Below is a picture of Owl Pate Mountain taken from a ridge on my property along Paradox Creek several miles due South of the Mountain.
Owl Pate is the most distinctive looking of the mountains in the Hammond Pond Wild Forest. There are no hiking trails to the summit, but many people treasure the bushwack to the top. The views to the South and Southwest are excellent. Routes to the top are described in the various trail guides to the Eastern Adirondacks. The forest on top appears to have never been harvested and not touched by the fires of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. I have climbed it numerous times in all seasons of the year and with all sorts of companions and alone. Click on Owl Pate to see pictures and a short account of my most recent climb in July of '09 with my Brother-in-Law, Bruce Phipps. I have bivouacked on the eastern shoulder a number of times. It is remote enough that I've never met another soul on any of my trips for the last 40 years!
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Naomi and I walked the .8 of a mile into Hammond Pond this afternoon. Beautiful day and beautiful walk. Last night was the first hard frost of the season. The trail is quite level and clear of debris. Signage at the stream crossing for the creek, that drains Berrymill flow, near the start of the trail indicates that the trail can be used by ATVs if one has a permit for handicapped access. Signage also indicates that Bloody Pond, which is further down the trail than we are going today, is a trout fishery and that bait fish (dead or alive) are prohibited. There is little sign of ATV usage or abuse.
On the way in, it is of note that many of the grand old pine trees are dying. It is not clear what is the cause, and I am no forester, but it is clear that coming in under the dying pines is a hardwood forest. So, it may be that this area just doesn't want to grow pines and the ones that are here have just maxed out. Many of those big pines show numerous large diameter lower branches and probably started out life in open fields, clear cuts, or burnt over areas.
It should be noted that the coffer dam, which creates Hammond Pond, is slowly failing and in bad repair. The edges of the dam are anchored by driven metal piles - quite a feat for such a remote area and an indicator that the area was accessible by heavy machinery at one time. There is an old building foundation as one approaches the pond area along the road.
The Pond is more like a big open marsh and is quite extensive. There are numerous tree trunks sticking up out of the water and it looks like some of the old pictures of flooded lands from the nineteenth century. Wildlife abounds. Years ago I happened upon the pond shortly after some ice fishers had been in and saw heads of northern pike strewn about the surface of the pond.
On the rocks above the pond there had been a recent party with large bon fires and lots of empty beer cans strewn about - one was unopened which I appropriated. We picked up the trash and carried it out. The place was peaceful and quiet today. It looked like the party was this past weekend because the ash of the fires was powdery and unsettled. On a previous trip I brought in my Hornbeck and Naomi and I canoed around the pond. It is quite extensive and the open water offers some nice views of surrounding mountains.
It could be noted that, on this tuesday afternoon, there were no other users parked at the trail head which serves Berrymill, and Moose Ponds as well as Hammond Pond.