Thursday, August 27, 2009

Aug 25-27 - Camping, Hiking, Canoeing - Brown Tract Ponds

For many years now, Holly and I have gone camping for a few days at DEC's Brown Tract Pond Campground, near Raquette Lake, NY. It's fairly quiet and primitive as public campgrounds go, and we enjoy the quiet and the motor-free lake for canoeing.

August 25

We arrived at the campground, got set up, and then went to climb nearby Wadsworth Mountain. We discovered this one last year, by looking at Google Earth which showed some open cliffs near the summit. It's not listed in any trail guide, and I've never heard of anyone else climbing it. It's only about a 1.5 mile round trip from the car, but it's about a third of a mile of bushwhacking off a marked trail that itself doesn't get much use. The views are well worth the minimal effort.

Raquette Lake can be seen to the east:

And Lower Brown Tract Pond, the location of our campsite, can be seen to the west:

After the hike, we went for a brief swim in the pond, cooked some burgers and corn on the grill, read by the fire, made some old-fashioned popcorn over the fire, and then hit the sack.

August 26

The next morning, we set out to climb Black Bear Mountain, a popular destination in this area, and only a 2.2 mile hike each way. It's the round bump in the previous photo. On our way to the trailhead, we made a short side trip to Ferd's Bog, a well-known local attraction. After a short walk, there's a boardwalk out into the bog that would otherwise be wet and inaccessible. No pictures - sorry. The hike to Black Bear Mountain starts out on an old road, then eventually climbs briefly and steeply to the rocky summit. It was a very murky day, with rain expected later, so the views were less than optimal.

Heading back down, we reached the car just as the rain started to fall, a few hours earlier than expected. We took a side trip to Eagle Bay and Inlet, looking for a hardware store to buy something to repair the temperamental Coleman stove that hadn't worked the night before.

Back at the campsite, we needed to kill several rainy hours by reading before the skies finally cleared and we got in some canoeing on the pond. The pond has an island with big rocks and even a ladder at one end, and we put ashore there and explored a little.

I got the stove working again, so we just cooked dinner, sat by the fire, made popcorn again, and enjoyed the amazing stars this far from any urban light source. Then we went to bed bundled up for a cool night in the upper 30s.

August 27

We woke up early, feeling a bit cool. After breakfast, it was time to pack up and head home. There was still a lot of fog and mist on the pond as we were getting ready to go.

After the long drive home, it was time to unpack, dry out, and get ready for the next adventure.

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