took time to clean our messy feet and eat well and started the walk around 9:00 am. Our last 3 days really messed us up to a point where we almost asked Bob to  bring us to Northville but we had done so much to just stop at this point. Blueberries were PLENTIFUL right as you exited the road walk next to the firefighter building. Trails from this point on where SUPERB, dry, well marked, no bushes on the trail, etc. It was really a relief for us and helped our morale. We stopped at Whitehouse for some water. The views and weather were pretty nice! There was quite a lot of bugs tho because of the humid weather. As we arrived at the Mud Lake Lean-To we started to hear thunder. The skies darkened rapidly and we got hit by a massive thunderstorm for about 20 minutes at 3:00 pm. Completely drenched, we continued walking in hope that it was just a small storm. We were right ! Sun shined again and we dried ! When we arrived at Silver Lake Lean-To we took a break and since it was around 4:15 pm we continued. We would then check at every sleeping option if we continue or not. At rock lake, still very early we continued. Then at around 7:00 we reached West Stony Creek Campsite but at the same time THUNDER again. We really wanted to have the smallest final day possible so we continued to Abner Brook Campsite. The skies darkened again and we had to put our headlamps up at 7:30pm and had to RUN to abner brook because the storm was starting. We rushed the tent install and jumped in the tent as the rain started POURING. If we were 10 minutes later, we could not have installed the tent. THe Abner brook campsite is also very small, but the creek had some of the best water we had on the NTP (crystal clear!). So dont go there if you have a big tent. When the storm stopped, we cooked lunch and went to bed.
Day 5: Abner Brook Campsite to Northville Terminus - 30 km
Woke up to a very humid campsite, but the sun was out. Packed up and started the day around 7:30 am. We were very motivated to finish because our feet were just not capable of handling our bodies anymore. The walk to Benson road was superb, with the sun shining through the pine forest and giving us some very nice scenery. Then, West Stony Creek crossing was not passable by rock hoping. We removed our shoes / socks and got wet a little bit. We enjoyed the place as this creek is beautiful also. The rest of the day was uneventful, beside the surprising amount of hills, and the road walk to the terminus was fast but our feet were very, very painful ! The bridge.... the houses.... Stewarts ! And then.... DONE ! 

4 days, 7 hours. 

One of our goal was to make a male self-supported FKT and we successfully did it. This was not our priority as obviously we slowed down the last 2 days but we preferred this and to enjoy and not have this death march kind of hike. It was still kind of a death march from day 4 but an enjoyable one.

So, get out there, the trail is very passable everywhere and it is a beautiful, remote experience to live. 

Thank you to my hiking partner  NicoIas Chaput it was great to share this experience and help each other as we both had some very low points and tried to cheer each other when it was more difficult. Thanks to Piseco Npt Bob for the stories, the garage floor and the resupply.