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Old 04-03-2022, 11:58 AM   #1
VinoNoir
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Janacks Landing to Cowhorn Pond

Good morning,

I am wondering if anyone has portaged a canoe from Janacks landing to the various ponds east (Glasby, Cat Mt. pond, Cowhorn, Bassout)? Is it doable with 5 days gear and a canoe? Would I be able to fill 5 days going this route?

I completed the Cranberry 50 years ago, but I dont recall the terrain through that area, with regards to portaging (I was just a hiker then).

Anyway, Cowhorn pond, and Olmstead, have always made an impression on me, and I would love to be able to paddle and hike my way around the 5 ponds area, without having to venture too far north into Cranberry lakes' motor boats.

Also, if its doable. I wouldnt mind finding a way to Indian Mt.

Thank you in advance.
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Old 04-03-2022, 01:47 PM   #2
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Of course it is possible. Do you have a Hornbeck or other pack boat? Cowhorn at one time was a highly cherished destination. There are others along the way to explore off the western end of Lows as well.The once well worn trails were decimated during the 1995 derecho, but most have breen reopened and are somewhat traveled again, but expect a few difficult spots.
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Old 04-03-2022, 02:39 PM   #3
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Indian Mt. and Indian Mt. Pond can be most easily approached from the CL 50 trail heading west from Chairrock Creek. As you hike up the hogback, you need to continue straight along old hunters/logging trails that lead to the ponds. At one point the trail was marked with red discs.
From the west you can also bushwack from near Sliding Rock Falls , also along old hunters trails skirting some beaver flows.
The ponds are not very big, I wouldn't bother with a boat. This is Indian Mt. Pond.
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Old 04-03-2022, 07:38 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Wldrns View Post
Of course it is possible. Do you have a Hornbeck or other pack boat? Cowhorn at one time was a cheriished destination. There are others along the way to explore off the western end of Lows as well.The once well worn trails were decimated during the 1995 derecho, but most have breen reopened and are somewhat traveled again, but expect a few difficult spots.
My buddy and I will be carrying a Kevlar Wenonah. We would like to explore most of the ponds east, on the way towards Indian Mt.

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Indian Mt. and Indian Mt. Pond can be most easily approached from the CL 50 trail heading west from Chairrock Creek. As you hike up the hogback, you need to continue straight along old hunters/logging trails that lead to the ponds. At one point the trail was marked with red discs.
From the west you can also bushwack from near Sliding Rock Falls , also along old hunters trails skirting some beaver flows.
The ponds are not very big, I wouldn't bother with a boat. This is Indian Mt. Pond.
Perhaps we will skip Indian Mt., and stay on the ponds between Janacks Landing and Cowhorn. We wouldnt want to leave the boat at Janacks, if we decide to camp on one of the other ponds. Besides, the canoe should help for fishing, and exploring.

That's a neat looking rock face in your Indian Mountain pond picture.
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Old 04-03-2022, 08:40 PM   #5
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It's certainly been done. Glasby wouldn't be too far from Janacks Landing. For Cowhorn I might consider coming from Lows instead, by way of Big Deer Pond.

A certain forum member here has paddled every named body of water within the boundaries of the Five Ponds Wilderness... perhaps he'll see this thread and chime in.
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Old 04-04-2022, 03:17 PM   #6
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All of the above, but sometimes all you need to carry is a paddle to use on one of the many abandoned boats, oh and a pfd....
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Old 04-04-2022, 03:18 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by DSettahr View Post
It's certainly been done. Glasby wouldn't be too far from Janacks Landing. For Cowhorn I might consider coming from Lows instead, by way of Big Deer Pond.

A certain forum member here has paddled every named body of water within the boundaries of the Five Ponds Wilderness... perhaps he'll see this thread and chime in.
My thought was to follow the hiking trails from the Janacks landing leanto, to Glasby pond.

Glasby ---->Cat Mt. trail (may as well hike that on the way).
Cat Mt. trail---------> Cowhorn junction trail.
Cowhorn junction trail---> Cowhorn pond.

If possible, continue on to hike/paddle all the way up, or along, Six Mile Creek to West Flow, in South Bay of Cranberry.


I guess I want to know if the trails would be conducive to carrying a canoe from pond to pond? And would it even be worth the effort? Im trying to plan a hybrid trip this year. One where we split our time between paddling and hiking/exploration via a base camp, or something. If you have any suggestions, I am open.

With regards to your route to Cowhorn, via Lows. Specifically, which way are you suggesting? From Big Deer pond to Tamarack to Slender to Cowhorn?

Are there trails between these ponds?
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Old 04-04-2022, 03:52 PM   #8
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Simmons and Speculator

From Cowhorn to West Flow, via the Six Mile Brook Trail/CL50 is doable if a bit long. You can bypass the CL50 loop that goes past Olmstead, Simmons, and Speculator Ponds. You will pass Sliding Rock Falls if you do.We call that the SOS loop. Do you fish? You will not be paddling Six Mile Creek...except maybe a small beaver flow or two. Olmstead has a LT and two nice tent sites. Carry on the SOS will be very difficult in a few spots... There is a spring on the east side of the trail just before West Flow. Campsite on the west bank a hundred yards north.
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Old 04-04-2022, 04:05 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by VinoNoir View Post
I guess I want to know if the trails would be conducive to carrying a canoe from pond to pond? And would it even be worth the effort? Im trying to plan a hybrid trip this year. One where we split our time between paddling and hiking/exploration via a base camp, or something. If you have any suggestions, I am open.

With regards to your route to Cowhorn, via Lows. Specifically, which way are you suggesting? From Big Deer pond to Tamarack to Slender to Cowhorn?

Are there trails between these ponds?
These ponds were well trailed and traveled before 1995. Tamarac had its own species of unique trout, and although it was off limits to fishing, I have heard that there are no more trout left in it. Then it took about 10 years to open most after the derecho. Which is not to mean that folks did not find parts of the trails unaffected or that bushwhack between ponds was impossible. I recall crawling over piles of downed tree logs randomly stacked together as much as 15 feet high, plus the tangle of small branch tops. Which is why I said it is possible. but with some difficulty, depending on how badly you want it. Those log stacks and brush tangles are for the most part gone now. High points and ridges may still be harder to travel on than through lower elevations that were not as hard hit by the wind. I actually found it much easier to bushwhack in a relatively untouched open ravine leading to Cowhorn rather than to attempt to stay on the old original marked trail.
I know the trail from Lows vis BDP and up to Slender is now open, but I am not familiar with recent passage status west of Cowhorn.

If you look at the topo map, there are a number of very interesting destinations to explore in the region bounded by said ponds and beyond. Some better known than others, some ripe for exciting discovery for the first time if you don't already know about them. I'll mention just one, which I call Jurassic Park. If you visit there, you will see why I named it as such.
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Old 04-04-2022, 07:56 PM   #10
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Is that large maple in the picture above still alive?
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Old 04-04-2022, 08:41 PM   #11
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Is that large maple in the picture above still alive?
You will have to go there to find out.
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Old 04-04-2022, 09:02 PM   #12
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You will have to go there to find out.
I may... but I was curious if it was when the pic was taken. It has some fungi on it, but I was curious if it had been killed by the storm and left standing.
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Old 04-04-2022, 09:17 PM   #13
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I may... but I was curious if it was when the pic was taken. It has some fungi on it, but I was curious if it had been killed by the storm and left standing.
I believe that tree, as well as many others nearby, was alive at the time of the photo. Deadfall and former standing stubs of broken trees from the derecho of several years prior were by then long gone at the level and vicinity of that particular tree. Other live mature trees nearby are obvioiusly alive, as you can also see in the far background of the photo.
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Old 04-04-2022, 09:26 PM   #14
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I believe that tree, as well as many others nearby, was alive at the time of the photo. Deadfall and former standing stubs of broken trees from the derecho of several years prior were by then long gone at the level and vicinity of that particular tree. Other live mature trees nearby are obvioiusly alive, as you can also see in the far background of the photo.
It looks like an old tree. I think it's a red maple, but I'm not 100%. I'd bet it's over or around 200 years old.

At any rate, it'd be great if some of those old trees survived, particularly on the edge of that fen (is it a fen?). It has a good, straight, thick stem. Probably tough enough. Although perhaps the whorled maples do better (I think you might have mentioned that).
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Old 04-04-2022, 09:41 PM   #15
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Not a fen. Where my companions are walking in the photo it is completely dry solid ground all the way to the far treeline. Before 1995, in a location about a half mile from this location there was a quarter mile long stand of very large virgin white pine trees. After the derecho, all were lost, except for just a single one remaining that only lost a segment of its topmost portion. I have heard that this tree was at one time in contention for the largest white pine in the state. It is another of those area unique locations to find that we call "the old man". I use this and other interesting points to find in the area during a guide training course as a land navigation destination test (traditional map and compass only is allowed, please).
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Old 04-04-2022, 09:47 PM   #16
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Got it - I think you mentioned this before, but I wasn't sure it was the same spot.

I was actually struggling to figure out what it was, because the fern dominance didn't scream fen to me, although I'm pretty poor at photo recognition.


That's really interesting actually... there must be something topographically/geographically significant about that spot to have seeded with old white pine (so we know historically it had been wiped by a storm) and then to be cleared of them - makes me wonder if they'll come in there again.
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Old 04-06-2022, 07:13 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by DSettahr View Post
It's certainly been done. Glasby wouldn't be too far from Janacks Landing. For Cowhorn I might consider coming from Lows instead, by way of Big Deer Pond.

A certain forum member here has paddled every named body of water within the boundaries of the Five Ponds Wilderness... perhaps he'll see this thread and chime in.
If you are referring to Conk, I haven't seen many posts lately but he does sign on to Canoetripping and does post on Facebook.

https://www.canoetripping.net/thread...ondacks.98482/

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Old 04-07-2022, 11:49 AM   #18
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A certain forum member here has paddled every named body of water within the boundaries of the Five Ponds Wilderness... perhaps he'll see this thread and chime in.
There are 95 named ponds within the Five Ponds Wilderness. I have added 21 that do not have names. While I have visited all 116 on this list, only 90 of them have wetted the hull of my canoe. Some are so small they do not warrant the effort, the rest, are on a yet to paddle list.
To the question of doable, the answer is yes, very much so. The first 2 miles from Janacks Landing is a steady climb to a point halfway between Glasby and Cat Mountain Ponds. There is considerably less uphill on the next mile to Cowhorn. This three-mile carry will present opportunity to explore four very interesting ponds and more than fill five days of adventure. If the return journey is to Wanakena it is almost equidistant to continue north to West Flow for a lake paddle back to town, but know that Cranberry can present challenging conditions. The question I might ask is, what's the weight of your canoe and gear and how much do you enjoy carrying them? The ponds mentioned in this thread are the ones that set me on a quest to conquer them all.
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Old 04-07-2022, 08:19 PM   #19
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From Cowhorn to West Flow, via the Six Mile Brook Trail/CL50 is doable if a bit long. You can bypass the CL50 loop that goes past Olmstead, Simmons, and Speculator Ponds. You will pass Sliding Rock Falls if you do.We call that the SOS loop. Do you fish? You will not be paddling Six Mile Creek...except maybe a small beaver flow or two. Olmstead has a LT and two nice tent sites. Carry on the SOS will be very difficult in a few spots... There is a spring on the east side of the trail just before West Flow. Campsite on the west bank a hundred yards north.
Good to know that its doable from Cowhorn to Westflow, via the Six (even if we can't paddle it). The "SOS loop" would be bypassed.

I do fish. I just suck at catching

Thank you for the heads up on the sites, and spring locale.

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These ponds were well trailed and traveled before 1995. Tamarac had its own species of unique trout, and although it was off limits to fishing, I have heard that there are no more trout left in it. Then it took about 10 years to open most after the derecho. Which is not to mean that folks did not find parts of the trails unaffected or that bushwhack between ponds was impossible. I recall crawling over piles of downed tree logs randomly stacked together as much as 15 feet high, plus the tangle of small branch tops. Which is why I said it is possible. but with some difficulty, depending on how badly you want it. Those log stacks and brush tangles are for the most part gone now. High points and ridges may still be harder to travel on than through lower elevations that were not as hard hit by the wind. I actually found it much easier to bushwhack in a relatively untouched open ravine leading to Cowhorn rather than to attempt to stay on the old original marked trail.
I know the trail from Lows vis BDP and up to Slender is now open, but I am not familiar with recent passage status west of Cowhorn.

If you look at the topo map, there are a number of very interesting destinations to explore in the region bounded by said ponds and beyond. Some better known than others, some ripe for exciting discovery for the first time if you don't already know about them. I'll mention just one, which I call Jurassic Park. If you visit there, you will see why I named it as such.
We spent 5 days on Lows last year. What a great area. Although we did not explore the furthest western bay.

Im not looking to crawl and climb my way through blowdown. I dont want it that badly. But to be clear, the derecho affected area encompasses the region south and east of Cowhorn?

The area bounded by BDP, Nicks, Clear, Slender, and Tamarack? One day I will have to find your "Jurassic Park". Looks like tick heaven in your picture. Thank you for sharing.

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There are 95 named ponds within the Five Ponds Wilderness. I have added 21 that do not have names. While I have visited all 116 on this list, only 90 of them have wetted the hull of my canoe. Some are so small they do not warrant the effort, the rest, are on a yet to paddle list.
To the question of doable, the answer is yes, very much so. The first 2 miles from Janacks Landing is a steady climb to a point halfway between Glasby and Cat Mountain Ponds. There is considerably less uphill on the next mile to Cowhorn. This three-mile carry will present opportunity to explore four very interesting ponds and more than fill five days of adventure. If the return journey is to Wanakena it is almost equidistant to continue north to West Flow for a lake paddle back to town, but know that Cranberry can present challenging conditions. The question I might ask is, what's the weight of your canoe and gear and how much do you enjoy carrying them? The ponds mentioned in this thread are the ones that set me on a quest to conquer them all.
Not sure if that was a rhetorical question or not, but..My buddy and I would be carrying a 42lb Spirit II. Gear weight, not counting water, generally would be much higher (40lbs+ per person), but Id imagine we would pack much lighter (30lbs or under) if we tried this trip.

Do you know if the passage is clear, with regards to blowdowns etc? Have been through the area recently?

Ill have to talk it over with the group, but considering this is mostly a hike, it sounds like this venture would be best with a pack canoe and minimal gear.

Thank you for sharing your knowledge. While I haven't the ambition you do, to conquer them all. I will say the area nonetheless made an impression on me. One I wont soon forget..When we did the CL50 years ago, I recall finding a pool air mattress at the Cowhorn LT. What a welcome piece a trash that was. It held air long enough for us to take turns getting in a good float and soak, on a hot and humid summer afternoon, after hiking all day. And Olmstead pond, was a real beauty.

Thanks again.
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Old 04-07-2022, 09:06 PM   #20
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Vino,

I cannot comment on the current tick popultion, but I have not had any recent issues with them in the area, but I do treat my clothing with permethrin. I was last in there in June 2021. I do bushwhack in the area rather extensively off trail, as I use the favored unique landscape features as off trail destinations to train and test new wilderness guides.That is how I discovered some of my favorite sites. Very little to none of the 1995 derecho remains as any notable obstacle off trail. But I do know that the former marked existing trails, at least the ones starting at Lows, are open and clear for travel. If you are a trail walker (or not), there should not be anything extensive to crawl over, save for a rare new blowdown tree.
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