The Crooked Canes Journal


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Puffer Pond Loop Hike ~ Oct 5, 2017

Journal entry by Wanderer



I’m getting to like these wood’s walks more and more.  The Canes have done three in a row, all unique and enjoyable.  The hike to Wolf Pond last week even had views of the High Peaks for those that took time to go to the shore of the pond or its outlet.  Their trails have been gentle on our knee and hip joints and our pace less hectic, offering more time to visit and observe our surroundings more closely.  The last time the Canes hiked to Puffer Pond was back in 2000, led by Irv Boyle and then, as always, was done as an out and back hike.  This time we would do a loop hike, taking in different scenery. 

The trailhead to Puffer Pond begins only a few yards from the highly used trail to Chimney Mountain and includes connecting trails to both 13th Lake and North River.  Despite having two lean-tos on its shore, typically attracting more hikers or fishermen, the trail didn’t show evidence that it was overly used.  The trail is well marked and easy to follow, winding its way through a mature mixed forest.  There were some gentle ups and downs and a couple of wet areas to cross, before reaching Carroll Brook and the adjacent wetland where there was some color in the leaves.  It is difficult to judge the fall foliage this year – some of the higher elevations have seen the leaves turn brown and fall off but in the low lying areas the trees are showing their colors – you just have to look for it.  After crossing the brook the trail climbs at a gentle rate, gaining ~600’ in the next mile before leveling off and then descending to Puffer Pond.  We reached the first lean-to but it sits back from the pond, so everyone chose to find their perches on rocks close to the shore with nice views of the pond and surrounding hills.  The view was lovely – the pond’s surface glimmered in full sun with subdued colors in the trees that surround its shore – not yet peak.  Since the hike is rather short, at a little over 5 miles, lunch was a leisurely one with plenty time to visit and enjoy the scenery.  After a long while some took advantage of the offer to check out the second lean-to, located at the eastern end of the pond and only a few minutes’ walk.  The lean-to is very close to the shore and in need of lots of TLC – the roof is in very bad shape and the walls are leaning a bit.  I am guessing that repairs are being delayed because its location doesn’t comply with the set-back requirements from the water and that if replaced it will be located at least 150’ from shore.  There were lots of large rocks nearby that allowed a very nice view of the pond – so many in fact that the small group of explorers suggested we have a second lunch – maybe next time I told them.

Once back with the group we packed up and were on our way.  The return route is on an unmarked trail and except for the first few hundred yards it was well defined and easy to follow.  The trail first follows Puffer Pond to its end and then parallels Puffer Pond Brook, on its long descent to Kings Flow.  You could see where the brook had cut deep into the surrounding landscape, forming small but deep gorges in sections but also had flat areas where good views of the brook were possible.  Along the way there were lots of mushrooms of course and the hobble bush was dressed in fall colors of different shades of green, brown and purple.  While not abundant, there were huge maples with their towering canopies only a few feet from the trail – hard to see because of the thick underbrush.  As the trail descends it widens into what used to be an old carriage road – you had to use your imagination though – it was a long time ago.  Finally, the trail flattens out and Kings Flow is seen.  We are now on the home stretch, walking north on a wide path as it meanders along the flow – sometimes quite close, allowing some to bushwhack a few feet to get a better view, and other times the view of the flow disappeared as if  never existed.  We reached the grassy field adjacent to the parking area and knew another adventure had come to a close – a good day for sure!

 

19 photos



Preparing for a nice day ahead



Seasonal visitors enjoying the green grass



At the trailhead



Carolyn showing Denis the proper technique in crossing one of the wet areas



Wetland adjacent to Carroll's Brook



Color has arrived at Puffer Pond



Tree with a window



Jo-Ellen and Barbara enjoying some sun at lunch



Some color but you had to look for it



The group at our lunch spot. Someone had to have said something funny to have them all laughing



Puffball mushrooms - there were lots of them to be found near the pond. Someone suggested that the pond was named after them. Not true - everyone knows that the pond was named after the freshwater species of the puffer fish found only in Puffer Pond - trust me!



The return trail "Well defined and easy to follow!"



Turkey tail mushrooms - the green variety



A little bit of Puffer Pond Brook



Gnarly burl on a downed tree



Lisa (friend of Carolyn visiting from Florida) dancing across a creek with Carolyn, Karen and Bob anticipating a "Kodak moment"



View of Kings Flow looking south from its shore along the trail



View of the north end of Kings Flow from just off the trail



Close to the end of our adventure




Attendees:  Linda & Peter, Diane & Kurt, Bob Armao, Dale, Barbara, Linda P, Karen Burke, Denis, Lori, Carolyn, Lisa, Ed, Gail, Jo-Ellen

BTW - If I am not mistaken the trail from the lean-to along Puffer Pond Brook to Kings Flow will be incorporated into the new North Country National Scenic Trail which begins at Crown Point and will stretch 4600 miles to its end in North Dakota. 

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