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Suggested 2-3 overnight hike in Pharaoh Lake region

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  • Suggested 2-3 overnight hike in Pharaoh Lake region

    Hello all,

    I am planning my first trip to the Adirondacks with my father for Early May and I'm simply overwhelmed by the size of the park. After consulting a few different sources including the "Discover" series of guidebooks, I think we've decided on the Pharaoh Lake Wilderness area. We decided against the High Peaks area because 1) solitude is a top priority 2) neither of us are in top shape and we aren't looking for anything overly strenuous 3) we are hoping that avoiding the peaks will steer us clear of snow/inclement weather.

    We would prefer a loop trail, with at least one, probably two nights out in the backcountry and perhaps a few dayhikes thrown into that mix.

    So my main questions:

    1) Is my assumption that we can cut down on the chances of running into too much snow by skipping the higher altitudes correct? Having only done a few backpacking trips in the Smokies previously, I'm not sure if we are prepared for snow-shoeing (nor do we own any).

    2) I understand that this region has its share of lakes. Is it common/legal to bring compact fishing poles into the back-country? A fresh catch would be quite a nice change from the dehydrated gruel we usually bring along. If so, any gear recommendations?

    3) Even after narrowing it down to one region of the park, the amount of space in the Pharaoh Lake region is still staggering. Would anyone care to recommend some particular trails or views in the area that I shouldn't miss, or any particular sites it makes sense to plan a multiple-overnight trip around?

    I guess that about covers it for now. God bless anyone who manages to read all of this!

    Thanks,
    Mitch

  • #2
    The Pharoah Lake area is probably my favorite of the entire park.
    There's at least five major gateways to enter that area that I'm aware of.

    1) From exit 28 of the Northway taking Rt. 74 east there's three:
    The Blue Hill Trail
    The Short Swing Trail
    And The Putnam Pond area which a popular starting off point for many of the interior ponds in that area.

    2) There's the Mill Brook trail- access to Pharoah Lake from Beaver Pond Rd. behind Brant Lake - Exit 25 on the Northway - go east towards Horicon

    3) Then there's the Crane Pond gateway access from Alder Meadow Rd. off Rt. 9-also Exit 28...this area, also enables you to get to many of the interior small ponds & Pharoah Lake & Pharoah Mt.

    There's great views to be had from Pharoah Mt. & Treadway Mt....the snow is long gone from this area except for some lingering patches here and there.....most trails are clear and dry now.







    My advice is get ahold of a copy of Discover the Eastern Adk's (Barbara McMartin/Bill Ingersoll and some topos of that area.

    The fishing is good in many of the ponds...and packing in some gear for that is more often than not a real good idea.

    Many of these areas leave the door wide open for loops and mulitple pond visits....Pharoah Lake and Putnam Pond can get a liittle busy in the summer months but alot of the interior ponds offer plenty of solitude and opportunities for day hike excursions....have fun
    Oh yeah....forgot to mention Putnam Pond is a State Campground...there might be a fee to park there in the summer months...not positive on that though....I avoid it that time of year.
    Last edited by ; 04-26-2009, 07:29 PM. Reason: Adding something

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    • #3
      One of my favorite areas!
      I think Paddlewheel gave a few great options and ideas!
      My suggestion is to try one of them, and I'm positive you will not be disappointed!

      Comment


      • #4
        Very timely post.

        I am planning on the first week of May myself. The ADK guide states that after the Mill Brook bridge you could encounter knee deep water, (trail work planned 1994...hmmm, most current book on the shelf last year)...is that still the case?

        Not to hijack the thread but what will the buggies be like? I had two black fly bites at home this weekend doing yard work...suprise!

        Plan on Whortleberry Pond as a side trip after setting up the first day and then doing Pharoh Mtn Sat...that leaves a lot of time before dinner...any other ideas for the area w/a base camp near on of the lean tos on the West side of the lake?
        I sometimes put a wool hat or mitt over my nose, across my face, but not to cover my nostrils, just to keep my nose warm. You have to pay the piper somewhere for this kind of fun
        JerseyHighlander 2-2015

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        • #5
          Originally posted by rachelsdad View Post
          Very timely post.

          I am planning on the first week of May myself. The ADK guide states that after the Mill Brook bridge you could encounter knee deep water, (trail work planned 1994...hmmm, most current book on the shelf last year)...is that still the case?

          Not to hijack the thread but what will the buggies be like? I had two black fly bites at home this weekend doing yard work...suprise!

          Plan on Whortleberry Pond as a side trip after setting up the first day and then doing Pharoh Mtn Sat...that leaves a lot of time before dinner...any other ideas for the area w/a base camp near on of the lean tos on the West side of the lake?
          You should be okay with the water situation after the bridge at Mill Brook..I was there last November and there's a log walk way that extends almost to the registration sign in.

          The flies shouldn't be to bad 'till the 2nd week of May but who knows now with this crazy ass heat wave we're having....ran into a few lethargic swarms up Putnam way on Friday.

          If you hike around to the east side you can do a day hike up into Spring Hill Ponds...allow yourself some time though...it's quite a little haul getting there..If you're into Bushwhacking there's multiple opportunities for that from the Lake also.....Wolf Pond....Thunderbolt Mt.....& you could check out the old Desolate Brook Horse Trail..

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          • #6
            The flies shouldn't be to bad 'till the 2nd week of May but who knows now with this crazy ass heat wave we're having...

            Thinking of Mothers Day weekend....kind of hoping to get in one trip before they hit.

            Thanks for the heads up on the log walk, that was my only concern about that trail.

            It really looks like a great area w/a lot of stuff crammed into a defined area.

            As for bushwacking....I think I have done it on every trip. I always lose the trail. My hiking is like my golf, great out of the hazards cause I get so much practice. I actually got turned around on Giant a few years back...going down
            I sometimes put a wool hat or mitt over my nose, across my face, but not to cover my nostrils, just to keep my nose warm. You have to pay the piper somewhere for this kind of fun
            JerseyHighlander 2-2015

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            • #7
              Black flies are here!
              We bushwacked Potter on Sunday, it was a cooler day and they
              were swarming our heads
              Pharaoh Lake Wilderness is great, my big back yard .
              Treadway and Pharaoh are must climbs. It is fishing season and I imagine
              most leantos near the ponds will be taken, but Clear Pond (base for Treadway)is a great place to camp as well as Oxshoe (base for Pharaoh). Putts Pond campsite is a great place to start, the campsite won't be open yet and it is a nice safe spot to leave your car and make a big loop through the area.
              Whatever you do you will have a nice peaceful time. Don't forget the bug dope!

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              • #8
                I think that Paddlewheel had a great Idea about Crane Pond. 1st weekend of may, this should offer much solitutde if you do the hike around the pond and stay on the opposite side, or hike from there over pharaoh mtn. The drive in to crane pond is cool. There is one part where you drive through knee... sometimes waiste deep water on the way in. It's a rocky bottom so you don't have to worry about getting stuck. There is some NICE trails in scenery in there. Always been one of my favorite spots. THe fishing is good. I've seen some nice bass and pike. I've heard of lake trout, but have not actually got any myself. Pretty much all the pan fish you can eat though.
                Well my style of stress relief
                Sometimes disturbs the peace
                The police show up
                And cut donuts in my yard
                And while the Zeppelin's playing loud
                They run off my party crowd
                They cuff up my wrist
                And throw me down so hard

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                • #9
                  Thanks for all the input so far. A loop starting at Crane Pond and with an ascent to Mt. Pharaoh sounds like a strong possibility. One other area that has caught my eye though, is the Shelving Rock area. From the descriptions in "Discover the Adirondacks" of these trails, particularly Red Rock and Black Mountain Point trail and Vista trail, they seem as if they should not be missed. Does anyone have any input on how these compare with the Crane Pond/Mt Pharaoh area?

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by mitchm View Post
                    Thanks for all the input so far. A loop starting at Crane Pond and with an ascent to Mt. Pharaoh sounds like a strong possibility. One other area that has caught my eye though, is the Shelving Rock area. From the descriptions in "Discover the Adirondacks" of these trails, particularly Red Rock and Black Mountain Point trail and Vista trail, they seem as if they should not be missed. Does anyone have any input on how these compare with the Crane Pond/Mt Pharaoh area?
                    In my opinion, the Pharaoh Mountain area (Pharaoh Lake Wilderness) is the best area in the park, and Crane Pond is like a second home to me because I believe I've been there every year since I was 6 months old.
                    The Shelving Rock area is nice too, lots of good trails, cool waterfalls, good mountains with great views, and many nice campsites. But from my experience, That area can be very crowded.
                    The Pharaoh Lake Wilderness Area can be very busy at times also, mostly in the summer months near Crane Pond and Pharaoh Lake, but I don't think the rest of that area and the other interior trails and ponds sees half the traffic the Shelving Rock area does.

                    Either way you decide, I don't think you'll be disappointed!

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                    • #11
                      I am heading up this Friday. Do you think it will be crowded assuming decent weather? Probably leave our campsite at around 7 am to hike Pharoh Mtn

                      How is the fishing on Whortleberry Pond?

                      Just stocked up on Repel and broke out the old mesh headnet.

                      We're taking trail 50 in then heading to the west side of Pharoh, would love to be able to camp on the point where there is a lean to...don't need the lean to, are there areas to pop a tent near the lean to on the point?

                      First trip this year, don't get out much anymore w/a 4 yr old at home, so I am really excited as I still "get" my fall trip..haven't been 2x in a year in a while......
                      I sometimes put a wool hat or mitt over my nose, across my face, but not to cover my nostrils, just to keep my nose warm. You have to pay the piper somewhere for this kind of fun
                      JerseyHighlander 2-2015

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                      • #12
                        It shouldn't be that busy yet. Can't comment about the fishing on Whortleberry Pond, but many of the ponds in the southern and eastern areas have good fishing (and many are stocked). Black flies may not be terrible yet either. I know where I live, near Albany, they've been hit/miss for the last few weeks. Mosquitos are more a problem right now.

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                        • #13
                          There are a few places to set up a tent near the lean-to at the point (Watch Rock Point) but they are very close to the lean-to and probably too close to the water to be legal campsites. If you're also curious about Whortleberry, there is a campsite on the east shore on the point. I don't think Pharaoh Lake would be crazy busy yet, but I would definitely not expect to be the only one there. You would have much more of a good chance having Whortleberry all to yourself, but definitely be sure to take some time to wet the line in Pharaoh Lake!

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                          • #14
                            Thanks all...and again, did not mean to hijack the post.

                            Looks like it will be cool and a bit rainy, perfect for me

                            Mitchm, if you're in the area, stop by for a great shore dinner, trouts on us.
                            I sometimes put a wool hat or mitt over my nose, across my face, but not to cover my nostrils, just to keep my nose warm. You have to pay the piper somewhere for this kind of fun
                            JerseyHighlander 2-2015

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I hiked in the Pharaoh Mountain/Lake area last week, midweek; I took the Pharaoh Mountain trail in to the lake, then went past Glidden Marsh on the way out, and encountered no snow. Bugs were very light (but I don't know long it would take for that to change). A very short portion of Crane Pond Rd. was underwater, about 1 3/4 miles in. It was too deep for boots, but one or two cars had driven past it. There is a marked/signed detour to get around the submerged area on foot; this took 5 to 7 minutes to get around.

                              WJG

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