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Old 12-11-2017, 07:48 PM   #91
Dave Bourque
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Join Date: Oct 2014
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I can add a little to this discussion. I have been visiting Pharaoh Lake since the 60's. Back then the only parking lot was at Mill Brook. It was common to see family vehicles there. No one ever parked at the new parking area, it didn't really exist. The Mill Brook area is locally known as the Culverfields (sp). I believe it was named after homesteaders who lived there long ago. I've looked but never found any foundations in this area. If you look at the older maps you can see there are two routes to the Mill Brook parking area. There is also a long abandoned route from the west. If you look around you can still find it. Unfortunately it crosses private land before it reaches Ernest Smith Road, near Adirondack. So this is not a viable approach option. In the 60's, the bridge over Mill Brook was a double track and strong enough for jeeps to cross. A local man, Norman Mead, would bring us kids all the way in with his surplus army truck to go fishing. The second water crossing at Pharaoh Lake Brook was accomplished by fording as there was only a footbridge at this location. Once you arrived at the lake you were greeted by a ranger cabin in a open field. There was a large sloping deck down to the water where NYSDEC rented canoes for $2 a day. The ranger had a row boat with an outboard motor that he patrolled the lake with. He would visit the lean-tos and collect the garbage (I vaguely remember metal garbage cans at the lean-to's but I may be wrong), ferry the garbage to the ranger cabin, and truck it out with his jeep. Once NYSDEC decided to transition from interior control to peripheral control, the decision was to remove the interior ranger cabins (with exceptions - a few favorites remained; Marcy Dam, John's Brook, Lake Colden, I guess I can't blame them but I digress). The Pharaoh Lake ranger cabin was not the only ranger cabin removed. Duck Hole, Shattuck Clearing, the West Canada Lakes, and, I'm sure, many more were also removed. My first editorial - I, for one, have never felt that a ranger cabin detracted from my wilderness experiences. I miss them. With the removal of the ranger cabin came the removal of the jeep bridge at Mill Brook - it was replaced with a foot bridge thus ending 4 wheel drive access but not motorized access. I continue to visit the Pharaoh Lake area all seasons and have seen snowmobile tracks across the frozen lake. I've also seen quad tracks past the Mill Brook bridge as a foot bridge is still wide enough for quads. The first time I visited Pharaoh Lake on my own I rode my "stingray" bike all the way to the lake. I then hiked around the lake and up Pharaoh Mountain. I was greeted in the cab of the fire tower by a fire observer (sorry, I don't recall his name) who was spending the summer on the summit. He was living in the cabin (long since gone) with his wife and young child. He used a root cellar to keep his spoilable provisions cold and safe from bears. It was a wonderful experience meeting him. I miss being able to bike into Pharaoh, they are not allowed. You are allowed to ride a horse to the lake or haul a wheeled canoe cart to the lake but no bikes (there is a sign next to the register). As far as thefts in the area, a few years back we had the "hermit of Brant Lake". He camped on Park Mountain, not far from the new parking lot. I never did hear any reports of him bothering campers at Pharaoh Lake. He did manage to break into my camp and relieve me of some fine spirits but that's another story. And once, back in 2010, I spent a week on the north end of the lake during late October. When we returned to our truck we found the tires slashed. ALL FOUR!! It ended up being a wacko who was angry at the world but regretted his actions and turned himself in. He paid for the tires. So, overall, I consider the area safe. One last thought, which do you prefer? Pharaoh or Pharoah, I see both commonly used. The current guidebooks and maps use Pharaoh. This thread is using Pharoah.

Last edited by Dave Bourque; 04-06-2018 at 06:07 PM.. Reason: grammer
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