Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Skiing To Big Bad Luck Pond

adirondack skiingWhat better way to mark Friday the 13th than a trip to Big Bad Luck Pond?

Recent warm weather had transformed the snow from delightful dry powder into heavy wet stuff  – “mashed potatoes” to Eastern skiers.   The going was slow, but I managed the six mile round trip in three and a half hours.  The trail was obviously designed with hikers in mind.  The sharp turns make it a challenge for skiers, so advanced intermediate skills are needed.

BBL sign 3My trip started at the Route 28 parking lot about seven miles east of Indian Lake (the trails to Ross Pond, Whortleberry Pond and OK Slip Falls, begin about 350 yards west).  When I came to the first trail junction, where the new OK Slip Falls trail goes to the right, I took the unmarked fork left.

The next fork is marked by a DEC sign, Ross Pond to the right, Whortleberry to the left, with no mention of Big Bad Luck Pond – I went left.  At the next junction, a home-made sign indicates the direction for “BBL,” but it can easily be missed.

The trail is rolling terrain with little net elevation gain from the trail head to the lake.  The steepest portion occurs shortly after crossing Bell Mountain Brook.  Here, embankments near the brook have numerous slides where the local otters engaged in their version of tobogganing.

The former Finch, Pruyn lands that provide access were recently purchased by New York State.  Curiously, Big Bad Luck Pond is located in the Good Luck Tract, now part of the Upper Hudson Wilderness Area.

BBL sign 4I have a variety of skis in to choose from, but my usual preference is for old-school waxable skis.  Had I used them on this trip though, the warm conditions would have required me to treat them with red klister, an abominable honey-like substance that would drive Mother Teresa to a tirade of obscenities, so instead, I chose my waxless skis.

The biggest surprise of the trip were the “whumphs,” stationary avalanches that occur when a deer or skier disturbs the snow.  The light, fluffy layer at the bottom collapses under the weight of the heavier snow on the surface and a large slab of snow drops down by several inches, producing its eponymous sound.

Photos:  Above, the author on the surface of Big Bad Luck Pond; and below, trail signs.



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Marty Plante was born and raised in New York City, but now lives in a log cabin in the Adirondacks. He has hiked and paddled on four continents, but feels most at home in the North Country. Marty can be found in the Adirondack woods playing with his skis, hiking boots, snowshoes and disturbingly large collection of canoes.

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