Playing in the swamps
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I wish I could get out and do more bushwhacking than what I do, but it’s been a crazy summer, which by the way, I have no idea where it went so fast.  I did manage to find almost a full day to go play and I always love venturing out into secluded marshlands and swamps in the area to see what I can find. The weather had been decent and the conditions very dry over the previous week, so I figured the conditions would be a bit dryer.  I had been eyeballing a couple wetlands for a while so it seemed like a good idea to maybe check them out and bring my rod to see if any trout wanted a challenge.

My first visit was to Hearn Swamp located along Forestdale Road, just north of the Village of Wilmington and SE of Catamount Mountain.  I scoped out the swamp from the road, since some of it could be seen from there and looked for the best access. While I was doing this I located a small one-car dirt drive that accessed part way to the swamp. Of course I noticed this as I drove by, so I had to do a U-turn to get back to it. I found that this was an optimal access point and a nice herd-path lead right up to the open water that flowed right through; which is also known as Middle Kilns Brook. I expected to maybe take some cool pictures and do a bit of birding but the water was nice and open and there was a faint path leading along it, so I decided to drop a couple lines.

Well in short my brook fishing career isn’t going to take off anytime soon and I didn’t see one bird – heard a few in the alders though. I did manage to get a couple cool pictures out of this area however. I hopped back in the car and decided to move a bit further down the road to see what I could access. I found one other spot, but I had to make my own route to the brook. I worked my way downstream a bit but it wasn’t too pleasant so hit the road and walked back to the car after a half hour or so.

My second adventure of the day was to visit Woodruff Swamp, which is part of the Taylor Pond Wild Forest. This swamp is located off Plank Road, which is the same road as Forestdale, just in a different township or county or something, so it was given a different name, because the back roads of the Adirondacks aren’t confusing enough at times.

I was surprised to see a sign marking the Taylor Pond Wild Forest and come to find out this area is under a conservation easement with the DEC and a local timber company. This was great; I was worried it would be on private land, but it is in turn open for public recreation and forest management. This spot offered me not much more than an access into the woods. I followed a path/old road for a ways but it didn’t bring me toward the swamp, but parallel to it, so I had to do a bit of off-road navigation to reach any open water. What I essentially found was super-thick vegetation, beaver activity and very wet surroundings. I didn’t hang around for long and decided to get out of Dodge. Even if I did see any cool birds, they would be almost impossible to photograph without hip waders.

The day was through, but just as a side note, I tend to visit swamps in the late summer and fall. This fact is mainly due to the lack of insects and the fall foliage that swamps and marshes create. While there are plenty of wetlands that can be visited all year-round without the use of off-trail orientation, there are many hidden ones with outstanding rewards as well. The wonder of the Adirondacks is simple though, it has something to offer for everyone and the Wilmington/Whiteface Region is right on board with outstanding recreational opportunities. For more information on outdoor recreation in the area, be sure to visit a local bookstore or gear shop and pick up a guidebook. Need a snack after you have been hiking all day, check out the good eats that Wilmington has to offer. 

Spencer Morrissey

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