Gamble Run is a small stream that washes down between two “mountains” and empties into Pine Creek. It flows on the southwest side of Cedar Pines, the family homestead.
Sunday I decided I’d to hike up Gamble Run Road, to the stream’s source in the Algerine Bog. I didn’t know how far it was to the Algerine, but thought it might be a couple of miles.
I left the Camp, taking a photo just before I turned the corner: Gamble Run hides under the bushes on the far right of the photo
The first part of the Gamble Run Road goes through a long stand of dark hemlock. It’s rather spooky and impossible to photograph, even if the sun is shining (which it wasn’t). A ways up the road, however, the view opens out: someone (the power company, the Forestry Department) clears out the trees and foliage, allowing sun to enter on the uphill side.
I was pretty excited to have reached this point, figuring that the Algerine swamp couldn’t be far away. The Algerines Hunting Camp, for which the swamp/bog and natural area is named, is a private camp in the middle of state forest land. The Algerines Camp keeps a big flat field cleared to land their planes. Or at least they did in the 1970s. I wasn’t sure whether the Algerines’ camp still existed, and if it did, whether they had made way for Lear jets to land. But I could see on the map that the Forestry Department had snagged swamp and bog surrounding the private land, made a trail or two, and declared it open to the public.
So I was looking for a road off to the left, leading to the Algerine Swamp, Bog, and Camp, the headwaters of Gamble Run. I thought it should be right ahead. Right.
At some point I decided that, like running to catch a bus you think is just about to arrive, it was too late to stop. So I kept going, even as I thought that it was daft to do so. But even daftness can eventually seem beyond foolishness, so I photographed a big rock and went to turn around:
and bingo! There was the track I was looking for: “No Outlet” says the yellow sign; and the street sign meekly adds “Algerine Ln.” The latter tickled me; “lane” is altogether too suburban for the pock-marked, rumble-rocked, mud-hole infested track through the forest that led to the Algerines.
(This is an old sign pointing to the hunting camp; I couldn’t resist enjoying the way the forest is enveloping the sign. The owlish face is the tree slurping up the sign.)
I trundled up Algerine Lane as far as the camp gates, which were wide open. I took a photo of the gate and the boggy space; headwater territory is not exactly scenic.
The other side of the gate spelled out “gerines” and has a “no trespassing sign” on it. Nearby, on public land, is the trail head for a couple of different trails that I thought about following and then thought the better of. I remember Mike’s story about his friend who got lost hunting; in a swamp there’s no stream to follow to get out of the woods.
The way down was like the way up, only a bit prettier.
A flock of turkeys divided itself in half and flew up the road ahead of me. I admired their dueling flights and was thinking about their squawks when one remaining turkey, about ten feet away, flew straight up in the air. I too went straight up in the air. Those suckers are huge when they spread their wings, and they make a lot of noise when they take off. I didn’t get a photo from my mid-air perch, but I also didn’t have a heart attack. I thought I might.
The dark space that the road dives into is the beginning of the hemlock grove. On the way up, I was happy to put it behind me. On the way down, I was delighted to see it again. The road seemed to have gotten steeper as I traveled it and my knees seemed to have gotten whinier as I came down.
But all was good in the end. Here’s the photo I took as I emerged from the Hemlocks and spotted home: