Lake George

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

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

XC Ski - Moose Pond - McKenzie Mountain Wilderness - 2/14/15

After skiing at Henry's Woods in the morning, Leesa and I traveled to Saranac Lake and north towards Bloomingdale on Route 3 to try another XC ski trail; the Moose Pond trail.  This trail follows an old roadbed which provides an easy traverse to a beautiful pond.

The trail is 1.5 miles long on a gentle uphill grade, gaining 70' in 1.5 miles.  Moose Pond has a bit of history (which always adds to the interest factor for me).  The pond is bordered by the McKenzie Mountain Wilderness on the east and south, and by the Debar Wild Forest on the north and west.  The pond is also accessible via a boat launch (hand launch) at the north end.  There is parking at the boat launch for 28 cars and the pond has 9 designated campsites.  On a clear day there are fine views of Moose, McKenzie, Whiteface and Esther mountains.

For us, we didn't get the full effect of the view and the lake since it was snowing and the lake was, of course, covered in ice and snow.  The trailhead is especially obscure in the winter, however there were 2 cars parked along route 3 at the location where the trail starts.

Not an obvious trailhead from the road in winter 

The trailhead is on the east side of Route 3, immediately north of a transer station.  We parked behind the 2 cars already there and headed in on our skis.

A nice bridge provides a painless crossing point on the Saranac River  
We followed the old road past two different paths that led to the pond, but eventually downed trees discouraged us from continuing all the way to the boat launch at the north end.  We backtracked and took a path down to the ponds where we found the remains of a house chimney which I had read about.     

A reminder that homes used to exist here

We skied out onto the frozen snow covered lake; suddenly exposed to the swirling snow coming down.  There was a very limited view, but we had our choice of which direction to ski; eventually we decided to go north to the boat launch area.

Overcast snowy day that gave us an eerie shroud of stillness on the pond 

Leesa and Rev heading north to the boatlaunch 

Staying close to the western edge of the pond, we skied north past several designated campsites. There was also piece of a foundation; providing a reminder of time gone by.

Rev atop an old foundation
Reaching the boat launch, we found a relatively large parking lot and noticed that snowmobiles had been running in on the access road, although they had not gone out on the lake (perhaps because of the wilderness boundary)?

Heading south to return to the car, we swung past the peninsula at the north end and noticed a nice campsite there.  Nine designated sites have been established on the pond, which is understandable since the pond can be reached by car.

Off the pond and back on the trail we had a nice kick and glide back to the car.  This trail though short provides a nice novice ski tour or relaxing 2 hour ski to a pond with a view.  We'll have to return in the summertime to see what the area feels like when the snow is gone.

Ski Stats:
Ski Distance: 6.0 miles
Ski Time:  2 hours, 45 minutes
Total Vertical Gain:  ~ 500'   

Our Route (Click image to enlarge) 

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