Some animals — daddy bears, for example — spend most of their adult lives alone. We humans are not like that. No matter how much we may say we want peace and space, being truly separated from others of our species for any length of time runs deeply against the grain of our makeup. Last month, I took a hike in a New York wilderness that became two days and two nights of uninterrupted solitude. I am not claiming a Robinson Crusoe-like experience, but it was a revealing outing nonetheless.
Silver Lake Wilderness occupies 106,770 acres in the southern part of Adirondack Park. If these acres formed a neat square, its sides would be 13 miles long. Even before I set foot in the Wilderness, the map revealed what it would contain – mountains of modest stature, creeks, lakes, bogs. The map also showed a solitary trail winding through the wilds, a section of the 138-mile Northville-Placid Trail (NPT), which traverses the “Dacks” south to north.