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Old 04-29-2022, 10:14 AM   #1
rbi99
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Putnam Pond

Just got back from spending five nights in Schroon Lake at the Blue Ridge Motel. Decided to go the soft route and do day hikes into the area rather then the backpacking trip I originally planned. While I have backpacked into Pharaoh Lake four times, I never really explored the area. This trip took me to Mud, Clear, Heart, North, Little Rock, Rock and Berrymill. Wanted to climb Treadway, but it became clear to me that my dog Maggie's days of climbing mountains is probably past her now. Instead we kept on the level ground this trip. I saved Berrymill for last, not because I expected it to be special, but simply because it would make for a last hike and only be four miles so as to not tax my Maggie by the end of our stay. DAMN!!! While the trail is like most trails, certainly nothing out of the ordinary, I was blown away by the beautiful waterfall just prior to reaching Berrymill lean-to. It was gorgeous. Then I approached Berrymill and instantly felt a connection that I never expected. It was beyond beautiful, it was breathtaking. I was instantly taken in by the lean-to's placement as well. I will be honest with you all, I haven't personally found a spot this beautiful outside of Colden Lake. Everyone has their own definition of beauty, so maybe this spot is "ok" to some, but all that matters is how I see it. I'm coming back in September to spend a few nights there. My Maggie can make this hike easily, and we won't need to climb any mountains to obtain views, because Berrymill has all the views either of us need.

Definitely enjoyed our other hikes, and visiting all those other ponds was something I have wanted to do for a very long time. I'd be lying if I didn't say I very much appreciated the many foot bridges that got us over the many streams in the area. I won't complain either that there are too many markers along the trail. Maybe it's my old age, but I was just fine with both of those. I am glad to report also that every lean-to we came to was very clean. Justin, you did a great job at Rock Pond, because it was still clean when Maggie and I got there.

On a sad note, my best hiking companion ever, Maggie, is slowing down quicker then I had hoped she would. Our backpack trip into Colden last year was very taxing on her, so I felt coming up and doing these hikes would allow her to both enjoy our time together, and not put a strain on herself. Turned out though that she was limping after each hike, even though we took it slow. Since she entered my life almost eight years ago, I haven't left the house without her probably 95% of the time. Even if I am only going up to the corner to get some milk, she is with me. Have had senior blood work done on her recently, and had multiple x-rays taken to see if they could figure out why she is limping. On a positive note, her joints are in great shape and my vet can't find anything that might be causing her to limp after our hikes. Unfortunately though, something isn't right. While we are out hiking (we have hiked 1000's of miles together), she doesn't display any discomfort, fatigue or anything that would indicate she isn't comfortable. This is just about the most stressing thing I am facing right now. I can't even begin to fathom what I would do if while she is pleading with me to take her, I might have to say you can't come for your own good. This is a heartbreaking moment in our lives together for me. On a strictly selfish note, though I am 71, I am fortunate that my joints and the rest of me are fine. Though I am slower then a turtle on the tougher trails, and 2000' foot of elevation gain will never come quickly for me, I can get the job done. But my window will be closing sooner rather then later. With Maggie slowing down much more rapidly then I am, I am at a complete loss as what I should do. I truly can't imagine not having her by my side, but I don't want to harm her either. When we come up to people on the trail, Maggie doesn't even look up at them. For her, it's the two of us and nothing else matters. I have my wife of course, but out on the trail, Maggie is all that matters to me. My avatar is me with my last dog, Grin. He and I shared some incredible adventures together until leukemia struck him down when he was only six. That is when Maggie entered my life, and gosh gees, we too have had some incredible adventures together!!!
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Old 04-30-2022, 09:25 AM   #2
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Here's a few pictures from our trip.
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Old 04-30-2022, 10:13 AM   #3
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Nice pictures rbi, I’m headed up this Monday morning. I sure do miss my Rocky……..
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Old 04-30-2022, 03:16 PM   #4
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Few other pics. Was amazed at how dry overall all of the trails we hiked were. After sloshing through Calamity Brook last year, this was like a God send!!! The only black flies were a few in the parking lot. A shout out to 9 Mile Coffee in Schroon Lake, because Maggie and I started and ended each of our hikes there!!!
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Old 04-30-2022, 07:44 PM   #5
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Great TR! So many good memories in that area and I can't wait to get back. Berrymill is one of those hidden gems in the PLWA. The waterfalls along the outlet creek are really spectacular this time of year.

Hiking with an old dog is tough. We've all been there and wish we could have their youth back. Thanks for sharing your feelings.
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Old 05-01-2022, 09:53 PM   #6
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rbi99

Thanks for the description and pics. I haven't seen anyplace in the Addacks that wasn't beautiful.
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Old 05-01-2022, 10:24 PM   #7
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Beautiful pictures and very moving words about your Maggie. She looks a lot like my Lila, a Hovawart (from a Lake Placid breeder). Lila and I are a few years behind you & Maggie, but eventually one of us may "slow down" faster than the other. I hope you have many more good years with Maggie!
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Old 05-02-2022, 03:33 PM   #8
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Thanks Stumpy. It's not like my girl is dying, she just gets pretty stiff after our hikes. She's on Carprofen daily and she gets a tablet of Glucosamine and Condriotin daily also. That definitely helps. The first hike was supposed to be to Rock and Little Rock Pond, but just as we got to the parking lot, three guys and three dogs were heading that way. Instead we headed toward Grizzle Ocean and Treadway. We did more miles then we should have and that probably greatly influenced Maggie's stiffness the rest of our stay. I'm still trying to balance mileage and her capabilities, and sometimes I go too far. Like I said previously, after our many thousands of miles of hiking together, while out on the trail she shows absolutely no signs of anything being wrong, it's later that night it hits her. Then the next morning she is her old self (a little stiff legged per usual, but otherwise fine). We'll keep plugging away, mile-by-mile.
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Old 05-03-2022, 08:00 AM   #9
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Justin, you did a great job at Rock Pond, because it was still clean when Maggie and I got there.
Glad to hear that. We stayed at the Clear Pond lean-to a couple weeks ago, hope that was still clean as well. And I agree, Berrymill is an overlooked gem! I am also sorry to hear about your dog. Could just be sore pads, especially if she hasnt done any longer hikes in a while.
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Old 05-10-2022, 08:44 AM   #10
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Yeah, Berrymill is a gem. And as with the other lean-tos on the eastern stretch of the PLWA, the fee to park at the campground when it is open helps to keep the use down to lower levels than you might otherwise expect.

When you return to Berrymill, it's worth bushwhacking out onto the peninsula that lies to the south of the lean-to. Apparently decades ago there was a second lean-to out on that peninsula but it is long gone.

Lost Pond is also a nice hike but it gets more use as the trailhead lies outside the campground.
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