Lake George

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

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Antwine Hill, Pine Hill & Meadow Hill - Pharaoh Lake Wilderness - 1/9/16

What to do on an overcast day with the possibility of rain moving in?  Stay close to home and grab some low hanging fruit seemed like the best course of action.  Rev and I were slow getting out and moving, so it was 10 AM when we arrived at the trailhead on Crane Pond Road.

There were several cars in the parking lot and there were tracks from someone pulling a pulk.  I was thinking it wouldn't be a very good night for camping, with rain coming in, but I soon saw the reason for the pulk.  When I reached the Crane Pond boat launch the people pulling the pulk had continued out onto the ice!  They were heading out to go ice fishing.  A little risky if you ask me.  Just days earlier there had not been any ice on local ponds.  I put a foot on the ice at the water's edge and it seemed pretty thick, but I wasn't about to walk out onto the lake.  I could see their tracks heading right out to the middle of the lake.  They were setting up tip ups.

I opted to walk around the perimeter of Crane Pond.  When I got to the east end, I saw the two guys out on the ice.  I still opted to stay on land.   It took some time to scamper over the rockpile at the east end of the pond, but I wasn't in a hurry.

Rev didn't mind going out on the ice.

The Bear Mountain rock pile extends down to Crane Pond.

The inlet to Crane Pond.

Once I got around the inlet to Crane Pond, it was time to start climbing.  I had my sites on Antwine Hill and Pine Hill.  They would be new peaks for me and they appeared to have open summits.  I wouldn't have great visibility, but that's how it goes.

The woods were open and my only small struggle was punching through the crust that protected a couple inches of powder.

I didn't know that bark could regrow...
I skirted around Burge Pond and soon found myself in the col between Antwine and Pine. Intermittent sleet were starting and I couldn't tell if the weather was going to get worse or not.   I headed for Pine Hill first.  I climbed the SW ridge and it was just as open as could be.

The ridge to Pine Hill

From Pine Hill there are views of Bear Mountain, Potter Mountain, Gooseneck Pond, Rock Pond, Big Clear Pond Mountain, Treadway Mountain and Pharaoh Mountain.  Others could be seen as well, but those were the ones I recognized. 

Potter Mountain in the distance.

Potter Mountain and Gooseneck Pond

Yes, Pine Hill has an open summit.

From Pine Hill I backtracked to the col, then climbed the few hundred feet vertical to Antwine Hill. The summit there was open as well, but it wasn't as attractive and there weren't any views of note.  I left Antwine and headed SW down to the shore of Crab Pond.  All was quiet on Crab Pond.  I reached the trail and there were no recent footprints. 

Crab Pond

Now it was 2:30 and time to head back.  I took the trail and soon arrived at Oxshoe Pond.  I stopped at the lean-to to have a drink and give Rev some food.  The Oxshoe Pond lean-to sits in a very pretty location.  I do have a bad memory from there though.  The first time I was there, I went for a hike around the pond.  It was summertime and the deerflies on the eastern side of the pond were the worst I've ever seen.

Oxshoe Pond from the lean-to

Oxshoe Pond lean-to

 We continued to head back and followed the trail past Glidden Marsh.  I then left the trail again to climb Meadow Hill en route to Goose Pond.  The summit was marked by a double ribbon and was surrounded by hardwoods.

Pharaoh Mountain from Meadow Hill
I went down the SW flank of Meadow Hill and arrived at Goose Pond.  I've heard loons on Goose Pond in the summertime, but not today.

Pharaoh Mountain from Gull Pond.
I walked partway around Goose Pond, but now it was 4 PM.  I followed the half mile trail back to the Crane Pond jeep road and back to the car by 4:20 PM.  The day turned out to be decent.  There were only a couple short spats of sleet on Pine Hill.  The rest of the day was dry.  It was good to get out in advance of the heavy rain that is predicted for Sunday.

Hike Stats:
Hike Distance:  11 miles
Hike Time:  5 hours, 45 minutes
Total Vertical Gain:  ~1900'

The route on the Nat Geo map

A closer look at the route.

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