Stomping around the Ponds of the Adirondacks

After setting up our campsite, we made our way off to get in a quick hike before dinner time!  It seemed like the Copperas, Winch, and Owen Ponds Trail was an ideal place to start the Victoria Day long weekend (for us Canadians).  Tucked on the side of a single-lane winding highway through the mountains was a small parking lot right across the trailhead.  We actually visited this trail over the course of two days because we weren’t able to check out all the ponds in time.

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It was a beautiful day as we arrived in the High Peaks area of the Adirondacks.  After setting up our campsite, we made our way off to get in a quick hike before dinner time!  It seemed like the Copperas, Winch, and Owen Ponds Trail was an ideal place to start the Victoria Day long weekend (for us Canadians).  Tucked on the side of a single-lane winding highway through the mountains was a small parking lot right across the trailhead.  We actually visited this trail over the course of two days because we weren’t able to check out all the ponds in time.

We figured this would be a straight forward trail.  Wrong.  Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll encounter along the way through our eyes.

Parking close to the trail head which is across the street. Parking close to the trail head which is across the street. It is surprising to find a trail that is so rugged just for ponds. It is surprising to find a trail that is so rugged just for ponds.

On the contrary to what we anticipated, the trail was actually quite rugged with some surprisingly challenging ascents.  We had thought that this would be a nice warm up hike to our weekend in the Adirondacks.  It was definitely a good preparation hike but my friends were probably not so happy with it because they were still wearing jeans!  Jeans are often a big no-no in hiking — they tend to restrict your movement and are horrible at heat retention (not to mention drying off) if they happen to get wet.

Speaking of getting wet, not that any of us did — the snow melting from higher elevations was creating a nice runoff stream along the rugged trail.  Made for some nice photos but potentially slippery conditions.

The trail unfortunately was also a small stream at times.  I guess this is typical of spring time. The trail unfortunately was also a small stream at times.  I guess this is typical of spring time. Checking out where we should go first. Checking out where we should go first.

If there is one thing I love about hiking in the spring time in the Adirondacks it is the lack of flying pests.  The second thing would be the light tinge of green on everything — with a more easygoing sort of feel — not that I am implying the spring time season equates to “easygoingness”.

Crossing paths with a pretty little stream. Crossing paths with a pretty little stream. Passing by a nice looking bog -- particularly against the sunlit woods. Passing by a nice looking bog — particularly against the sunlit woods.

When we passed by some very calm looking bog areas, I was grateful that the mosquitoes weren’t out yet.  I can see them being quite hungry once they were out in force.  On the other hand, when I encountered the pond — I really wished we had a small dingy boat to hop into and paddle to the center.  The place was just so tranquil and peaceful.

Unfortunately, I don’t have trail map data available to me at this time and my GPS data doesn’t seem to help me identify the ponds I have photographed but I will provide an update with names once I figure them out.

A clear view of one of the three ponds. A clear view of one of the three ponds. Part of this trail seemed magical with the light shining into the rather dark forest. Part of this trail seemed magical with the light shining into the rather dark forest. Just chatting and enjoying the view of the second large pond. Just chatting and enjoying the view of the second large pond. Another view of the second large pond. Another view of the second large pond.

We found the trail to be quite nice and with the exception of the ruggedness of the ascent, it is a relatively accessible hiking trail.  Not too much dark forest to hike through and lots of nice-looking scenic points to stop and enjoy along the way.  Can’t complain that there were three large ponds to view either!  They were all really pretty during this time in the spring.

Another look at the second large pond, which really looks like a lake at this point.  Doesn't it? Another look at the second large pond, which really looks like a lake at this point.  Doesn’t it? Some really gnarly-looking tree roots on the trail. Some really gnarly-looking tree roots on the trail. Contemplating where to go next! Contemplating where to go next!

The trails in the Adirondacks are usually pretty well marked and have signs that communicate well — particularly the ones in the High Peaks where there is a lot of traffic from visitors in the Lake Placid area.  The challenge is often deciding where to go or what everyone wants to do or see next!

Checking out what's further downstream. Checking out what’s further downstream. On another day, we decided to explore the other part of the trail.  Starting off passing by a river On another day, we decided to explore the other part of the trail.  Starting off passing by a river The trail is pretty straight forward on this part.  Just a little rugged. The trail is pretty straight forward on this part.  Just a little rugged.

Following our hike up Cascade Mountain and Porter Mountain, we found that the weather forecast wasn’t in our favour for the remainder of our stay in the region so we decided to quickly check out the rest of this trail before packing up and heading home early.  Then we could make use of the time to hike the Bruce Trail instead!

This time we entered the Copperas, Winch, and Owen Ponds Trail from a different trailhead to get to the area that we hadn’t explored yet.  We were pleasantly surprised to come across a strong river as we hiked our way to the remaining pond that we had yet to see and enjoy.

Quite the strong current on this river. Quite the strong current on this river. One of our favourite spots on the trail -- this tree has literally grown over a boulder.  Simply brilliant. One of our favourite spots on the trail — this tree has literally grown over a boulder.  Simply brilliant.

Next to the river we stumbled upon a huge boulder and astoundingly a rather large tree that had grown over it.  One has to wonder how long that boulder had been sitting there or if the soil level had been higher and sediment had gradually been washed away over a long period of time.  I am purely speculating here but I enjoy thinking about the natural history of this boulder.

Further along this trail towards another pond. Further along this trail towards another pond. I wish we could have stayed for lunch here but we had time constraints. I wish we could have stayed for lunch here but we had time constraints. Finally finding a good place to sit down and take in the pond. Finally finding a good place to sit down and take in the pond.

This part of the trail wasn’t as challenging as the other parts that we had hiked earlier and while the weather didn’t cooperate with us, it was nice to get to tackle the remainder of the trail before we began the long drive home back to Toronto.

A pretty tranquil scene at the third pond. A pretty tranquil scene at the third pond. Time to go!  We got to see most of this trail. Time to go!  We got to see most of this trail.

Author: Ehren Cheung

An explorer of life and data. Reluctantly philosophical. A seeker of the ultimate cookie. Another tree-friendly soul with an affinity for hiking and sketching.

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