This trail is one of the first trails I ever XC skied on in the Adirondacks. I don't want to tell you how many years ago that was, but it was a long time ago! The trail is the Siamese Ponds Trail that starts at the 11th Mountain trailhead on Route 8 near Johnsburg.
Time for a revisit. Wednesdays dumping of snow left 12-15" of snow in this area. I pulled into the parking lot at 10 AM. No fresh tracks. I didn't mind, I was ready for adventure. I put on my gaiters, got the dog out of the car and off we went. Rev lead the way as usual. The snow was deep enough that her belly was dragging in the snow, but she didn't seem to mind.
|Trailhead register at the 11th Mountain trailhead|
|The trail is marked as a hiking and skiing trail|
We went a short ways before the trail begins to climb a 400' rise just to the south of 11th mountain. I put on my climbing skins to get some traction in the loose powder. They worked perfectly. I got to the top of the rise, peeled the skins and headed down the backside. This can be a fast ski in packed snow conditions, but it was easy in the loose snow.
After snapping a few pictures, I found out that the memory card on my camera was full, so I switched to using my cell phone camera. It takes pretty good pictures for a cell phone.
|The southern shoulder of 11th Mountain|
At the bottom of the downslope is a nicely made foot bridge with decorative twig railing.
|1st foot bridge|
After the foot bridge, the trail mostly follows the Sacandaga River on a easily skiable trail.
After about 4 miles I reached my destination for the day; the Sacandaga lean-to. This lean-to is getting quite old, and has the graffiti to prove it, but the structure is holding up pretty well. It, of course, was the place that Rev and I stopped for some food.
|The Sacandaga (Siamese Ponds) lean-to|
Also at this location is a fine suspension bridge across the Sacandaga River, in order to venture towards Siamese Ponds. We headed that way for a half mile or so, but didn't go all the way to the ponds.
|The suspension bridge!|
|handrails are suspect...|
We also followed the other trail for a half mile that leads north towards Old Farm Clearing before deciding it was time to head out. The ski out was easier since I was now skiing in my broken track.
The weather was really perfect, blue skies and 20 degrees. I'm going to be spending 3 consecutive days skiing the backcountry to take full advantage of these conditions.
The day was over all too soon, but it felt good to ski an old friend.
|Roadside parking sign|
Ski Distance: 9.5 miles
Ski time: 5 hours
Total Vertical Gain: ~ 1000'
|The route (click image to enlarge)|
|The route on the National Geographic map|