After moving to the Adirondacks five years ago, I knew then that every weekend would be spent trying to do something I hadn't done before. Whether it would consist of hiking a new trail, trying out a new brew pub, or driving down country roads to explore new towns, there was no reason to sit inside. The adventure seekers and I (my rambunctious Lab mix and outdoor-enthusiast boyfriend) have since labeled these days "saddle up" days.
Not every weekend had to be as strenuous as bagging High Peaks or putting extensive miles on my car, however. Exploring new brew pubs is also optional, but almost always concludes our adventures for the day. What's great about living and working in this area is that you always have options to suit your mood or timeline. My particular mood as of late feels more like Sunday morning then Eye of the Tiger, so I set out to create my own version of the Tupper Lake Triad on a more relaxed level.
Looking for a relatively quick walk in the woods, we decided to explore Trombley Landing. We had plans to visit the new brew pub, Big Tupper Brewing, so we were dressed in shorts and sneakers. Since we had our dog with us as well, we had to find a place to get some energy out that wouldn't necessarily warrant lacing up hiking boots or strapping on gaters. It was a hot afternoon and we knew this trail opened up to the Raquette River, so it seemed like the perfect trek to fit our mood (we were ready for food and beer).
The trail for Trombley Landing is located right at the "Y" heading northeast out of downtown Tupper Lake toward Saranac Lake -- the "Y" is where Routes 3 and 30 split. If you make a left, you'll find yourself at the Fish Creek Campground, which is just about 5 miles up the road, where more great leisurely options, such as the Deer Pond Loop, await you.
The parking area for Trombley Landing is not marked, so when you pull in but don't notice a specific trailhead sign, don't worry -- you have arrived. The trail starts just off to the left of the parking area. It was a bit overgrown at the start but it is a relatively flat trail, especially on the way to the river.
Since it was late afternoon, the sun was peering through the dense trees creating a soft glow, adding to the peaceful walk. It wasn't long before we were at the river's edge, which was calm, serene, and quiet. To our left was a lean-to, which was a nice surprise, complete with a firepit containing an earlier traveler's extinguished fire. In hindsight, I would have brought some cheese, crackers, and a bottle of wine to sit in the lean-to and enjoy the sunset. Our dog took a quick dip in the water (although part Lab, she's not one for swimming) and we started our walk back to the car. While a little more uphill on the way back, the trail was simply an enjoyable -- and quick -- walk in the woods.
Within a mile northeast of Trombley Landing is the trailhead for Panther Mountain, a short but steep hike located right off of Route 3 between Saranac Lake and the "Y" previously mentioned above. If you do not keep an eye out, you may initially pass the parking lot, which is across the street from the trailhead. Hikers beware! Route 3 is busy, so be sure to look both ways, keep your dog on a tight leash, and scurry like a chipmunk across the highway.
After being out of the hiking game for a season, I wanted to do something that was short, would make me break a sweat, but would also get my legs back under me. This is what I call a season opener.
The adventure seekers and I took to the hill after work, loaded with cheese, crackers, and a six pack (you may start to sense a theme here, but please know that we also had water and dog treats, and are both confident in our hiking abilities). It was an immediate incline, with some rocks and roots to navigate around, and I found myself quickly wishing I had not packed a bag full of cheese and beer. On the other hand, my boyfriend seemed to be on a record-breaking-climbing mission and was nearly sprinting up the mountain. If you want to feel bad about yourself, climb a less-than-1-mile-to-the-top trail with an over-achiever. Needless to say, we arrived at the summit fairly quickly, even though the trail was a bit challenging.
Although not a tall mountain, we were still rewarded with a beautiful view of Panther Pond just below and the Seward Range in the background. And the best part? Even after taking some time to enjoy our cheese and crackers (and beer, of course ), we were packed up and back down to our car before sunset.
Stoney Creek Pond
Stoney Creek Pond is similar to Panther Mountain in that if you aren't specifically looking for it, you might fly by the trailhead at 55 mph. About 1 mile before the trailhead for Panther Mountain on Route 3 you will find a parking lot for Indian Carry, where you can also hitch a ride to Chapel Island and get, well, hitched. The actual trailhead for Stoney Creek Pond is across the road (think scurrying chipmunk) and tucked into the woods. The trail is only a half mile one way but it's surrounded by dense, old growth pines, some of which resembled what I would imagine a tree would look like in a Harry Potter book.
Aside from watching for tree roots, the hike down to the pond was relatively quick and easy. This is actually a canoe carry trail, for those who are more ambitious and on their way to or from Upper Saranac Lake. It was calm and peaceful once at the pond, with an open and beautiful view; another scenic reward for seemingly little effort. Seeing a foot path to the right of where the original trail led us, we decided to explore a bit further and noticed open areas for camping. A group of paddlers were on their way to shore to most likely stake their claim, as smoke started to rise from across the pond where other campers had already stopped for the night. There were no speed records to be set here, and no dinner plans to attend to. Just another perfect spot for cracking open a can of beer and sitting in good company, rounding out yet another "Saddle Up" day.
This week our bloggers highlight favorite ADK hikes: