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Tick Magnet 02-05-2020 06:21 PM

Extract Brook, SPWA, 5 Feb, 2020
Fortunately, I had some time on this beautiful day to take a solo snowshoe hike up Extract Brook in the Siamese Ponds Wilderness Area. This is an old logging road/cart path that leads away from the site of the Griffin Tannery. The unmarked path leads about two miles into the wilderness before ending abruptly alongside the brook.

To get to this special spot, I drove down the icy, but well sanded, Griffin Rd. and parked by the bridge. Thanks to the Wells Highway Dept. for plowing this road so well.

The path along Extract Brook starts on private land, so a short bushwhack is required from the bridge. Heading uphill, the yellow paint blazes stand out.

Bushwhacking through the evergreen forest was enjoyable. The snow was only about 6" deep. It was icy/crusty and very noisy. I wouldn't be sneaking up on any critters today. :)

The property line makes some crazy turns, but was well marked and fairly easy to follow.

Too soon, I came out on the path. I turned left and followed the deer tracks deeper into the wilderness.

The path comes close enough to Extract Brook to explore a little. There was plenty of ice, but enough open water to give a hint to the character of this small mountain stream.

The path was pretty obvious through the mixed hemlock and spruce forest.

It then pulls away from the brook to avoid some steep terrain. As I moved through a stand of hardwoods, I really had to pay attention to keep on the track.

The path then swings close to the creek in a magnificent stand of hemlocks. There are some massive erratics along this section. They never cease to amaze me. The power to move a house sized boulder of granite! :eek:

A little further up the way, the route starts to get a little brushy. It's hard to believe that 130 years ago, this was a bustling "highway" crowded with dozens of tannebarkers working the woods and wagons with loads of hemlock bark coming down to the mill.

About two miles up the brook, the path abruptly stops just before the slopes of Buckhorn and Macomber Mts. pinch the valley through a narrow gorge.

This is where I was planning to continue my adventure to a beaver flow on the slopes of Buckhorn Mt. Unfortunately, my achilles tendon has been acting up and it was telling me to take it easy. No worries, I cleared the snow off a stump, sat down and had a sandwich. What a great day to be out and about on a lightly traveled path deep in the heart of the Siamese Ponds Wilderness.

Woodly 02-05-2020 07:32 PM

As always, nice story and photos

Tick Magnet 02-05-2020 08:10 PM


Originally Posted by Woodly (Post 280226)
As always, nice story and photos

Thanks! :clap:

Like I've said before, my destinations aren't always popular, but to me, they're special and I'm glad I can share them.

Horicon 02-05-2020 08:19 PM

Great pics.
Looks like a great day to be in the woods.

Woodly 02-05-2020 08:53 PM


Originally Posted by Tick Magnet (Post 280227)
Thanks! :clap:

Like I've said before, my destinations aren't always popular, but to me, they're special and I'm glad I can share them.

Unpopular might well be better than too damn popular and crowded. I enjoy these places you post about. I and many others wouldn't know about them any other way and lets face it, any day hiking or snowshoeing is better than working or sitting on the couch.

webby459 02-06-2020 12:44 PM

I had a very enjoyable two day/one night bushwhack up that way very late this past fall. We did a shuttle route, starting on the other side of the wilderness "peninsula" starting over by Auger, then up toward Macomber then Buckhorn and camped at one of the Buckhorn ponds. Then out the way you took along Extract. Exceptional wilderness, absolutely tons of bear sign.

Tick Magnet 02-06-2020 02:41 PM

Webby, What a cool adventure! That end of the Macomber is pretty rugged terrain. I did see a ton of animal tracks back in there too. Pretty much everything but bear and moose.

webby459 02-06-2020 04:15 PM

TM, yes pretty rugged. The bear sign kind of followed the mast evident but it was obvious they avoid everything on the Extract side where the herd path is. It is like a deer highway around the path though!

We found maybe the last 100' or so of elevation up to Macomber and then through the ridge between there and Buckhorn verrrry spruce-y and pretty hard going. Also, whether due to fatigue or actual difficulty, the elevation gain up and over the "horn" of the Buckhorn peak and down to the ponds is no joke, I was verrry winded.

If one were interested in getting to those remote ponds and not getting to the ridges or ledges above you could kind of get to the elevation of the ponds and skirt those hills on a more flat path, and maybe not have too bad a go at it. Or of course go the "easy way" in via Extract.

Anyway though, it's a cool space, and definitely real quiet back there. I really enjoyed your photos!

Justin 02-06-2020 06:41 PM

Cool report & photos T-Mag, as well as the Broomstick Lake TR also. :thumbs:
I haven’t visited this website in a while & it’s good to see you’re feeling better & still getting out there. I need to get back this area! Good info Webby thanks for sharing.

Tick Magnet 02-07-2020 09:22 AM

Thanks Justin!

TrailBlaser 03-01-2020 01:01 PM

Great photos and trip report. I felt like I was on-trail with you. Thanks for sharing.

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