Pharaoh Lake Wilderness, Essex & Warren Counties, NY

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#11)  Re: Pharaoh Lake Wilderness, Essex & Warren Counties, NY

Postby ElijahW » Tue Jun 06, 2017 9:39 pm

Thanks, Jared.  The Putnam Pond section, along with Treadway Mt., is on the agenda, but I'm not sure when I'll get to it.  I'm glad you enjoyed your visit; I haven't been to Putnam Pond myself.  From my small sample, it seems that trees grow much better in the northern part of Pharaoh Lake.  My intention is to survey every trail, as well as the promising areas in between, as time and weather allow.  I welcome any help you can give.

Elijah
"There is nothing in the world to equal the forest as nature made it. The finest formal forest, the most magnificent artificially grown woods, cannot compare with the grandeur of primeval woodland." Bob Marshall, Recreational Limitations to Silviculture in the Adirondacks
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#12)  Re: Pharaoh Lake Wilderness, Essex & Warren Counties, NY

Postby ElijahW » Sun Jun 11, 2017 3:21 pm

NTS,

Sucker Brook Trail (Western half) 6/10/17

White Pine

145.9' x 12'1"
142.2' x 11'2"

Bigtooth Aspen

109.2' x 7'

Tamarack

108.3' x 5'10"
104.8'

Northern Red Oak

95.8' x 5'10"

Arborvitae

86.4'

English Oak

85.5' x 6'1"

Striped Maple

49.8' x 1'5"

This post covers only the western half of the Sucker Brook Trail, or about three miles east from the southern trailhead.  It took probably two miles of walking to get into purely native forest; before that is a patchwork of Norway Spruce-White Pine plantations interspersed with native regrowth.  After I spotted the first English Oak, Quercus robur, I seemed to see them everywhere along the trail.  Nowadays, Sucker Brook is seldom-traveled, but the trail follows an abandoned roadway (I'm not sure of the abandonment date, but probably prior to 1940) next to which I saw one stone building foundation and several large stone piles.  For some reason, people previously thought it good to plant a ton of English oak along the road.  Sucker Brook is currently a designated horse trail, though I didn't see any evidence of it being used in that way.  I did see plenty of bear sign (old scat piles and torn-up logs) and deer tracks.  A small hawk, probably a Broadwing, was pretty vocal as I approached its perch both coming and going.  

Turning to trees, the section of trail I walked on this outing cut across a gentle west-facing slope that is seemingly very fertile.  I didn't get any reliable ring counts from downed logs, but I don't think anything I saw was older than 150 years.  I only got two White pines to over 140', but there are probably several more, with potential for a 150-footer or two.  Mature pines likely averaged close to 10' in circumference, and the trunks were thick for a good distance.  To get back into such an impressive collection of pines was refreshing, especially after my last lackluster outing.  

I debated whether to post this now or wait until I covered the entire Sucker Brook trail (about 7.5 miles), but I figured the fresher in my mind the trip was, the better, as I might not get back here for a few weeks.  I'll close with a couple of photos; everyone have a great evening.
               
                       
DSC00967.JPG
                       
Eastern Newt
               
               

               
                       
DSC00964.JPG
                       
Indian cucumber
               
               


Elijah
"There is nothing in the world to equal the forest as nature made it. The finest formal forest, the most magnificent artificially grown woods, cannot compare with the grandeur of primeval woodland." Bob Marshall, Recreational Limitations to Silviculture in the Adirondacks

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Erik Danielsen
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#13)  Re: Pharaoh Lake Wilderness, Essex & Warren Counties, NY

Postby Erik Danielsen » Thu Jun 22, 2017 2:14 pm

The two tall tamaracks really catch my eye here- while they don't quite approach your discovery in Newcomb, it seems as though the general impression I had that the species really rarely gets into the 105+ range, not dissimilar to old notions about black birch height, to take a notable example, may need some revision. Are you getting a sense of particular conditions in which tamarack seems most likely to reach and exceed the threshold of 100-105'? There's a fair bit of natural larch scattered around the allegheny plateau in SW NY that may be worth cross-referencing for similar conditions and looking for tall trees.
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#14)  Re: Pharaoh Lake Wilderness, Essex & Warren Counties, NY

Postby ElijahW » Thu Jun 22, 2017 3:43 pm

Erik,

The tamaracks have been a surprise for me, as well.  Every one I've seen over 100' has been in a stand of young, fast-growing white pine.  I think over their respective ranges, balsam fir and tamarack reach heights of 100' at a similar rate, though tamarack is generally both a taller and larger tree.

Elijah
"There is nothing in the world to equal the forest as nature made it. The finest formal forest, the most magnificent artificially grown woods, cannot compare with the grandeur of primeval woodland." Bob Marshall, Recreational Limitations to Silviculture in the Adirondacks
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#15)  Re: Pharaoh Lake Wilderness, Essex & Warren Counties, NY

Postby ElijahW » Sun Jul 09, 2017 2:22 pm

NTS,

Spectacle Pond Trail 1.7 miles (3.4 out & back) 7/8/17

White Pine

136.8' x 12'4"
130.4' x 12'9"
110.0' x 11'5"

I've been putting off this and the following section of the Pharaoh Lake Wilderness because Google Earth images suggested a severe lack of pines, a condition confirmed by Saturday's visit.  Though my primary objective in this survey is locating large and old trees, I would not write off the Spectacle Pond trail for the average nature person.  The climb to Spectacle Pond is uphill, but gradual, and runs along a pleasant, stone-filled stream the entire way.  Additionally, the view north toward Pharaoh Mt. is the best I've seen so far.  

The three White pines were the only living pines I saw prior to reaching Spectacle Pond, and the ones along the pond itself struggled to top 100' in height.  I didn't measure any other species, partly because of their unimpressive respective sizes, partly because of the heavy downpour driving me out of the woods.  A few of the older Hemlocks may top 100', and some Red Spruces may also come close to that mark.  I think the oldest trees along this trail are in the 175 year old range, but most appear much younger - closer to 100 years old.  A couple of images from my visit below:
               
                       
DSC00982.JPG
                       
Yellow Pond Lilies
               
               

               
                       
DSC00983.JPG
                       
Looking north across Spectacle Pond to Pharaoh Mt.
               
               


Elijah
"There is nothing in the world to equal the forest as nature made it. The finest formal forest, the most magnificent artificially grown woods, cannot compare with the grandeur of primeval woodland." Bob Marshall, Recreational Limitations to Silviculture in the Adirondacks
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#16)  Re: Pharaoh Lake Wilderness, Essex & Warren Counties, NY

Postby ElijahW » Sun Jul 09, 2017 2:59 pm

NTS,

Gull Pond Trail 0.6 miles (1.2 out & back) 7/8/17

White Pine

142.3' x 7'8"

That's it - sort of.  This tree and many others of similar dimensions grow in a plantation north of the Gull Pond trail along East Shore Rd.  The area's history and plantation location suggest establishment between 1880 and 1910.  As an aside, for those interested in a trip to the Schroon Lake region, East Shore Rd. boasts several stands of attractive 130-140' White pines on both public and private land.  

The trail to Gull Pond is hardwood-dominated, a nice assortment of American Beech and Basswood, Sugar Maple and White Ash, with the occasional large Yellow Birch or Hemlock.  The hardwoods seem to be of the same vintage as the pine plantation.  One or two hemlocks seem particularly old, and may pre-date initial clearing of the land.  Gull Pond seems a nice place to take a rest and contemplate [where are the big trees?]; a rock wall topped with Red Pine blocks the view of any higher landmarks to the east and makes the location seem much more isolated and wild than it is.  All in all, this is a nice spot, and easy to get to.

Elijah
"There is nothing in the world to equal the forest as nature made it. The finest formal forest, the most magnificent artificially grown woods, cannot compare with the grandeur of primeval woodland." Bob Marshall, Recreational Limitations to Silviculture in the Adirondacks
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