Category Archives: Siamese Ponds Wilderness
The Peak Mountain hike at the northern end of the Siamese Ponds Wilderness is normally reserved for clear days, to take advantage of sweeping views from the summit. But with forecasts calling for thunderstorms later in the day, I was looking for a close-to-home hiking option, so I could be at the trailhead early.
I hadn’t been up the Peaked Mountain Pond Trail in several years, so I decided to go for it. The morning dawned clear, and I had visions of snagging fleeting views from the top. I made it to the trailhead at the end of the Beach Road at 7am. As I walked along the shore of Thirteenth Lake, I could see that Balm of Gilead summit was in and out of the mist, and I knew the odds of seeing anything from the summit of Peaked were slim.
The Halfway Brook Trail was another traditional path through the Garnet Hills, in the Southern Adirondacks. It was used by locals for decades prior to the land’s inclusion into the Forest Preserve. In the 1930s, it was traveled by mine workers moving from their North River living quarters to the mine each day. In the last 50 years, the trail has been used mostly during the winter by backcountry skiers.
Halfway Brook Trail now officially extends all the way to the old farm road, absorbing (and shortening) a trail that had been called “Overlook” on the Garnet Hill trail map for years. I was never sure if Overlook was actually a new name for part of the Halfway Brook Trail, or something truly distinct. To further complicate things, the first section of the trail, became known as the William Blake Pond Trail — another result of the way lodge guests used the route.
Since I first started skiing at Garnet Hill in the 1980s, Botheration Pond has captivated my imagination. I’d see it on the map, so close, yet tucked away. It symbolized all the remote spots in the Siamese Ponds Wilderness that were out of my reach.
Together The Vly and Botheration Pond form the headwaters of the East Branch of the Sacandaga. When I studied the map, it seemed that the waterway would offer a long stretch of easy, beautiful and remote marsh skiing. With an intriguing name and no trail accessing it from state land, I was very curious about that pond.
I woke at 5 am today and spent the morning stacking wood and getting ready for next season. By the early afternoon I was ready for a break and decided to check out the “new” trail that connects Peaked Mountain Brook to the Hour Pond trail on the western side of Thirteenth Lake.
I’ve been thinking a lot about Thirteenth Lake lately — it just seemed appropriate to hike the newest trail in the Siamese Ponds Wilderness and complete a loop around the lake.