With a couple hours to kill on a somewhat not so sunny afternoon I took the opportunity to visit a nice little pond that rarely gets visited and whose trail is becoming very hard to find. It’s been a couple weeks now since I was in there and with the new snow and couple days of warmer temperatures I image the trail would be nicely consolidated, but my path covered. This is one of those interesting and obscure hikes that might require the use of a map and compass or GPS. In summer the trail is a bit easier to discern than when everything is white.
The parking area on River Road was plowed enough for me to get off the road and room for a few other cars. I cracked open the hatch of the Subaru pulled out the new snowshoes, strapped them on and off I went. There was a bit of unconsolidated snow, but much less than I had anticipated. The stream was gorgeous, white in areas, with cool, clear, crisp water sounding below. I dropped down to cross a small tributary and was looking at my first piece of blow-down. It took a second to see the trail on the opposite side, but a freshly cut tree trunk gave it away. After anther quick drop over a drainage area I climbed steeply above onto a ridge. Already the trail was hard to see without looking ahead for the next section. The nice thing about winter is the ease of following my trail back out if I were to ever get disoriented.
There was a bit more dead-fall the further in I got, low to the ground, so it didn’t affect the pace very much and I could easily step over it. After hiking along the ridge and getting my first glimpse of the secluded marsh to my right, through and over the trees below, I started to descend to a rock overhang and eventually along some attractive cliffs to my left. I snowshoed along the cliffs for a bit before descending more to the shore of the marsh where I got my first views of the Sentinel Mountains off in the distance. Their rugged look can’t help but put a chill up the spine of a bushwhacker. This next section was a bit tricky as I remember it as always being. There were several hidden boulders and what I call mineshafts – which are nothing more than hidden holes between rocks. These can make a mess out of a person’s ankle and their snowshoes if not careful.
The trail eventually led me away from the marsh again and a bit higher on the hillside, where traction was a bit tough as I kept sliding back downhill with every other odd step. A final quick descent brought me to a flat area and the rarely used campsite on the shore of Holcomb Pond. This is an actual state laid out campsite, with a DEC campsite disk and everything. Looking out over the pond were more views of the Sentinel Mountains with the slopes of Kilburn teasing me as access to an outstanding view.
Interested in hiking to more obscure areas in the Whiteface Region, contact a local guide service for more details. The Wilmington area is known for its outstanding hospitality, you should see what we have to offer you for some in food and lodging opportunities.