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A Weekend in the Pharaoh Lake Wilderness

This weekend Alex, Lauren, and I drove to the Pharaoh Lake Wilderness near Lake George to spend some time out of the city. We stayed at Goose Pond and hike to the summit of Pharaoh Mountain the day after.

Alex picked Lauren and I up at around 6AM. We experienced little traffic out of the city and the sunrise was really beautiful. We stopped in Albany to grab groceries and a late breakfast before finishing the drive to the mountains.

The parking area was only about a mile and a half from Goose Pond. The walk was gorgeous and so quiet. We appreciated the short hike considering we were carrying a bag of wood and a bear can.

After reaching Goose Pond we took a look at all three campsites and settled on the first site on the right of the trail to the pond. Every site was beautiful with views of Pharaoh Mountain on the pond (which was really a lake). 

Once we settled and began to set up camp we sat by the water which inevitably led us to wading / swimming despite it being frigid. After a few months of a wildly hot summer in the city; to feel cold in a secluded body of water in the mountains sounded alright.

After camp was set, we made dinner which consisted of some calorie dense Daiya mac-n-cheese and a dehydrated mushroom risotto from Good to Go Meals.

This night was concluded with a fire and some star gazing on a rock that was shaped just like a sofa on the water. We went to bed at around 9PM.

I woke earliest and took advantage of some solitude to sit on the rock again. Alex and Lauren woke shortly after and saw the peak of sunrise. The sun rose right over Pharaoh Mountain and the pond had a thin layer of fog hovering over it.

Each one of us spent some time alone on the rock as the others made their individual breakfast.

A few hours behind schedule due to how much we enjoyed the sunrise we packed up and hiked back to the car. This route resulted in us backtracking for about a mile but to have camp already packed and to eliminate as much weight as possible on our hike up the mountain made it worth it.

We quickly swapped backpacks for daypacks and headed up the road which led to the trailhead. The trail was pretty easy for the first two thirds as it was mostly dirt roads (accessible with 4x4 vehicles) but quickly got steeper and more technical as we got closer to the mountain. The foliage was remarkable.

After reaching the summit we stopped to take pictures and eat a snack. It was really chilly up there but the views were pretty great. 

Soon after we began the descent which was pretty quick and seamless considering the lack of technicality for a majority of the hike. The hike totaled around 10 miles which took about 6 hours.

Once we reached the car we began the drive back to the city after stopping at Little Anthony's Pizza in Albany for supper. We experienced mild traffic on the way home and there was a definite mutual feeling of sadness once the city air crept through the vents and windows. 

All told the weekend was really incredible despite it making city living sting that much more. I am eager to find more accessible ways out of the city in the coming weeks as my running improves and I have some time off of work.