Recap: Fall Hike Weekend 2021
The Camp Read Association Fall Weekend kicked off with a delicious dinner at O.P. Fredericks, known as the Alp Horn back in the day. Thanks to Bill “Mustang“ Brucker for reserving the “Rathskeller.” Although the peanut shells on the floor, and the Saint Bernard in the corner are gone, the memories of staff nights off remain.
In addition to the usual weekend participants, Denise Boland, and Kris and Mo O’Connor, joined in the festivities and contributed to the usual banter and Camp stories. Food and drink were very good and O.P.’s is still a good place for a “night out”.
The weekend participants broke into several groups after a delicious Saturday breakfast prepared by CRA President, Bill Daley. The stories of their adventures are recapped in the following pages:
First Brother Mountain & Treadway Trekkers - by Bill Daley
The Rye Patrol hike to Pharaoh via the road - by Bill Langham
Rogers Lake Fishermen – pictures by Dick Trier and Bill Brucker
Hike down Tomahawk Memory Lane – by Russ Borner
Liam’s project will produce an up-to-date electronic map of the Curtis S. Read Scout Reservation. This will be used to orient new visitors to camp and provides ease in keeping the map current via computer app as CSR grows. Thanks to Liam for doing this and for joining us on the weekend.
Bill Daley mentions a few hikes that were taken by the “early birds” in his story on First Brother Mountain and the Treadway Trekkers. A little more about these adventures to Pharaoh Lake and Crane Pond is provided below.
Fall Hike Weekend Recap: First Brother & Treadway Mountains
By Bill Daley
Although I love hiking, especially in the Adirondacks, the annual fall “hike” weekend is much less about the hiking and more about getting together with my life-long friends in the place that created so many special memories. I had the pleasure of sharing both the Friday and Saturday hikes with Ron Green and Jonathan Hall. Tim Haag had joined our ranks on the second day. I worked on Staff on with all three of my hiking partners during my tenure and became good friends with both Ron and Tim.
Some of us had planned to spend most of the week at camp before the actual hike weekend. The weather forecast wasn’t great, and we would have to alter plans accordingly. Fortunately, it turned out to be much better than expected. Ron Green was the first to arrive on Monday. Tom Dietz and I arrived Tuesday around noon. The three of us and Tim Haag (who lives in the area) did an overnight backpack into Pharoah Lake Tuesday into Wednesday. Ron, Tom and myself did a day hike in the Crane Pond area on Thursday.
First Brother Mountain:
A cold front blew through on Thursday night with heavy rain but set us up for a beautiful Friday afternoon and even better day on Saturday. Because the trails were likely to be wet, we scrapped the idea of climbing Stevens, instead opting for First Brother. We drove down to Waubeeka and met Kris O'Connor (Camp Read Ranger) doing some road repairs. We let Kris know of our plans to go up First Brother and possibly onto Second Brother. He said that if we get to the col between the First and Second Brother and don’t want to proceed any further, we could follow the stream down from there and it would lead us right back to camp.
The trail up First Brother starts at the Waubeeka parking lot and is marked with the John R. Farley Memorial Trail markers. It is a relatively short hike and begins as a steady steep climb until it levels off following an old logging road that snakes up the mountain. The trail steepens again through some pines before reaching the summit ridge. Once on the ridge it stopped at an area of open rocks that has a great view of Brant Lake and Route 8. The group took a long break here, savoring the moment and taking some pictures. We moved on towards the true summit that has limited views and lots of blow down that made following the trail difficult.
We decided to try for Second Brother, keeping in mind what Kris had told us. We occasionally came upon some trail markings and/or evidence of a path that follows down the ridgeline. For the most part, the descent had us bushwhacking through moderately dense and steep terrain. When we did reach the stream, the decision was made to follow it down and not go on to Second Brother. It turned out that Kris’s advice was sound, and we ended up in Camp Buckskin in short order. As the group emerged from the woods, Dick Trier was driving in for the weekend… perfect timing! The shortened hike gave us plenty of time to get cleaned up, have some refreshments, and socialize with the incoming groups before going out to O.P. Fredericks for dinner.
Jon Hall and Ron Green on top of First Brother
Bill Daley and Ron Green on top of First Brother
The shortest approach to Treadway is from the Putnam Pond Campground parking area. Tim lives in the town of Hague on Lake George, and the plan was to pick him up on the way from Camp to Putnam Pond. Tim skipped breakfast at camp (couldn’t blame him for being able to sleep in). Jonathan was nice enough to make him a bag lunch (that was provided as part of the group food for the weekend). The drive took longer than it normally would as the bridge on Palisades Road between camp and route was out. Consequently, we had spent an additional 20 minutes or so driving around Brant Lake to get to Hauge via Route 8.
Tim had a pass for the State Campgrounds, so we were able avoid the parking fee at Putnam Pond. The four of us hit the trail around 10 AM. The first section of the trail follows the south-east shore of Putnam Pond. The trail was relatively level except for a moderate descent for about a quarter mile a short distance from the trailhead. The trail is well maintained, and wooden bridges spanned several of the stream crossings. Views of Putnam Pond itself are limited but the area is beautiful, punctuated with mountain streams and marshy areas among the woodlands.
At 1.4 miles from the trailhead, we came across what we believed was the junction of Grizzle Ocean trail. We decided to take a break and consult the trail map. I also needed a nature break, and on my way to find a suitable tree I came across the trail junction sign about a 100’ off the trail. The sign itself was intact but the post had sheared off at ground level. We did our good turn for the day and propped the sign up against a tree, making sure it was oriented the correct way (confirming our location and that we were heading the right way). Coincidentally, the day before we came across a similar situation where the sign had fallen but, in that case, we were able to secure the post in the ground.
Hiking another .4 miles we were at the junction of the trail to Treadway. This junction had the signage in place, and it indicated that we had 2.1 miles to the summit with a 925’ ascent. The trail begins with an easy climb and then passes close to an awesome marshy area on the right. The trail follows and then crosses the stream that leads to Mud Pond and then the more moderate climb begins. After leveling off for a bit, the trail starts climbing again and emerges onto a nice section with open rocks and some scattered pines marked mostly by rock cairns.
The trail reaches a false summit about a quarter mile before the actual summit. We spent a good amount of time at that spot taking in the scenery and snapping a few photos. The views from that vantage point are arguably some of the best in the region (the pictures don’t really do it justice). We reach the summit at 2208’ just in time for lunch. Somehow sandwiches and snacks taste much better on top of a mountain. There were great views to the east of the Champlain Valley and the Green Mountains of Vermont beyond. Looking south towards Pharaoh Lake and Camp Read there were views of Whortleberry Pond and Mount Stevens. Farley’s Gap, outlined by Little Stevens and Number Eight Mountains, was also visible.
The group made its way down the same path and arrived at the parking area around 4 PM without incident, giving us enough time to get back to camp and clean up before the BBQ dinner. It was a day that had great weather, great company, and a great hike. I couldn’t ask for anything more.
Jon Hall writes: "Below are a couple of pictures of the Treadway Trekkers (Ron Green, Tim Haag, Bill Daley, Jonathan Hall) who made it to the summit of Treadway Mountain and back despite bad jokes and terrible puns encountered along the trail from Putnam Pond."
Pharoah Lake from Treadway
Pharoah Lake from Treadway
Scroll left to see all the Treadway Photos: click for full screen.
Overnight Backpack to Pharaoh Lake:
Scroll left to see all the Pharaoh Photos: click for full screen.
It had long been the desire of many of us to hike through Farley’s Gap, past “Appachedotte” and Whortleberry Pond, to Pharaoh Lake and camp out overnight. We recalled that John Farley and Bob Johnson did this after one of the five year reunions. Well thanks to retirement for some, and vacation time for others, the opportunity to live this adventure was realized.
After lunch on Tuesday September 21, 2021, Ron Green, Bill Daley, Tom Dietz and Tim Haag started out from the Buckskin Waterfront on their four mile journey to Pharaoh Lake. The weather forecast called for clouds, showers, and rain for the entire week. However, now would be the best chance to beat the weather with a cloudy forecast for today and a chance of rain tomorrow.
The Gap was as remembered and not too difficult for experienced Camp Read hikers. All went well to Appachedotte and we remembered that you have to go further left to cut around an expanding wetlands that has grown a bit since our first hikes forty and forty plus years ago.
At this point, the trail is not worn like it used to be (trampled every two weeks in July and August by 300 boys), and the yellow trail markings are fading or are decaying on fallen trees. After navigating through the “flying monkey forest”, we bore a little too much to the right and cut ourselves off from the trail by being on the wrong side of an expanding wetlands. A lot of this “expansion” is happening in these parts.
The crossover by the left end of Whortleberry Pond is also further down. A stop at site C on the rocks is always worth the hike! We took a moment to enjoy the majestic beauty of the pond, Doc’s D prime site, the back of Stevens and Little Stevens, and the gap.
Whortleberry Pond looking at the back of Steven’s & Little Steven’s from Site C
Now on to Pharaoh. We hiked to the second lean-to and decided that would be our shelter for the night. We shed our packs and walked down to the lake to take in the beauty (even in the clouds) that we came to see. Tom recalled the last time he camped at Pharaoh was in 1967 serving as a Tomahawk Staff Guide for his home Troop 30 from Tarrytown, NY.
As Bill prepared dehydrated Beef Stew and Chicken with Dumplings dinners, the rest of us tried to gather firewood (slim pickings at the end of the summer season) and start a fire. The Mountain House dehydrated food purchased at Dick’s Sporting Goods was a lot better than Mother Gumperts and hit the spot. After dinner, we celebrated Ron and Bill’s birthdays (9/22) with half squished cupcakes and candles that were blown out by the wind before a wish could be made. Our wish had already been granted. We were camping at Pharaoh!
Sleeping on the hard wooden lean-to floor was no joy and we had also forgotten how you can’t get up, exit and return from a nature break quietly in the middle of the night (two or three times for some) without disturbing all the occupants. And, no wildlife creatures would dare enter our encampment for the snoring symphony complete with four part harmony projecting from the lean-to amphitheater and reverberation off Pharoah and Treadway Mountains was too much for man or beast to handle.
Morning brought a haze and mist as only Pharaoh can produce. One had only to look up to freshen your face and clear the sleep from the eyes. A splash of ice cold lake water also helped. Hot Coffee and scrambled egg, potato & pepper dehydrated breakfast greatly enhanced the wake-up process. Thanks Bill!
As forecast, the mist turned to light rain. Time to clean-up, pack-up, and start our trek down the road. But before we left, we put on our ponchos (for the first time in a long time for some of us) and took one last look at the Lake and what we could see of the mountains. The memories of this adventure will last forever.
Crane Pond Area Hike:
Thursday September 23, 2021, Ron Green, Bill Daley & Tom Dietz set out to do a short hike of three miles or so in the Crane Pond Area. “We would just do a loop or two.” Famous last words Mr. Bill. The loops turned into three, the miles grew to six plus and the area included Glidden Marsh, Oxtail Pond and Crab Pond (the other one) in addition to Crane Pond. Beautiful scenery on a crisp sunny day and well worth the hike.
The trail took us around the shores and over bridges crossing bubbling streams. At one such stream, we were standing on the bridge taking pictures and enjoying the sound and sight of a swift flowing Adirondack tributary. Ron proclaims: “Now this here boys is why I retired: to take in all of nature’s beauty.”
Scroll right to see all the Crane Pond Photos: click for full screen.
Rye Patrol: Pharaoh Lake via Beaver Pond Road
by Bill Langham
Last fall’s Camp Read Association hike to Crab Pond (Appachedotte) via Pharaoh Lake Road and ending with a descent through Farley’s Gap left a couple of members of the Rye Patrol eager for more exploration of the Pharaoh Lake Wilderness Area. Bill Langham and Paul Knudsvig set out Saturday morning for Pharaoh Lake via Beaver Pond Road and the road into the lake itself. Recent heavy rains made walking an obstacle course - deep puddles, some as large as small ponds had frogs swimming in them! The ruts, rocks, and puddles had convinced at least two all-wheel drive big-time SUVs to pull over and stop well-short of the trailhead. But we muddled on, or should I say ‘puddled on’ reaching the trailhead after an hour of puddle jumping and detours.
An interesting item on the way in was this engraved stone marker designating the boundary line between Warren and Essex counties prompting some discussion if why it had been placed in the middle of the woods. If there were any dates on the marker they had succumbed to natural forces and eroded beyond recognition. Using our best archaeological reckoning skills we surmised it was very old.
Paul had never been to Pharaoh but he must’ve been pretty nervous or very excited about the prospect because he kept smoking cigarettes at every opportunity along the trail. We selected the eastern side of the lake which offered several good lookout points with views of Pharaoh Mountain and the lake. His first view of the lake was from the outlet bridge, with the western trail heading off to the right.
We made our way up the eastern side to Lean-to #2 where we stopped for lunch and a little shoreline exploring. A stashed canoe with paddles was a temptation but from the looks of the bottom, we decided to pass - neither of us having duct tape in our 10 essentials.
Scroll right to see all the Rye Patrol's Pharaoh Lake Photos: click for full screen.
Following lunch we headed back the way we came, passing a side trail to Whortleberry Pond but skipping it due to OGS (Old Guy Syndrome) and headed for Stewart’s in Chestertown for ice cream.
Rogers Lake Fishermen:
Rogers Lake 9/25/21 view of Mt. Stevens on Hike Weekend.
Rogers Lake 10/14/21 view of Mt. Stevens (shows more color two weeks after Hike Weekend).
Rogers Lake 9/25/21 view of Mt. Stevens on Hike Weekend.
Scroll right to see all the Fishermen's Photos: click for full screen.
Not everyone hikes on the Fall Hike weekend, although if you walk anywhere in camp it’s a hike. Some folks just come to enjoy the views, peace and tranquility. And others for the comradery and food. This adventure, as the title implies, recounts the activities of those, as Dick Trier would say: “who like to drop a line in the water and drown worms”.
Bill Brucker, Dick Trier and Bill’s work buddy from Ace Hardware, Bill Fyffe, like the tranquility of floating about in a row boat, enjoying the views and catching fish (catch & release of course). We don’t think much rowing was done since a small battery operated motor was brought along to make the “going” easier. Lunch time came when it was time to recharge the battery.
Upon meeting and welcoming Mr. Fyffe, we mentioned that there were four Bill’s in attendance and asked him if he by chance had a nickname. He thought for a moment, said he really didn’t have one but paused and then blurted out “Barney”. (Barney Fyffe was the “one bullet Barney” deputy sheriff on the Andy Griffith TV show in the 50’s / 60’s). From then on Bill Fyffe was known as Barney. And thanks Mustang for bringing Barney along. You were right, he fits right in.
Back to the fishing. We believe that all three caught fish. At least that’s how the story goes. “Mustang” Brucker hooked a three pound largemouth bass. There is a picture for proof of that one. Another pic shows Barney holding a fish. We don’t know if he caught a new fish, or if it was the one caught by Mustang? The “fish tales” continue!
Recollections of Tomahawk
By Russ Borner
Scroll right to see all the Tomahawk Photos: click for full screen.
My reflection and memory of that glorious day:
After breakfast on Saturday, I drove up to the only Camp Read I ever knew in my other life, Tomahawk. While there, it seemed that I was the only one in the group who chose to spend some time there. I parked in the area where the busloads of campers would disembark on their arrival for what for many may have been one of the most important activities of their lives. I took in the view of old Mt. Stevens, remembering the summer of '55, my first year, and being on top as Hurricane Diane spent its last hours passing through. We had climbed the mountain and from the top were above the maelstrom, enjoying blue sky and sunshine, looking down on the dark, grey, frenzy of clouds roiling in the valley below...I then viewed the open field upon which had been the original barn/dining hall for so many meals, the awarding of Chief Fong, Andy Kalmakow's memorial plaque, campsite banners hanging on the walls, hearing Ken Hadermann leading us in that crazy German song, and thinking of our favorite Chef, Herb. I can still hear his deep, alcohol-laden voice booming out "Get outta my kitchen, there ain't no mo bug juice!"...I turned and viewed the remnants of Lester Lodge and remembered the Nature Lodge where Butch Smith and I kept the snakes and other denizens of the woods. Butch, with his cowboy boots, hat, T-shirt with a pack of Luckies tucked in the right sleeve and a pack of Marlboros tucked in the left one, a lit Lucky in his mouth and a lit Marlboro in the ashtray... Then hearing Donnie Bell, from my home troop, Yonkers 14, shouting "the Canteen is now open" and passing out the much anticipated, incoming mail from home...thinking of the evenings spent in the staff lounge with the centuries-old furniture, and the well-worn ping-pong table. Using the only telephone in the valley, located in the Camp Office, for the inevitable necessary call home. The night's off spent down at Sunset Lodge on Brant Lake, sipping on a glass of Utica Club Beer, and finding a dead fly floating in the glass. I then wandered up the well-worn path to the Butler Building, and the old Handicraft area, past the Parade Ground where many a night Joe Cooke and/or Ken Hadermann would announce "For the good of the camp....". I then wandered up the road toward the Race Track past Dan Rile's Wyandotte campsite, looking for the path leading into Iroquois, my first campsite in '55. Fortunately, small rocks had been placed on either side of the path leading into the brush to the site.
Only because I had a vague idea of where the path began, was I able to find it and follow it through the overgrown vegetation and fallen trees to where I envisioned the tents had been. Then back out to the road up to the gate at the entrance to the Racetrack, in the middle of which is the stone memorial to "Lookaway", Mr. Collins' favorite horse, commemorating his win of some famous race in 1888. Then looking through the woods to what had been Mickey Venuti's Pawnee campsite, and trying to place where Bill Gamble's staff tent used to be and the night he had Bonnie Pruden's daughter up for a display of his butterfly collection. Back down to the Handicraft area to try and find the path leading down to the old chapel area, unfortunately, to no avail.
Saturday Evening September 25th:
BBQ dinner was prepared and served on the Buckskin Trading Post Porch. Thanks to Kris and crew for prepping the cooking equipment, and to all those who helped Bill with meal prep, cooking, and clean-up! Hot Dogs, Cheese Burgers, salads, etc. were on the menu! All stood, removed hats and said evening grace. Tireless Guardian ………. All sat and enjoyed! The pies for dessert were especially good. (Food was purchased at Price Chopper).
After dinner, all pulled up a chair around the fire pit. Dick Trier brought along song sheets and started the singing. Each person took a turn at starting songs that they remembered. And in some cases it took all 16 or so of us to remember the words.
In the middle of the festivities, Peter Oberdorf called Jim Smith in Florida to plug him into the sing along. An attempt was made to get Jim to do “Lion Hunt” but to no avail. After a pleasant conversation with the group, Jim said good night. At this point Paul Knudsvig stepped up, and not to cramp Jim’s style, he performed “Going on a Bear Hunt” and did an admirable job. In the meantime, Russ Borner was “working” his way around the campfire circle providing back and neck massages to relieve achy muscles for the aging hikers. Thanks Russ!
……. Scout Vespers, Taps
For those who attended the weekend, thanks for all of your enthusiastic participation. You help make a great time and successful event.
For those who couldn’t join us this year, we missed you and hope you can make it next time.
Stay Safe & Healthy.
- The Hike Committee: Brucker, Daley & Dietz