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Old 07-18-2016, 01:23 PM   #1
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 83
Backpack--moose river/west canada lakes??

Trying to plan a 4-5 day backpack in the ADK's and trying for a loop so we can use one car. Were thinking of going in at Pillsbury Mtn., heading past Sampson Lake to West Canada/Brooktrout Lake Leanto's, then heading north on Trail 120 (on National Geographic maps), then heading east again on Trail 119 that leads toward Lost Pond and heading out via Cedar Lakes and back to the Pillsbury Mtn. parking area. Map doesn't show any campsites along a fairly long stretch of Trail 119. Is anyone familiar with that area who could offer some detail for us--nature of the trail, any campsites, etc.? Certainly open to other suggestions for a 4-5 day loop assuming somewhere between 6-9 miles a day for two aging but enthusiastic hikers.
Gerry and Mark
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Old 07-18-2016, 09:25 PM   #2
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The Lost Pond Trail gets pretty overgrown and tricky to follow in places. If you're an experienced hiker and are comfortable with navigating on a poorly maintained trail, it shouldn't be a huge hurdle, but for beginner hikers it can be pretty intimidating.

Otherwise, the trails you've included are generally easy to follow although they do get a bit brushy or wet in spots. The last time I hiked the French Louie Trail (which runs along Pillsbury and Sampson Lakes to West Lake) there were 1 or 2 stretches where I was hiking through knee deep water. Note also that you'll be following a road open to motor vehicles for a short stretch between Falls Pond Outlet and Otter Creek.

There is a well-established tent site on Trail 119 (the Otter Creek Truck Trail) where Jimmy Creek crosses that trail. It's on the north side of the trail, and I'm about 75% sure it's just east of the creek crossing. It has never had a "Camp Here" disc any of the times I've hiked past it, but I think it is supposed to be designated (this is based on my understanding that the ranger who patrols that area has issued a permit for a hunting camp there in Autumn in the past). I would contact the DEC and confirm this prior to using it, but it exists as a possible option. I don't recall seeing any other sites, established or designated, along that trail.

Generally, this is a very nice area for backpacking. I spent a lot of time exploring this area in 2008 and 2009 and found it to generally be quiet and full of solitude. I've spent very little time back there in the years since (two overnight trips in 2013), though, and I understand that it has increased in popularity in recent years. I believe that Cedar Lakes and Spruce Lake in particular have both gained a fair amount of popularity.
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Old 07-18-2016, 09:36 PM   #3
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The trail is flooded between the Lost Pond area and Cedar Lakes, or it was when I was there in 2013. The marked trail just dove right into a swamp as I was heading south, maybe 1/2 mile north of the NPT. It was getting to be twilight so it became my first time bushwhacking by headlamp. I knew I just had to skirt the swamp to the east, where it looked smaller, and then head south as soon as I could. I ended up back on the marked trail after a while, before it got to the NPT. It probably would have been much easier to find in daylight. That section of trail was pretty overgrown and went through a lot of blowdown, but there were still some markers. It's well worth the trip if you're comfortable with using a compass if necessary.
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Old 07-21-2016, 10:00 AM   #4
Will Canoe
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Location: Middlesex, Vermont
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Hey gmagnes

My family and I did the route you are proposing back in 2012. We took four days. After Pillsbury Lake the trail gets rough with a lot of blowdown. NPT was great. Good luck.
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