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Wintergreen Point
This past weekend provided unusually mild temperatures, which made for some superb wilderness camping weather.  I had been planning a trip with Seth Greenky of Syracuse for weeks and we were able to make the most of truly fabulous fall conditions.

Seth and I met up at The Crossroads, in Chestertown, N.Y., where a lucky hunter was giddy over an eight-point 190 pound buck he had just taken.  The Crossroads is a stop that suits nearly every need for the avid outdoorsman; the fisherman, hunter, or hiker can find great food, gas, clothing, beer, and the best selection of cold-water fishing gear in the area.  After a quick bite to eat, we left for the trailhead.

To say that Pharaoh Lake Road is rough would be a gross understatement.  While considered legally closed by the DEC, access is not denied.  Some areas of flagging at the beginning of the rough section indicate that this may soon change, though.  Nevertheless, we were able to drive almost the entire way to the parking area at Mill Brook.  One area of washout made me a bit leery and we decided not to chance it.  A lot of clearance and four-wheel drive are necessities for those who choose to take on this rough, wet trek.  Walking the rough section adds 1.1 miles to hike.

Hurricane Irene had previously washed out the bridge at Mill Brook.  Fortunately, it has been replaced.  After years of wading, there is also a log walkway over the notorious flooded section before the sign-in register.  While peak colors are behind us, Seth and I were able to enjoy some low-lying orange foliage which brightened the hike.  Leading the way was Seth's golden retriever, Saul, who sported a bright red coat to alert hunters.  Saul added a lot of humor to the trip as he regularly hopped off trail for a quick dip in any water that he could find.  He is also a near twin to my eight year-old golden Pharaoh, who was named after the very place we were targeting that day.  For those who know Pharaoh, you will see the resemblance in the pictures--it's stunning.
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Seth, with Saul, at the outlet of Pharaoh Lake.
The trail climbs above a now fairly empty marsh--another victim of Irene.  Beaver activity was still obvious, and it only seems a matter of time before they will have the area dammed again.

Before long we arrived at the outlet of Pharaoh Lake which provided a nice photo op for Seth and Saul.  After signing in we took the trail up the Eastern shore of the lake, where we settled in to our waterfront sites.  The view from Lean-To #1 provides views of Watch Rock on the western shore, two of Pharaoh's picturesque islands, and Treadway Mountain towering above to the Northwest.  A beautiful hemlock that acted as a Pharaoh landmark on the first island is sadly gone.


Seth and I dined on freeze dried meals throughout the trip, with Mountain House Beef Stroganoff, Spaghetti with Meat Sauce, and Pasta Primavera being favorites.  We rehydrated our meals using water directly from the lake--a water purification device is a must for trips such as these.  After brining a few cups of water to a boil using ultra-light MSR stoves, it was time to eat, and we ate well.

Saturday called for a day hike to Wintergreen Point.  Although it was Seth's first venture here, I was equally excited as I hadn't traversed the Eastern Shore trail in some time; my Hornbeck was my usual means of travel, but taking in the beautiful panoramas by foot was indeed a treat.  Saul plunged in the water whenever a good opportunity prevented itself, and lead the way as the pack leader the rest of the time.  Wintergreen Point is a true spectacle: with a view that encompasses the entire northern part of the lake as well as Pharaoh Mountain looming to the west, this spot should not be missed.  We agreed that the tent site here would make a great target for a future adventure.

Overall, it would be hard to script a better weekend.  Seth and Saul were terrific clients and I enjoyed their company greatly. The wonders of Pharaoh Lake Wilderness are many.  There is no better place to experience the magic of waterfront wilderness camping in the Adirondacks. 

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Some lingering fall colors on the trail to Pharaoh Lake.
Seth
10/29/2012 07:54:21 pm

Amazing weekend with an amazing guide. It just wets the appetite for the kind of mental escape that only exists in very few places on Earth. The fact that we are able to access this is a gift from God. My plan- utilize the guidance of Kyle for many future trips.

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6/5/2013 09:18:22 pm

I recommend you to visit Lake Lanier and enjoy the nature.

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6/18/2013 01:23:23 am

If you are going on a camping trip into the wilderness, and do not forget to bring a Swiss army knife. Can be of great benefit.

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