I had today off from work so I ventured north to Wilmington, NY to hike the eastern half of the Cooper Kiln Pond trail in the Taylor Pond Wild Forest. I had done the western half on a previous trip.
I turned out to be a sunny day, much to my surprise. I parked on the corner of John Bliss Road and Bonnie View Road and my dog Rev and I got started. The first thing I noticed is that the trail for the first 1.75 miles is on an old jeep road. It provides a great place to XC ski. The trail climbs 850' in the 1.75 miles and would be a great run back to the car.
|The eastern trailhead for the Cooper Kiln Pond trail|
At the 1.75 mile mark, the trail makes a 90 degree turn to the left and becomes almost flat for .5 miles. If you want to visit the slide, don't make the left hand turn, but rather continue to follow the old jeep road straight ahead and you will soon see the slide.
|What an ideal ski run|
|This is just after the 90 degree turn left where the trail levels out|
I followed the trail and at the 2 mile mark, the ski tracks I was following ended. I got to break trail for the last 1.2 miles (actually Rev broke trail). She was fun to watch in this process. The trail gets steeper in the final mile and is somewhat in a shallow trough that would make skiing more difficult.
|Almost to Cooper Kiln Pond|
When I arrived at the pond, everything was frost covered, except for the summit of Wilmington Peak which had been exposed to the sun, thereby melting the frost.
|No frost on Wilmington Peak, due to the sun|
|Cooper Kiln Pond|
|The trail as it neared the pond|
At the pond is the Cooper Kiln lean-to. It is located at the waters edge and at some point will probably be moved away from the water. Current practice is to locate lean-tos at least 150' from the water.
On this day, the interesting thing about the lean-to was an ice wall that a recent occupant had built to protect the lean-to from the west wind. It worked pretty well.
|Cooper Pond lean-to|
|Look at that nice wind block!|
I had thought about climbing Wilmington Peak from the lean-to, but that would have been some deep snow bushwhacking. Instead, I returned to where the trail split from the jeep road and I headed for the slide. I could tell there were fresh tracks from skiers who were skinning up the slide. As I got partway up the slide, I could see to skiers higher on the slide up ahead of me.
|Looking up the slide from near my entry point|
The skiers reached the bottom of the headwall and I could see them preparing for their descent. Soon I head a dog barking and saw that they had a small herding dog. After a few minutes I reached their location. Rev and their dog exchanged plesantries and then they headed down. I turned out that they had splitboards. They skinned up with skins on their splitboards, then put their boards together to be snowboards. I wanted them go down, with their dog running close behind. They had no difficulty going down.
Once again, I thought about heading for Wilmington Peak. I was only about .3 miles from the true summit. The headwall was too steep to climb, and the snow in the woods to the right would have been really tough for Rev. I'll go back on another day. I'll climb it from the slide route. It was quite nice.
|Nice view from the bottom of the headwall|
|The summit of Wilmington Peak is just left of center|
|When I come back, I'll ascend from the woods on the right|
It was very easy going down. I got back to the car in 45 minutes from the bottom of the slide headwall.
|The lower part of the slide|
Hike Distance: 7.4 miles
Hike Time: 4 hours
Total Vertical Gain: ~ 2400'
|Click image to enlarge the map of the route|
|The route on the National Geographic Map|