A cool autumn hike to Big Cherrypatch Pond
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Big Cherrypatch Pond is one of those hidden little gems found in the Lake Placid/Wilmington Region that gets little visitation from outdoor enthusiasts. However, it should. Within a stone’s throw of Route 86 this somewhat forgotten body of water sits nestled in the Sentinel Range. There are two distinct approaches to this pond and I decided one day to revisit both of them, in hopes that one has been improved and the other remains a delight.

I started with the route that needed a bit of improvement, but with that being said, it does have a unique quality about it. This spot is located with a DOT sign on Route 86. The herd-path is located at a small parking area and approaches the pond from the north by following the drainage between it and Little Cherrypatch Pond.  The path starts out very nice, but is narrow and at times hard to locate. This path does travel through an attractive wetland area with great birding opportunities, but not to my surprise it still dead ends in the marsh and never really reaches the open water. From this marsh however there is an interesting view of

Whiteface Mountain. I decided not to push on but to retreat back to the car and drive back toward Lake Placid to the primary trail.

The primary trail is my usual route to the pond which I can always depend on being in good shape. The start is also the trailhead for many of the Lussi mountain bike trails. “Stateline” is the sign marking the trailhead and is essentially that, the state property line.

I made quick work of the initial downhill as I passed by the mountain biking trails on the right and onto the old trail which is in decent condition. The narrows of the trail gave me a great feeling of being in a secluded area. I soon found myself at the site of the old beaver marsh where I sat down in hopes of seeing a moose. No moose came my way today, but something almost as rare for the middle of the day and in flight no less, an owl. It was a bit high for me to make out anything but a face; I assumed it to be a great horned owl.  The visitor was gone almost as fast as it appeared and no I was not hallucinating.

I crossed the grassland that I was resting in and made way uphill along the old woods road. This hill passes through an attractive boreal forest where the local birds were playing. After I hopped over a couple downed trees I made my way down to the edge of the pond where I stirred up a great blue heron along shore. I hung out here for a bit, relaxing in the quiet before I returned to my car.

After a quick shower I made tracks to the Lake Placid Brew Pub for a gluten free pizza and a warm cup of soup. Interested in visiting this or some other pristine hidden gems of the Adirondacks, look me up at a local guide service and I can make it happen.  Need a place to stay while you are playing in the area? Wilmington has you covered.  

Spencer Morrissey

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