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Old 02-05-2020, 06:21 PM   #1
Tick Magnet
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Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Ballston Lake, NY
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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!




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.
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