Tough week at work? Stressed by something totally out of your control? Need a break from the everyday? Talk to Mother Nature she can help with all that. Taking that famous road less traveled can be a great start. Breathe in the cool air of a mountain peak or stroll through open forests to a peaceful back-country pond. Take a nap in the sun as a warm breeze washes over you from the south, or take a dip in the cool mountain waters to wash away the worries. Maybe even a bit of mountain yoga is in order, but no matter your stress relievers just get out and about. Here are a few locations you might want to consider that I have felt made a great impact on my escape from reality.
Treadway Mountain is by far the most popular destination on this short list of escapes, but even with plenty of visitors you can still find relaxation on the summit. This rocky summit is loaded with views and rock outcroppings all along it. Explore a bit and step off the trail to find “your peace” of earth to claim.
This hike is a bit on the longer side, but you can count that as an extension of your time in the out-of-doors. Find the trailhead at the Putnam Pond Campground located east of Schroon Lake off Route 74. The hike is a moderate trail that will bring you over rolling hills and babbling brooks all while breathing in the fresh air and the sweetness of the evergreens. Short side trails allow access to the shore of Putnam Pond where you can dip in the cool waters collected from the streams of the mountainous terrain around you.
Grizzle Ocean Mountain
Grizzle Ocean Mountain, interesting name wouldn’t you say? This mountain is Treadway’s neighbor to the south and will require a bit more effort to climb, but I can almost guarantee you will have the summit to yourself. This 1800-foot peak is a bit off the beaten path and requires a bit of navigation to reach the summit ridge.
Starting from the Putnam Pond State Campground you will follow the same trail as you would for Treadway, but rather than heading north to Treadway go south toward the shores of Grizzle Ocean. The mountain with the same name towers over the small pond and in no time you can climb the steeper slopes to a ridge packed with diverse views. You don’t need to summit to enjoy tranquility here, just find a nice spot to kick back and relax.
Possibly my favorite pond in the region! This trip has everything to do with the rocky peninsula you'll find yourself lounging on as you gaze at the beautiful mountains coming down all around you. Nap time is here, and the rock gives you the perfect setting.
You can find Rock Pond on the opposite side of the Putnam Pond State Campground. The trail that touches the shore is picturesque in its own right. The peninsula can be found on the north side of the pond — accessible from whichever direction you choose to venture. And, actually, both ways are a good choice. I highly recommend doing this trail as a loop.
This is a short trail back to a small jewel in the Pharaoh Mountain Wilderness. Because of its length this trail gets a lot of attention but don’t let that worry you — I have a secret that I want to share. Once you trek the easy trail back to the pond you will see that it is well-matted and stomped out by the many visitors each summer. Stand here and look at the pond for a few moments, but if you are feeling adventurous, don't stop here. Look across the waters and gaze at the cliffs. The base of the cliffs is jumbled with boulders, you should go there.
There is a herd path leading around the pond to the south (or to your right); locate this and stay on it. The path actually goes to the top of the cliffs, which is also a wonderful place to visit, but the boulders give a great spot to relax, nap, and even go for a refreshing dip, and the chances of sharing this location are greatly reduced.
Short Swing Trail
This trail is located off Route 74 just east of Schroon Lake and is ideal if you just want a nice stroll in the wilderness. If you are looking for a bit more of a payoff try taking a detour onto one of the many short spur trails that area available. You may find yourself at Tubmill Marsh, Honey Pond, Lilypad Pond, or you could even eventually reach Rock Pond which is mentioned above. This trail sweeps through the forest over undulating hills and past streams so clear you can see yourself. It also hooks in to many other trails allowing you to create a lovely walk to the feed that craving for harmony.
Bass Lake’s West Trail
This seldom used trail from the west brings you back to Bass Lake, where seclusion and quiet is deafening. The trail itself is a relaxing walk in the woods and the stream it passes has a neat little dam that rarely gets visitors. This trail doesn’t get the use that the eastern trail gets, so expect to have it all to yourself as the sounds of the forest move in around you.
Visit the Schroon Lake Region and find your own peace trail - and then tell us what makes it so special! We'd love to know what your favorite piece of your adventure was!
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