Monday, April 1, 2013

Carter Station

These days, at least the last leg of the journey to Woodcraft is in an automobile. Even if you take the train to Utica or fly to Syracuse or Montreal, a car or van turns off of Route 28 out by the Bald Mountain trail head and winds the last few miles on Rondaxe Road. You know your close when the vehicle slows down at West Lake and the road transitions to hard, packed dirt.

But of course this wasn't always the case. Before Rondaxe Road was built the only way to get to Woodcraft was by train. Campers would arrive at Carter Station, which was called Clearwater Station in the earliest days of Woodcraft's existence. 

Campers would hike the last 2.5 miles. A horse and cart would assist them with their belongings. This is also the way all mail arrived and departed. The walking route can be seen in the image below.

The railroad has changed a lot since the 1920's and 30's when campers first came to Woodcraft. Originally built in the early 1890's, the railroad that runs by Woodcraft was financed by William Seward Webb, a wealthy doctor and in-law of the famous Vanderbilt family (and for whom the Town of Webb is named). The aristocratic families of New York used the railroad to get to their summer retreats in the Adirondacks. In the 1960's, 70's, and 80's, the track was used with sporadic infrequence. In 1992 the track was purchased for use as the Adirondack Scenic Railroad. It remains in use for that purpose today.

On Wednesdays (Day Hike day at Woodcraft), campers can choose to retrace the steps of the earliest Woodcrafters back to Carter Station. A portion of the hike walks along the track while it passes streams, lakes, woodlands, and old logging grounds. They have lunch and take in the history of the area as the train rumbles by.

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