The Adirondack Trip

John Brown's Tract hiking trail

On May 6, 2000 a group of six guys set out on a hiking/ camping trip in to the Adirondacks with soon to be married guy, Ryan Mehl. The six of us (Graham Mehl, Scott Seymour, Sean Pollu, Matthew Clark, Ryan Hinrichs, Ian Rhile, and ??) wanted to take him on a memorable trip. This memorable trip took us to John Brown's Tract hiking trail circuit in the Adirondacks of the state of New York. The John Brown's Tract full circuit is 9.6 miles long and hiking time is approximately 8 hours. The circuit is a long level loop generally following the valleys between long ridge hills. The hike takes you past several lakes in the ha-der-on-dah wilderness, each desirable as a camping or fishing destination. The route is designed to five you a feel for the wilderness that greeted the first settlers. The surrounding forest were burned in one of the worst of the 1903 forest fires, ignited by a spark from a wood fire locomotive on the rail line near by. The trailhead starts at NY highway Route 28. 0.6 miles in you come to fork, turning to the right begins your journey. Only a few glacial erratic lies beneath the forest of enormous beach, birch, and maple trees. Continuing down another 0.9 miles is another intersection; turning to the right brings you past Bare Mountain. After 1.7 miles you reach Middle Settlement Lake. You can see swamps openings beside middle Branch Creek. You know when you near the lake when suddenly in the midst of the unbroken forest, one of the Adirondacks' great big boulders appear. It is a part of the facing cliff that has split away. There is a short trail that takes you out to the big lake. The lake is surrounded by swamp. Shoreline is made muddier by the flooding of recent beaver work. Maple trees block the view. 0.9 miles further down the trail brings you to Cedar Pond. At this point there is 1.3 mile trail that take you to Middle Branch Lake. This trail starts up a series of short ledges and goes over a height-of-land and down into swales and then cuts down more steeply and crosses a stream. At this point there is an intersection. To the right heads to a DEC truck trail that circles back to Thendara trail. The left fork goes to a shelter. The shelter overlooks a pretty lake that is visited by looms, which may swim by quite close. The lake's shores are lined with Labrador Tea. Other features are dense spruce bog, bunchberry, creeping white winterberry, and beech fern. A short hike back from the trail to the shelter of 1.7 miles takes you past Grass Pond. Another 1.1 miles take you back to the beginning of the trail circuit at NY highway Route 28.

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