On Monday, Mar 6th I wanted to get in a longer hike close to home before the first spring track practice in the afternoon. Since I had been at Trout Pond and Frick Pond recently, I decided to go to Long Pond and repeat a hike I had done only once before. My intention was to hike a figure 8 loop to extend the mileage and take in some spots I had not visited in some time. I wanted to walk as fast as I could and only take a few pictures along the way. I got Sheila in the car with my gear and headed out DeBruce Road for about 8 miles to Flugertown Road where I made a left. I parked in the lot a short distance up the road on the right. It was 10:15 AM and the temperature was only in the mid 30’s with a slight breeze. I had decided to dress warmly with a baselayer both top and bottom. I had a light hat and gloves and wore my Mammut hoody. I opted to wear my Keen Glarus boots which are not insulated and I had not brought any gaiters. I had my spikes in my pack but did not expect to use them. When I parked and looked around, I was surprised to see some snow banks and a layer of ice on the trail. The trail is a snowmobile trail and the obvious use by the machines had packed the snow which had turned to ice. We started our hike by walking over the bridge and up the hill. There wasn’t much ice on the trail after the bridge and I made good time up the hill. The first .6 miles gains about 350 feet to the highest point on the hike. It isn’t very steep but does act as a nice warm-up! I took a few shots on the way up the trail. Near the top of the hill two large evergreen trees had blown down across the trail blocking it almost completely. The trees were large enough that they might require a chainsaw to cut them. There was more ice and snow coverage at the top of the trail as we approached the spur trail to Long Pond. At 1.1 miles we were at the spur trail that leads down to the shore of Long Pond. We turned right and walked down to the shore of the pond where I sternly warned Sheila to “Stay”! I walked down to the shore to take some pictures. The pond is not very picturesque but I took a few shots anyway. The pond appeared to be frozen over with only a few open spots near the shore. I returned to my pack and we headed out to the main trail where we turned right to continue our hike. At the first trail junction at 1.3 miles, we turned left to hike out to the road as part of the figure 8 I had planned.
This part of the trail is relatively flat and there were some large areas of water with ice covering them. I probably should have put on my spikes at this point but continued to walk the trail without them. At 1.6 miles the trail began to descend to cross a long bridge across the stream. The descent was very slippery but I worked my way down to the bridge. I stopped on the bridge and took some pictures of the stream which had some ice. Downstream I could see a small “waterfall” formed by the ice. I walked down to a spot near the waterfall and took a few shots. We crossed the bridge and walked off the trail to the left so that I was directly across from the waterfall. I took a few more shots here and then walked back out to the trail. We walked out to the main road and found it was completely covered in snow and ice. I took some pictures, got a drink and decided it would be easiest to put on my spikes for the walk along the road. At 2.1 miles we turned right and began to hike toward Basily Road. We continued along the road with my spikes giving me a good grip. We gained a little elevation along the road until we broke out of the woods near the Peter’s Hunting Camp. The road ahead was clear of snow so I removed my spikes. We stopped for a moment and I took a few pictures of the valley before continuing on the road. When we arrived at the private bridge, I stopped to take a few pictures of the stream. After taking these shots, we continued along the trail along the edge of some tilled ground at the camp toward the beaver pond. We walked over the small footbridge and stopped so that I could take a few pictures of the beaver pond. The break didn’t last long as we continued on the road to finish the upper loop. The road continued to gain elevation and there were large stretches of snow and ice which I was able to work around. Sheila had no trouble with her four paw drive!
At 3.6 miles we stayed to the right as Basily Road headed left to Wild Meadow Road. Shortly after this we turned right into the woods on the snowmobile and hiking trail. This part of the trail is pretty flat which means that standing water was pooled in several places. Most of these spots were frozen over. The were also spots on the trail where the mud had frozen but collapsed under foot. In at least two places trees ahd fallen across the trail but were hung up an suspended over the trail. These types of blowdowns are the most dangerous to clear. The easiest solution is to let them fall to the ground when the wind blows them down. We passed the spur trail on the left to the lean-to at 4.7 miles. We continued on the main trail and at 5.1 miles we were back at the first trail junction where we had started the figure 8 earlier. We turned right and again followed the trail toward Flugertown Road. This time when we arrived at the bridges I decided to put on my spikes. We then continued to walk along the trail to the road where we turned left. The hike was a little longer than I had remembered and I wanted to set up a quick pace to return to the car. The road was covered in ice but there were a few bare spots along the way. The spikes gave me a good grip on the ice and I was able to find enough ice and snow to walk by the bare spots. Soon we were on the well paved road and I removed my spikes to head back to the car. I did not put Sheila on her leash but told her “With!” to keep her near me. We crossed the bridge over a small stream and I could not resist stopping for a few final pictures. We turned left into the parking area and walked back to the car. We were back at the car at 1:35 PM having hiked 7.3 miles in 3 hours and 25 minutes with an elevation gain of 750 feet. This indicates a pretty flat hike! An average speed of over 2 mph surprised me because of the numerous stops we made.