Thursday, October 22, 2009

Hiking - Pharaoh Mountain

At 2556 feet, Pharaoh Mountain is the highest summit in the Pharaoh Lake Wilderness Area of the Adirondacks. Today, I joined a Schenectady ADK trip to its summit, approaching from the south via Pharaoh Lake. It was a 13.8-mile round trip, longer than we had realized because a former 1.1-mile road to a more interior trailhead was now unmaintained and impassable to all but high-clearance vehicles.

As we reached the end of the road and the old trailhead, the morning fog was just burning off.

Further along, we came to a very large beaver dam and pond. This shot only shows about a quarter of the total length of this dam.

Our destination, Pharaoh Mountain, towered above the pond behind the dam.

On the summit, clouds were beginning to fill in, and it was cool and windy. We ate lunch and enjoyed the view to the east toward Vermont in the far distance, with part of Pharaoh Lake directly below.

The summit has several views in different directions. Here, we're looking more northwest toward the Adirondack High Peaks on the horizon.

Since the forecast was calling for an increasing chance of rain as the day wore on, we left the summit and made good time back to the outlet of Pharaoh Lake. The sky was getting gloomier by the minute, but we never did get any rain from the ominous clouds reflected in the lake.

The last 3.6 miles back to the cars seemed like an eternity, but the old road provided good walking and we reached the cars about 8 hours after we started.

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