Lake George

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

Monday, October 5, 2015

Brown, Panther and Buell Mountains - West Canada Lakes Wilderness - 10/4/15

Having climbed Little Moose Mountain the day before as a warmup, and having camped nearby on the Moose Plains Road, I was ready to tackle Brown (3425'), Panther (3865') and Buell (3786') mountains in the West Canada Wilderness.  I wasn't sure if this was a good plan or not, but I would bail if I was getting behind schedule.

I packed up camp and was on the trail at 7:40.  I parked on the far side of Wakely Dam.  Rev started barking to let me know there were 2 campers at the campsite nearest I where we would begin or hike on the logging road.  The2 guys were breaking route and they told me that they were on day 6 of a Northville-Placid through hike.  They were in good spirits and they were enjoying the nice weather.  Rev and I passed them and their 2 dogs and we didn't see anybody else all day.    

Pre-sunrise from the campsite.
I followed the logging road for about 2 miles before branching off to head for Brown Pond.   I located the drainage leading to the pond and I followed on the left side.  I soon discovered another logging road which paralleled the drainage and I happily walked it. 

A quick walk on the logging road.

This 2nd logging road ended at the field below.  There was evidence that perhaps this field was manmade and perhaps there was a farm or structure here in years past.  All that I was a watering can, a couple pails and some pipe.

Once past the field there were no more paths to follow and I made my way up the steeper grade towards the pond.  Nearing the pond I entered into pines and moss and a pretty ravine.  It got thick as I cut over to the right to gain access to the pond.

Nearing Brown Pond.

Brown Pond outlet.

The pond was very peaceful and beautiful and I stopped for awhile to enjoy it.  It had taken 2 hours to reach the pond.

Water leaving the pond and entering the outlet. 

Brown Pond.

The trees got denser as I left the pond and headed for the summit.  It was a little unpleasant for a short while but then the trees opened back up.  At 2 hours 45 minutes, I reached the summit and found a lime green ribbon tied to a tree.  It was now 10 AM and I was still feeling good.

The summit of Brown Mountain.
Rev and I pushed on towards Panther Mountain.  We had some difficulty finding a way to descend Brown.  We were heading directly south and perhaps that was not the best route.  Once we got down of Brown, I changed course to south-southeast.  I crossed a well maintained jeep trail in the col.  The woods were pretty open going up Panther and 12 noon found us on top of Panther.  An orange ribbon decorated a tree at the summit.

I didn't linger longer than to eat a sandwich.  There was one more peak to claim.  I followed the ridge for a bit but then sidestepped the dense peak that separates Panther and Buell midway on the ridge. Soon I found posted signs on the spine of the ridge.  Private lands lie on the eastern slope.  I stayed on the spine or on the eastern slope.

I reached Buell at 2 PM and was glad.  I was looking forward to going down.  I was getting a bit tired by this point.  I could not find a ribbon or anything to mark the summit, but I was pretty sure I found the true summit and I roamed around a bit.

View from Buell Mountain.
I didn't know how long it was going to take me to get back to the car but I looked at the topo map and headed in the direction that I thought would be the fastest route.  As I dropped down off of Buell, I discovered the remains of a mylar birthday balloon.  I had also seen one the day before on Little Moose Mountain.  These things seem to be the biggest source of litter in the woods.  I'm finding more and more of them and they don't disintegrate very quickly. 

Another balloon.
I was hoping my route out would take me less than 4 hours and I was thankful that I did it in 3.  An all day bushwhack involving 3 mountains feels almost comparable to a Great Range traverse.  Just before I regained the initial logging road to take me out I came upon a sell constructed beaver dam.

Beaver dam on the way out.

Five o'clock and I was back at the car happy to sit down.  I fed Rev and she stretched out in the back seat and she was out like a light.

Hike Stats:
Hike Distance:  13.2 miles
Hike Time:  8.5 hours
Total Vertical Gain:  ~3400' 

The route (click image to enlarge)

The route on the Nat Geo map.


  1. Great report! Definitely hitting this trio next year. Will need longer daylight (not into bushwhacking in the dark) :) As always finding your trip reports very useful in my 100 highest quest. Rebecca (aka HikingChick)

    1. Thanks Rebecca! You've been cranking out a lot of peaks. You're expanding to bushwhacking now? It really opens up the doors for exploration. You'll never run out of places to go now. Maybe I'll run into you again one of these days. Good luck on the ADKHH!