By Diane Chase
A winter storm watch is not was what I was anticipating giving my child for her 8th birthday. She doesn't seem to mind though as long as she can play outside. She wants to explore and we want to join her.
There are so many places in the Adirondacks that we just drive by on our journey to another location. We pass the trail signs and think that we need to just take the time to explore. The trail to Owens Pond, just outside Lake Placid, is one such trail. Part of the Sentinel Range Wilderness Area, Owens Pond is a quick 0.5-mile hike to a beautiful pond. There are three ponds within easy range, Owen, Cooperas and Winch. With one snowshoeing novice amongst us, our goal is not where we end up but to make sure everyone just enjoys himself or herself.
There are two ways to access these three ponds. The easiest will bring us first to Owen Pond. We stop at the first entrance. The snow banks are still quite high and the parking area isn't quite plowed so we have to walk about 500 yards to the trailhead. The kids are used to walking single file so we walk carefully along the side of the road. After strapping on snowshoes we are good to go. The path is a gentle incline through the woods. Though we look whole-heartedly, we do not see signs of spring.
Owen Pond comes up quite quickly. We break out lunch and enjoy a beautiful day on the flat rocks that line the shore.The water is open along the edge so the children walk carefully and explore the surrounding area. A nearby tree is uprooted and as we pass by its exposed roots we smell dry earth and sunny days. It smells like spring. We debate whether to press on. For now the kids are content just playing in the snow surrounded by mountains and trees.
From the Route 73/Route 86 intersection in Lake Placid, drive north on Route 86 for 5 miles. Parking will be on the right. You will have to back track to get to the trailhead.
Adirondack Family Time Tip: The shoulder season is a time to be careful on the trails. It is better to abandon plans than cause more erosion on the trail. For now though there is plenty of snow in the backcountry so please wear snowshoes or skis.
all photos and content © Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Time™. Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Time™ guidebook series and co-owner of the the young adult wilderness adventure program, Adirondack Outdoor Expeditions.