On Wednesday, August 30th I decided that I wanted to go for a hike close to home. The big loop around Frock and Hodge ponds has become my “go to” hike for a quick walk close to home so I decided to head there. Sheila sniffed my clothes and immediately knew we were hiking. She began to run around the house bouncing against the furniture but always keeping a close eye on me. I put my gear in the car and an excited Sheila in the back seat and drove out the DeBruce Road at 9:40 AM. At Mongaup Pond Road I turned left and continued to follow the road bearing left onto Beech Mountain Road at the fork. When we arrived in the parking area there were no other cars parked. Sheila was acting as if she hadn’t hiked in a month as she ran around and headed for the trail. The temperature was 57 degrees and I was a little cool as I got my gear ready to go. The skies were overcast and there was a breeze blowing. We headed out the path to the register on Quick Lake Trail at 10:00 AM. The Quick Lake Trail was wet with some muddy spots which we tried to avoid. At Gravestone Junction we turned left to head down to Frick Pond. The water level in the pond was low due to the fact that someone had completely pulled out the beaver dam across the outlet stream. I was disappointed to see that the beavers had not begun to rebuild the dam. Either they had moved on or someone had trapped them. The DEC rangers and the wildlife division claim no knowledge of this action so my conclusion is that someone is doing this on their own for reasons I cannot understand! I hope someone catches these vandals in the act. The sky was still overcast so I decided I would pass up taking pictures and go for a fast hike. We continued on the Quick Lake Trail around the pond bearing left at the next trail junction to stay on the red trail. This part of the trail was drier than the last time I had walked the trail but it was still damp in spots with some mud. We were setting a fast pace despite having to avoid the water and the mud. We soon came to the “pine promenade” and the little stream through the woods. This water level in the stream was higher than it had been and Sheila was able to get a drink and take a “dip”. She immediately began a mad dash up and won the trail at a very high speed. As we continued along the trail I removed some small branches and a few large ones until we arrived at Iron Wheel Junction at 1.6 miles.
We turned left on the Quick Lake Trail and started the long uphill climb toward Junkyard Junction. The trail was almost dry all the way to Junkyard Junction 3.2 miles. The sun was starting to come through the clouds but it was still playing hide and seek. We turned right onto the blue Flynn Trail which is almost flat. It too was only damp with a few spots of mud which were easily avoided. There were no major blowdowns but I continued to remove branches that littered the trail. The entire trail does need to have some branches lopped to make a clear path. When we got to the gate, we turned right to stay on the trail and head down toward Hodge Pond. At 3.75 miles the Flynn Trail heads right and we followed it toward the outlet end of Hodge Pond. This part of the Flynn Trail which is a woods road had less water than other places and was not as muddy as the previous trip. It looked like OSI had decided to smooth out the trail by using a grader to dig it up and level it off. The problem is that this removed all the grass that held the dirt together and left behind an unpacked dirt surface. This surface can absorb a lot of water to form muddy areas. The field was still wet from the dew and after walking through it the trail again had been “improved” and was muddy. The open field is the spot where the mess hall and family camping area for the Beech Mountain Boy Scout Camp once stood. When we came to the clearing at the outlet end of the pond, I again decided to skip the pictures. We turned right to continue on the Flynn Trail climbing up the hill. I was feeling quite fresh and concentrated on using my poles to help set a quick pace up the hill. At the top of the hill we stayed to the right to continue on the Flynn Trail. A left turn follows a woods road out to what remains of the Beech Mountain Boy Scout Camp. Just after the turn there was a small tree across the trail. The Flynn Trail is relatively flat to the junction with the Big Rock Trail at 4.5 miles. We continued straight through this junction to follow the Flynn Trail back to the car. The walk is pretty but has no remarkable views or features so we walked quickly. As we approached the gate on the woods road, we turned left to avoid the private property around the cabin and to stay on the trail. On a previous trip I had cleared and reblazed the old trail and I could see that it was easy to follow. We finished our walk and were back at the car by 12:15 PM. We had covered 6.2 miles in 2 hours and 20 minutes with an elevation gain of 900 feet. Our average overall speed was 2.7 mph and we had stopped for less than 2 minutes.