There are so many places to visit that often making a decision on a destination can be the hardest part of a trip. This time the chosen route was to the justly popular Putnum Pond and Pharaoh Lake Wilderness Area.
Our first night we found ourselves at the Grizzle Ocean lean-to. Despite having plans to put some more miles on and hike further along the trail, we decided to stay put when we found the accommodations to our liking. After noticing some fish carcasses at the waters edge it became clear someone had success and so I snapped my fishing gear together and began casting. While I didn’t have luck yet on the fish, I did come across a patch of wild cranberries while stepping out to the edge looking for solid footing on which to take a cast. The cranberries went right into the Foraging Pouch with hopes that it would be added to a trout for the nights meal.
We made camp and began to settle in and later went back out for the magic hour in hopes of hooking into a brook trout. Ken saved the day with a licorice flavored egg that was weighted to the bottom of the pond not more than 15 feet out from shore. It caught a good size trout and allowed us to add some calories beyond our dehydrated meals. I had mostly brought spinners as they had worked well from a canoe on previous trips. Turns out many of the ol’timers use worms aka “Adirondack bacon” and even dip them in garlic scent before weighting them to the bottom of the ponds.
Back at camp, we added the cranberries to the trout and some spice and wrapped it in some heavy duty tinfoil before placing on the coals. It was delicious. Maybe the best trout I’ve had period. Although hunger is the best spice and also meeting a trip goal on the first night made it all the better. It was followed up with some Chaga Tea collected on the trail and venison tenderloin carried in for the first nights dinner.
After a long drive and hike with fully packed gear it was time to hang the bear bag and get some sleep.
We woke around 8am for breakfast and coffee and a few more casts before we hit the trail toward Pharaoh Lake.
We arrived about 2pm at a lean-to after two scout leaders who had settled in. They had taken a different hike than the scout troop which was climbing the nearby peak of Pharaoh Mountain with some challenging vertical gains of very tight topo lines. They graciously shared the space with us as Ken and Scott slept in the lean-to and Ron and myself setup our hammock rigs.
Lucky for them they were camping with bushcrafters and we had wood processed and a big fire going in no time to dry and warm us all up. After the heavy rains in the last few days, it took some scouting to find proper dead, down and dry materials that wouldn’t need to be babied all evening.
This crew has been great to camp with..everything from fire to food to water purification just happen with minimal communication necessary. I feel lucky to find a few friends who are as into these adventures as I am.
Off to enjoy some sleep after a fun long day and I think we all slept well minus some snoring and bodily sounds and smells going on in the lean-to. Glad I had my hammock and the sounds of loons to lull me to sleep.
We hit the trail and hiked along some beautiful creeks and classic Adirondack scenery. All the camping sites and lean-to’s provided excellent accommodations with beautiful views, water and fishing opportunities.
We ended up hiking for most the day and finally made camp at Little Rock Pond. With some other groups out and about some of the sites were taken limiting our choices but this worked well with our plan to have a shorter hike out on Sunday knowing we all had 4+ hour travel time to get home.
Little Rock was a beautiful spot full of the sounds of spring peepers, barred owls and bitterns. Scott hooked into a trout big enough for supper and so Ron cooked it in a pot with butter cooking it to perfection.
The trip came together wonderfully with some excellent camping, hiking, fishing, scenery and friends.
Now it’s time to pick the next destination and find a free weekend.
Adirondecks look stunning. Great photography and pics of the hikers. Good on you mate for leaving wood for the next batch of campers to come around. That’s good karma man. Would expect nothing less from you.
Thanks Michael. It’s a beautiful place for sure. I’ve always liked the philosophy of “leave places better than you found them” so tucking a bit of wood away for the next camper is one easy way to do just that.
I’m looking into a trip to Pharaoh. About how long of a hike would you say it is to the lean-to? I’ve read 10 miles from any parking area. Thanks!
Depends where you begin. Around 5 miles gets you to a few. There are over 10 in the area. Get in early to get a spot..lot of hikers in the area for good reason..beautiful place!