Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Aurora Trip to Pharaoh Wilderness

Today the Aurora's and I just returned from a three-day trip to the Pharaoh Wilderness in the East-Central section of the Adirondack Park. This was an exciting trip for me because it was my first experience that far east in the Park. Our trailhead was at Putnam Pond which is about eight miles west of the point where Lake George and Lake Champlain almost touch.

The first day of our trip we hiked west along the southern shore of Putnam Pond before turning north and hugging the shoreline for about a mile until we reached our camp-site. We stayed at a spot called Clear Pond -- which was exactly that, a small and unbelievably clear body of water that reminded me a lot of Lake Kan-Ac-To here in camp. Fortunately we were the only group in the area and were able to stay in the lean-to. Briefly the weather threatened rain but it quickly cleared up. We had burgers for dinner as the sun set over the mountains to the west of our little pond.

On day two we left our gear at the campsite and filled some day-packs with lunch and water before we set off to climb Treadway Mountain. It was a hot day with clear skies and we made great time up the mountain. Our group was all strong hikers and we were almost at the summit before the heat forced to rest in the shade for a while. Once on the summit we took a relaxing lunch break and enjoyed the nearly panoramic views the mostly bald summit provided. Treadway is something of an underrated mountain because its neighbor to the southwest, Pharaoh Mountain, shares its name with the wilderness section as well as nearby Pharaoh Lake. From Treadway we could see the southern end of Lake Champlain, the northern end of Lake George, the Green Mountains of Vermont, and the High Peaks of the Adirondacks. All of this was visible along with countless other lakes and mountains that I attempted to identify with my map. Unfortunately storm clouds chased us off the mountain before we were ready to go. Back at camp we set up a tarp to cook under but yet again the weather changed and we had quesadillas during another postcard style sunset.

The rain finally came for good at around 3:00 this morning. We awoke and packed in the lean-to as the rain continued to fall. A quick breakfast of bagels and cream cheese fueled our rain-soaked hike back to the Putnam Pond trailhead. The view of the High Peaks to the north from the summit of Treadway was hopefully a bit of foreshadowing for the next trip I take with Auroras.

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