Thursday, October 4, 2012

Hiking - Moose River Plains bushwhack

Yesterday, I joined a Schenectady ADK hike in the Moose River Plains Wild Forest, southwest of Indian Lake.  By way of introduction and context, here's the trip description as posted in our chapter's newsletter:

Wednesday, October 3, 2012 
Sly Pond bushwhack

Rain date is October 24. I have been to Sly Pond by the trail but this is an explore to find a route shown as a trail on the 1903 USGS West Canada Lakes topo map and used by a group that included Almy Coggeshall on a three week camping trip in August 1933. I have a copy of Almy's 40 page journal with photos that was an inspiration for this explore. I also have a copy of a journal of another participant on the expedition, Mary North. Almy was 16 years old at the time and this trip was very significant in the development of his interest in the Adirondacks. This will be four to five miles of bushwhacking with a 900 foot ascent and a wade of the Moose River. Sly Pond is located at the 2877 foot level on the side of Little Moose Mountain in the Moose River Plains near Wakely Dam and Cedar River Flow. Little Moose Mountain is one of the hundred highest mountains in the Adirondacks.

We parked the cars at a campsite on Moose River Road, and headed south through the woods toward the South Branch of the Moose River.  There had been rain just prior to our arrival, and the foliage was very wet, making for a pretty sloppy bushwhack.  The plan was to find a suitable place to wade across the river and continue following the 1903 route uphill along the Sly Pond outlet to the pond.

Arriving at the river, the water was running a little high, and although there were those who would have made the attempt, most of us weren't comfortable with this location for a crossing.  At the same time, a look at the clock made it clear that we would never make it to the pond and be out before dark.  We'd gotten a later start than anticipated after a long drive from home, and it just wouldn't have been a good idea to continue with the original plan.  Instead, we decided to scout upstream for a better crossing point that would work in times of lower water for the summer of 2013 trip described above.  So we bushwhacked along the banks of the Moose until we came to its tributary, Silver Run, which we then continued to follow upstream to a campsite where a former road had once crossed that stream.  By now, it was time for lunch, and since there was a picnic table here, we stopped and had a bite to eat.

There was some discussion about crossing Silver Run here and exploring some more, but the group's enthusiasm for this option was non-existent, so we walked back down the road to the cars after about 2 miles of total hiking.

Since it was still early, we decided to add on a short hike to Sprague Pond, off the Cedar River Road.  We'd be passing right by the trailhead anyway, and it was only a half-mile each way to the pond, which most of us had never seen.  Along the way, we made several photo stops, and after the short hike to the pond, we all headed home.

The real star of the day was the fall foliage, and I've included a few samples below.  The light was fairly flat, and these pictures don't really capture just how awesome it really was.

Silver Run
Beech leaves
Unnamed pond along Moose River Road
Cedar River Flow from Wakely Dam
Sprague Pond

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