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Old 10-17-2019, 05:45 PM   #1
Tick Magnet
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Center, Clear & John Pond, SPWA, 16 Oct, 2019

On Wednesday, I made my annual fall pilgrimage to visit my daughter at school in the St. Lawrence valley. Tredhed accompanied me this time as we had some business in Saranac Lake this morning. I've had the NW corner of the Siamese Ponds Wilderness Area on my radar for some time and this was a perfect opportunity to scratch an old itch. Leaving the Hamilton County Mosquito Preserve rather early, we arrived at the Indian Lake area remote trailhead around 8:30.



We decided to do the loop hike clockwise this morning for no other reason than our last leg from John Pond to the trailhead was supposed to be flat. First, we backtracked a hundred yards down the woods road to Wilderness Rd.



We walked 300 yds. up the road until we came to the trailhead for Clear Pond.



We headed up the trail, which was liberally marked with yellow disks.



About halfway to Clear Pond, we noticed a blue disked trail heading off to the north in the direction of Center Pond. We hadn't planned on this being an option, as the trail doesn't show up on any maps. Figuring it can't be too far to Center Pond, we struck out down the trail, crossing the outlet of Clear Pond within a few minutes.



After 10 minutes of walking, the trail came close enough to Center Pond for us to walk out on the bog mat and admire the scenery.



Backtracking 10 minutes to the loop trail, we then continued the remaining half-mile to the red disked Clear Pond spur. A hundred yards later, we were at the designated campsite on Clear Pond with a nice view of Bullhead Mt. and looming storm clouds to the southeast.



We checked out the cool rocks at the outlet and the small flotilla of duct taped john boats and then set off down the loop trail for our next destination. On imagery, I noticed a rocky area on a small hill to the east of Clear Pond. I've seen dozens of trip reports and blogs about the John Pond ledges, but none about this little hill. Now, I know why.

We easily accomplished the short 1/4 mile bushwhack up the tiny 150' high hill and easily found the open rock. The problem was that there were no views; the trees were too tall and the hill wasn't tall enough. I did enjoy the delicate carpet of moss and this lonely red pine seedling.



After sneaking some peeks through the trees at Bullhead Mt., we headed back down the hill to the loop trail.



As we approached John Pond, the hardwoods gave way to some beautiful red pine (source of the sapling on the small hill?). Next, we took the red disked spur trail to the lean-to site. The lean-to was well situated back from the shore of the pond and was in immaculate condition.



After a small snack and signing the lean-to log book, we explored the shore of John Pond. We'll get to those ledges some day...



Heading out of John Pond, we passed the Puffer Pond cut-off trail and then an old foundation. As we crossed the John Pond outlet, the trees changed again. This time, white pine was the dominant species. A short while later, we came to the much publicized graveyard. It was sad to see the graves of 14 yr. old Eliza and 9 year old Peter, but very cool that they're not forgotten.



After paying our respects, it was time to walk out the 1.5 miles back to the parking lot. Once again, the trees changed, this time to white spruce as the trail paralleled the John Pond outlet marshes. The miles went by quickly on this very flat old road.



In no time, we were back to the vehicle and ready to continue our journey up to St. Larry's valley. We saw a lot of stuff on this loop hike. The side trips were enjoyable and the terrain wasn't difficult at all. Next time, we'll hit the John Pond ledges and I might rethink that last statement. Either way, this is a neat area to explore and I'm glad Tredhed and I had a rain-free morning to do it.
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Old 10-17-2019, 08:48 PM   #2
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I love the picture of the rocky area and the seedling, that kind of lichen and moss garden is one of my favorite things to find. I visited Clear Pond in 2011 or 2013 in August, I think that the water level was lower then since I seem to recall the rocky area being even bigger than in your picture. I was interested in trying the bushwhack along the ridge through that area that Barbara McMartin described in the old Discover book I was using as a reference but I didn't have time then and I don't know if the views along it would be mostly overgrown these days anyway. Thanks for posting your trip reports, I always enjoy getting to see new and interesting places and your pictures are very nice.
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Old 10-17-2019, 08:54 PM   #3
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Very nice collection of photos of your outing! Thanx for sharing!
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Old 10-17-2019, 09:55 PM   #4
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Another good TR!
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Old 10-17-2019, 09:59 PM   #5
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A beautiful area for certain. Must be popular in winter with that terrain and the short distances from road.
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Old 10-18-2019, 08:11 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zach View Post
I love the picture of the rocky area and the seedling, that kind of lichen and moss garden is one of my favorite things to find.
Me too

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Old 10-18-2019, 08:15 AM   #7
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A beautiful area for certain. Must be popular in winter with that terrain and the short distances from road.
That's what we thought too. A few steep pitches with awkward turns at the bottom, but totally doable on skis.

Someone else must have thought the same thing as these were posted periodically.

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Old 10-18-2019, 01:08 PM   #8
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We have skied it many times,a short easy flatish trip.And IL always has abundant snow.
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