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Alone in the Ha-De-Ron-Dah Wilderness --- 5/13/17

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  • Alone in the Ha-De-Ron-Dah Wilderness --- 5/13/17

    The forecast for Saturday was rain. I took that as an opportunity to go check a few outliers off my NYS fire tower list that were far from home and not real close to any hikes on my current to-do list. Why waste a nice sunny day driving all over the state for two towers that are of the drive-up variety, right? One tower was just outside Turin and the other one in Watertown. I quickly knocked those off by late morning and as I was headed back toward the Thruway I took a small detour and stopped outside Old Forge to do a little bit of exploring in the Ha-De-Ron-Dah Wilderness. I was hoping the rain would clear out by time I arrived at noon as the forecast had tickled me with the possibility of. So much for that. It was a damp, chilly 47* when I signed in and it rained the entire time I was out of the car. I was the only person on the trails. Hell, it looked like I was the only person at any trailhead between Utica and Old Forge.

    I headed to Middle Settlement Lake via the Scusa Trail, Browns Tract Trail, and the Middle Settlement Lake access trail. Very pretty open forest through the entire length of my short trip. It was dead quiet other than the raindrops hitting my hood and not a creature was stirring other than me. The trail itself was varying degrees of suck. The best parts were just plain wet. The next best was wet and muddy. The level below that was boot sucking mud, and the worst of it was wet & muddy with pooled water disguised by wet leaves. There was no way to stay dry on this day unless you were in hip waders.

    When you get to the end of the access trail you're at the northeastern tip of the lake. I had initially intended to walk in a ways on the northern shore of the lake to find the lean-to but scrapped that idea in favor of getting dry and warm a bit sooner. Standing still made me cold quickly so I didn't go any further than to get a quick peek at the lake, take a few pictures, and turn around to hustle out.

    Nice little 6-mile walk to stretch the legs out. Once back at my car the rain stopped just long enough for me to change without getting wet. The long drive home was miserable, gray, rainy, and full of road spray but overall a nice day out of the house.

    Pics from the day...

    Historical marker at the large pull-off/ parking area on Rte 28. The trail starts across the street and another 50 yards north.

    I hope this tree doesn't get Genny Screamers...

    Painted Trillium. They were all over the place. Most I've ever seen on one hike.

    A beaver's handiwork (or is it toothiwork?) at the northeast tip of Middle Settlement Lake...

    Middle Settlement Lake on a gray day...

    Zoomed out a bit...

    Gomer Hill fire tower...

    New Boston fire tower (relocated to the Thompson Park Zoo in Watertown)...

  • #2
    nice report.
    i was canoe racing on Lower Saranac Lake in the rain at the time.
    In dry season that is normally a very pleasant trail to Middle Settlement and beyond.
    Did you miss the former Number 4 fire tower, now located at the DEC facility (former NYS tree Nursery) in Dadville, just a couple of miles outside of Lowville?
    Last edited by Nessmuk; 05-14-2017, 06:34 AM.
    "Leave the beaten track behind occasionally and dive into the woods. Every time you do you will be certain to find something you have never seen before." - Alexander Graham Bell


    • Makwa
      Makwa commented
      Editing a comment
      Didn't miss it. Visited it a few years ago before I was even aware of Gomer Hill.