Saturday, March 31, 2012

Hiking - A brief return to winter

Today, I joined a Schenectady ADK hike to three ponds (at least!) in the Siamese Ponds Wilderness Area, south of NY-28 between North River and Indian Lake.  There was a dusting of snow at home overnight, and at the trailhead, about an inch of new snow covered everything, including the roads.  We were going to head south to visit Prier Pond, Grassy Ponds, and Gardner Pond, once again exploring an area where the North Country National Scenic Trail will one day run.  There were no marked trails on today's route, so this was all navigation by map, compass, and GPS.

GPS track of the route we followed

Our first stop was Prier Pond, the largest one we would see today.  The trees were sugar-coated with the new snow and reflected in the still waters of the pond.

Prier Pond
Next, we fought our way through some thick spruce to reach one of the several Grassy Ponds shown on the map. Somewhere in this stretch, we watched a fisher run uphill away from us atop a log, and then we went and looked at its bounding footprints in the snow. 

One of the smaller Grassy Ponds
Many of the Grassy Ponds were indeed grassy, and nearly devoid of water, aside from a narrow channel running through them.  Continuing on to two of the middle of the Grassy Ponds, a light snow was now falling as we spied a lone Canada goose standing on a grassy hummock and wondering what the heck we were doing there.  There were also a couple of ducks on this pond.

This pond had open water

Reaching the last of the ponds we'd visit today, Gardner Pond, we found a nice lunch spot overlooking the pond with its three beaver lodges.

Gardner Pond

The sun was now attempting to come out after a cloudy snowy morning, and the dusting of snow was beginning to melt and disappear.  For the trip back to the car, we chose a more direct route that avoided the ponds we'd already seen and their ubiquitous rings of dense spruces.  We found open woods up a little higher and made good time back to the car.

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