Clinton Lake, a 4,300 acre cooling lake for the Clinton Nuclear Power Plant, was formed in the 1970’s by damming Salt Creek just downstream of the confluence with the North Fork of Salt Creek in DeWitt County.
The nearby village of DeWitt is named for DeWitt Clinton, governor of New York, 1817-1823. Of course, the city of Clinton, the county seat of DeWitt County is also named for the same man.
The park has three hiking trails. The 5 mile Houseboat Cove Trail is rated easy to moderate. It follows the shoreline near the beach. The 10 mile equestrian trail is by the north side of the lake. It can be hiked or XC-skied in the winter. The 11 mile North Fork Trail is the most challenging.
I arrived at around 3:30 pm on Saturday. I took a 3.33 mile hike on the North Fork Trail. This trail is fairly challenging with quite a lot of steep ups and downs. There are several very pretty scenic overlooks and you can look down over the North Fork of the Salt Creek as it flows into Clinton Lake.
I was hiking pretty fast because I wanted to get in and out of the trail before dark fell. I made good time at 4MPH. I was able to determine my rate pretty accurately because the trail has mile markers clearly posted. The trail is also very well marked with white blazes.
Today I hiked in 2 state parks and did a total of about six miles, 3.3 of which were reasonably strenuous up and down hiking. I had my winter load packed fully into the Blast 30. I was carrying about 23 lbs, including two days of food, 2 liters of water, and 4 oz. of fuel and my camera setup. I am excited that I have been able to keep my winter pack weight down below 25 lbs. When the really cold weather hits in January, I think I will be able to keep the pack weight below or just at 25 lbs overall. The pack carried very well and the carbon stays helped transfer the weight to my hips pretty efficiently. This was the first time I had used the stays and I am favorably impressed.
I was thinking of stealth camping on the North Fork Trail. But because muzzle load deer season is open now, I thought it was not a good idea to camp where hunters may be shooting early in the morning. So I stayed overnight at a designated campground.
The HG Incubator 20* was really toasty as temps fell into the upper 40s with high and gusty winds. I slept very well until some fishermen launched their boat at around 5:30 a.m. I didn't get any video of my camp because it was too dark when I arrived and also when I left early in the morning.