The area just north of the Middle Branch of the Oswegatchie River in the Five Ponds Wilderness of the Adirondack Park gets very little loving. It is remote, with limited access (it has but a single trail to Upper South Pond), and few outstanding draws; small unnamed ponds are as common as trees. Yet, these
A chilly morning greets me as I awake near the shore of an unnamed pond deep in the western Five Ponds Wilderness Area, uncharacteristically cold especially for late June. My little thermometer indicates a temperature in the lower 40’s just as the sun clears the eastern horizon. The chill is probably one of the reasons
Unnamed ponds are always hit or miss when it comes to camping. Perhaps that is why they remain without a name. The pond halfway between Crooked Lake and Sitz Pond is no different in that regards. So, when I reach the swampy outlet of this unnamed pond, the thought of camping in this slop is
Unnamed ponds appear to be the norm here in the western Five Ponds Wilderness just north of the Middle Branch of the Oswegatchie River. Although three of the South Ponds are bestowed names, as are the irregularly shaped Crooked Lake and the oddly named Sitz Pond, my journey through the area has brought me to
It is easy to forget the history of the Adirondacks. The large trees, standing tall and reaching for the sky, the thick understory, waiting for its chance to ascend to supremacy, and the birds nosily announcing their desires to procreate, the sights and sounds of the remote backcountry fool us into thinking as it is,
Reaching the midpoint of any bushwhacking trip always comes with a good dose of ambivalence. The early trip jitters are finally gone now, leaving the realization that every remaining day brings you closer to your departure and the inevitable return to the so-called real world with its numerous pressures and frustrations. So as I finish
Pond-hopping is on the agenda for my third day of bushwhacking through the remote western portion of the Five Ponds Wilderness. Four unnamed ponds lie between me and Crooked Lake now, each separated from the others by only a steep ridge. What mysteries each pond may hold is anyone’s guess.
The beginning of my third day in the rarely visited western part of the Five Ponds Wilderness is cold and restless. Many mysterious sounds stymie my attempt for an undisturbed night of sleep, leaving me listless and drowsy to meet the new, frigid day. After a hearty breakfast, I visit the nearby unnamed pond before starting my bushwhack toward Crooked Lake.
Looking for a campsite in the Adirondack backcountry is neither science nor art, it is a struggle, especially so within the remote southwestern Five Ponds Wilderness. The chance of finding one of those flat areas so common along the trail system, devoid of vegetation and other debris due to many years of human use, is
Carpet spruce swamp. Confluence of the Middle Branch Oswegatchie River. These places are not on any maps, at least none that I ever seen. They exist only in the conversations of backcountry explorers that dare to leave the trail behind and venture into a remote corner of the Five Ponds Wilderness. Maybe on an occasional