Lake George

Lake George
Lake George - from Tongue Mtn Range - 11/11/2011

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Puffer Mountain (3472') and Bullhead Mountain (3432') - Siamese Ponds Wilderness - 11/16/14

Sunday wasn't a bluebird day near Indian Lake, but is was nice enough to get out a climb a pair of peaks on the ADK Hundred Highest list (102 highest).
My dog Rev and I traveled to the trailhead for Chimney Mountain, just east of Indian Lake to climb Puffer Mountain and Bullhead Mountain.  I wasn't sure I would have time for both, but I was hopeful.  We got started around 8:30.
I decided to tackle Puffer first, since that was the longer hike of the two.  If time permitted, we'd head for Bullhead. 
The start of the trail to Puffer Pond.
I followed the Puffer Pond trail for the first 2.4 miles to the Puffer Pond leanto.  Rev and I covered that section of trail in 50 minutes.   I noticed that there a few handtools in the lean-to:  a hatchet, an axe and a handsaw.   

Puffer Pond lean-to
From the lean-to, I turned SW to hike past the southern end of Puffer Pond.  I saw a makeshift shelter along the way.

Doesn't look comfortable to me...
Once past the pond, I hopped over the outlet and  turned SE to begin the climb of Puffer.  I was fortunate, in that the route I chose ended up being quite pleasant with very little thick spruce of obstructions.  I did encounter a fortress of rock, 0.3 miles from the summit, but was able to skirt west a short distance and find a way up. 

Bullhead Mountain in the distance from the lower part of Puffer.

Part of the rock fortress...

The very top of Puffer is moderately thick and it took a little time to determine what I thought to be the true summit.  I spent 20 minutes making sure I hadn't missed it.  I poked around and took a few pictures where I could find an opening in the branches. 

Near the summit of Puffer

A zoom of the limited view that I found

Chimney Mountain

A zoom of Chimney Mountain

Puffer Pond
On the way up, I had encountered the snow line at about 2000'.  At the summit, there was perhaps an inch of snow.  It was just below freezing and there were occasional light snow flurries.
The route up had been pleasant so I decided to just follow my tracks back down (why tempt fate).  When I returned to the Puffer lean-to, it had only been 3.5 hours since the start, so I made the decision to head for Bullhead Mountain.
To access Bullhead, I backtracked further to the John Pond trail, turned north, followed the trail for a little less than half a mile, then turned east to go straight up the western slope.

Climbing Bullhead at about 2500'.  Soon after, I entered the spruce and it got a little bit thick. 
The first half of the slope was hardwoods, then it turned to spruce.  I encountered some moderately thick spruce on and off as I climbed.  The summit of Bullhead was much more obvious than Puffer, as it was a well defined cone summit.  There was a orange ribbon on a tree at the location. 


Filtered water view

I believe this is Barton Mine in the distance and Gore Mountain.
A zoom of the mine
Bullhead had a few more views than Puffer, but still not a lot. 

Another opening!
The true summit of Bullhead Mountain

 A fine place to walk
To return to the car, I took a slightly different route down the west slope, but it wasn't much different from the route I used for the ascent.  I regained the John Pond trail and retraced the trail back out. 

A beaver dam visible from the Puffer Pond trail


The trailhead register 

A successful return to the parking area.
Hike Stats:
Hike Distance:  11 miles
Hike Time:  6 hours, 40 minutes
Total Vertical Gain:  ~ 3600'


The route (click image to enlarge)


  1. What an awesome day. I found the very top of Puffer and the third (tallest) bump of Bullhead both very intense. Nice work!

  2. Hope to get on Bullhead this winter or spring but planning to take the trail to the height of land and then whack it's SW ridge.