Sly Pond

Silver Run 

I was sure that things were finally looking up for this disaster of a trip to the Adirondack Mountains. I left home last night after work on my way to Wakely Dam at the edge of the Moose River Plains Wild Forest. I had never been here before although I had heard about it and had cruised by it on my way to other spots. It was said that this was a fairly primitive area with some first come first served camp sites. Not having been here before was a problem – arriving at dark was another problem.

The road I figured the camp sites were on is a dirt affair used as a snowmobile trail in the winter. Although there were numerous signs at the entrance telling me how incredibly dangerous this road was, I found that my driveway at home was worse and I had no trouble navigating it at 15mph through the darkness. The problem is that I never found the camp sites. After about 4 miles I pulled off at a wide spot and thought about camping right there, but instead I went back to the Wakely Dam area where there were people already camped. By now it was after 10pm and I was tired so I just pulled into an open area and slept in my car.

At 5:30am with a stiff neck from sleeping with my head on a wheel well, I headed back up the road. After about 7Camp site miles, I finally came across some beautiful camp sites many of which were open. If only last night I had found some indication that I should have kept driving. Oh well, next time I will know.

Next I had to find the trailhead for a walk to Sly Pond which sits in front of Little Moose Mountain. This is not a real popular trail and I drove down the dusty winding road for miles and miles looking for a sign. In the end I decided that a little side road with a sign post, but no sign must lead to the trail so I took it. Soon this road ended at the Moose River. There might have been a bridge here once, but it is long gone now. I pulled off to the side and consulted my maps and my GPS jobby. This had to be the spot. There was no sign, but a trail headed off the road and this should be the right starting point. So at a quarter to eight I was finally ready to get a late start.

waterfallUnfortunately the trail I started up was not a trail at all, but quickly came to another camp site – back to the car and a look at the maps. I went down to the river and cast about a little. The opposite bank was overgrown, but it looked like there might be a trail into the woods over there. I decide to “rock hop” the river – bad idea. Within a couple of steps I slid off a slippery rock and into the water. I waded the rest of the way in knee deep water. This would have been fine if only I had been smart and taken off my boots and socks and waded in the first palce. Now my boots were full of water and I tore a big hole in the heel of one sock trying to wring it out. I should have gone back across the river to the car and got fresh socks, but I was hell bent to go on now blisters or no.

Tree barkAfter all this low and behold there is a trail here. It is a nice trail too. It is narrow – more like a wandering cow path than a big open trail, with markers few and far between, and sometimes you lose the track and have to cast about for a while before you find it again. Just the way I like it! Things really were finally looking up.

Along the five miles or so up to Sly pond there’s bunches of stuff to see. I took a lot of side trips off the trail to explore the dense mossy green woods, waterfalls on a brown stream strewn with rocks the size of houses, and several beaver ponds. I even ran afoul of a couple of beaver at one spot.

I was watching them gnaw away at some trees when they caught wind of me and decided that I was a threat. One paddled off to the other side of the pond while the other slowly headed toward me. He swam slow circles and slapped the water with his tail on each turn. He slapped so hard that I could see his head and front feet come up out of the water and the spray would fly three or four feet in the air. Between slaps I could hear him breathing – sort of a snorting sound like a deer might make when it is trying to get wind of you. He came quite close to me (like about fifteen feet) before giving a final slap, submerging, and popping up where he started. I decided to head out and leave them in peace.

I don’t have any photos of the beaver. I tried to capture a splash, but was never able to time it right and when a beaver is swimming in the water you just see a little bit of a head and some rippples – not very interesting.

All around this pond there was moose sign. The trail past through several areas of loose soil or finely crushed stone. Everywhere here there were moose tracks and areas where they had been scuffing up the soil. They made a lot of bowl shaped depressions in the dirt. I figure they were nosing about eating the soil to pick up minerals.

I have always looked for moose when I come to the Adirondacks, but I have never seen one. I always pictured spotting one across a wide glassy beaver pond with water dripping from its antlers as it calmy browsed the vegatation. We’d watch each other for a few minutes, I’d take some pictures, and then I wander off leaving hime to ruminate. Now seeing the size huge size of those footprints and the obvious recent activity right on the trail, a dense overgrown trail, I was not so sure about meeting one up close and personal. Either way I never did see one.

Further up the trail my bad luck continued. At one point I stopped for a snack where a stream crossed the trail. I sat on the rocks in the stream writing in my journal. Suddenly my pack tipped over and dumped my camera into the water. My brand new digital camera – this was not good. I jumped up and snatched it out from between a couple of rocks as quick as I could. I dried it off with my shirt. It still worked. However, my lens cap and polarizing filter had come off and slid away on the rushing water never to be found. Oh well, it could have been worse.

Sly PondI made it to the pond at about the five mile mark. It is a combination of several beaver ponds and marshes more than a single big pond as I expected. The trail led straight into the middle a marshy area near a beaver dam and just stopped. The last trail marker was nailed to a six foot “christmas tree” growing there. I was left surrounded by water. I assume the trail didn’t always lead into the middle of a marsh, but that the beaver had changed things. I hopped from hillock to hillock and made it across the water to the other side. I wandered about in the woods trying to pick up the trail. I didn’t find anything. I circled around the pond(s) for a while taking pictures.

I thought about bushwacking it up to the top of Little Moose mountain, but decided against it. The hill looked a couple of miles away and steeply up through some dense woods with a fair amount of blow down. Navigating this terrain without a trail would have taken me hours and the peak was tree covered so there would not have been a view once I got there. I headed back down.

Wakely DamI got back to the car early so I explored some of the area up and down the Moose River. I stopped to photograph Silver Run (I got the panorama at the top of the page there). I then went back to Wakely Dam and looked around since I had not seen much of it the night before. Then I started the long drive home.

This trip had its problems, but the trail made it worth it.



2 Responses to “Sly Pond”

  1. jesse yousey Says:

    You only made it to a beaverpond. You had to cross the beaverdam and continue following the road for approx. 2 more miles, even though the markers end there at the beaverpond. It is one single, nice pond at the foot of the final rise of Little Moose Mt.

    I was there a few times. Most recently, during Thanksgiving week. Topped L. Moose Mt. a couple times, too….VERY SPRUCEY!

  2. forestrat Says:


    Thanks for the info. I did cross over the beaver pond and cast around on the other side for more of the trail, but I didn’t find it. Now that I have a better idea of the lay of the land and with your tip I’ll give it another try. It is a really nice little hike.


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