Steve Harris ponders whether to continue to Moose Pond, or to turn back. Old age and wisdom, soon sent him on the trip back home.
Following last week’s spell of foul weather which threatened to wash away winter, it appears the season has rebounded. Prior to this week’s storm, I had taken a trip south to Newcomb, with hopes that the south slopes of the High Peaks held snow.
Fortunately, I found few signs that winter was winding down in that town, and I discovered forests that were full of snow. There were also plenty of skiers and shoer’s as well.
I had planned to enjoy a leisurely ski trip into Great Camp Santanoni with an old friend, but we discovered the trail was crowded with a host of similarly minded travelers, who were enjoying an open house at the Great Camp.
The annual event, hosted by the Adirondack Architectural Heritage, was also attended by a small press corps, and a number of state officials, including DEC Commissioner Joe Martens, Region 5 DEC Director Bob Stegeman and his Public Affairs Officer, Dave Winchell.
I got there before the crowd arrived, and I enjoyed speaking with George Canon, supervisor of Newcomb about the potential boom in state lands that may soon be available all around his small town.
Mr. Canon appeared optimistic that the former Finch Pruyn lands would benefit the local economy, and he also appeared confident the newly acquired lands would be able to provide reasonable public access for those seeking traditional pursuits such as hunting and fishing.
With the potential for having over 160,000 acres of new, wild lands on the doorstep, Newcomb may soon become the new hub of wilderness travel in the Adirondacks.
Surrounded by soaring peaks, raging waters, and a variety of small ponds and large lakes, Newcomb has always been a gateway to the big woods. I just hope it doesn’t get too busy, and on Saturday, it was.
After slogging along behind a long line of visitors, my friend and I slipped off on a side trail that led off away from the crowds, in the direction of Moose Pond, which according to the trail marker was about 7 miles distant.
Although neither of us had planned on a 14 mile, round trip day, the combination of great snow conditions and the lack of company, other than a friendly otter and a shy fisher, were just too much to refuse.
The trail provided a nice mix of long downhill runs, sweeping banked turns and just enough wildlife to keep it interesting.
However, as we got close to the pond, the winds picked up, and the sun was already well off to the west.
We stopped at a trail junction, which indicated it was only .2 miles to the pond, which we could clearly see through the open hardwood forest. And while we could see the ice, we both realized we had already covered a lot of territory, and we had an equal distance to return.
It was a moment we each agreed, deserved a photo. The shots were taken, and soon, with a newly discovered discretion, we turned our older bodies around and followed a well, packed track back to the parking lot.
Tired, and just a bit sore, we both swore we’d do it all again as we got ready to set off in different directions. And if the snow holds up, as it appears it will, we’ll be back at it again this coming weekend. While spring may have already sprung on the calendar, there is still plenty of winter to be had before I’m ready to pack away the ski poles and head off to the fishin’ holes.
Fortunately, the public is free to visit Camp Santanoni all year round, and they can also camp on some of the more than 12,000 acres which were once part of the private Pruyn estate. And best of all, there are easier ways to get there beyond skiing or hiking. The well maintained carriage road is serviced in season by horse and carriage, and it is open to bicycles as well.
AARCH also offers day-long guided tours of the camp in the summer months. For information about Camp Santanoni guided tours, call AARCH at (518) 834-9328 or (518) 582-5472.
For information regarding canoe, kayak, and mountain bike rentals, contact Cloud Splitter Outfitters, 28N, Newcomb, NY 12852, call (518) 582-2583 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
For information on horse-drawn wagon rides into the camp, contact: David O'Donnell (518) 582-2360.
For local weather, ski conditions and ‘ice out’ information, call the Adirondack Interpretive Center in Newcomb at: (518) 582-2000.
Armchair Angling Adventures
While there are many anglers who simply can’t wait for ice out, there are a few lucky long-rodders who simply refuse to quit when the local lakes and streams are socked in by ice and snow. Where to they go for their thrills? To an armchair of course, preferably at the annual Drake Flyfishing Film Tour.
This year’s event is scheduled for Saturday, March 23 beginning at 7 p.m. at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts and as always it will feature a collection of films that will transport audiences to the beautiful places where trout can be found. The Drake Festival is a benefit event sponsored by the Tri-Lakes Chapter of Trout Unlimited to aid in the protection and improvement of local and statewide coldwater fisheries. For tickets and information please contact, Wiley's Flies at 891-1829 or Jones Outfitters at 523-3468.
Joe Hackett is a guide and sportsman residing in Ray Brook. Contact him at email@example.com.