September 4, 2015

Adirondack Ponds: Owen to Copperas Traverse

Copperas Pond
We rented a house in Keene Valley with our friends Jason and Susie for the holiday weekend.  Labor Day in the Adirondacks is a treasured tradition for Erwin and I, and Jay and Susie have joined us every year starting in 2009.  This trip was the first time we met their twins, Scarlett and Veronica, and the girls first visit to the Adirondacks.  Susie is not really a big hiker, but she loves swimming.  We had taken them up to Copperas Pond in 2012, and they wanted to go back.  Although this was to be Frankie and Erwin's third trip there and my fourth, we were all on board.  Copperas Pond is a really special place, and it's a great family hike.

With a total of seven people and three in car seats, we had to take two cars, but that worked out just fine, allowing us to do the traverse without backtracking or road walking.  Susie, Frankie, and I hopped out at the Owen Pond trailhead and Erwin and Jason drove back to drop my car at the Copperas Pond trailhead.  When they returned in the minivan, Frankie, Erwin, and I set off toward Owen while Jay and Susie loaded the babies in the carriers.  They caught up near the big root covered boulder, which Frankie saw from afar and ran to scamper up.  This is one of those iconic places where pictures are mandatory, but it's all action these days with Frankie.  He scurried right up it like a squirrel. 


The trail follows a nice creek for a bit, then dips down to Owen Pond.  We didn't stop at Owen, except to snap a few quick pictures, because everyone was eager to get to Copperas for the swim (it was pretty hot).  After leaving Owen the trail passes a beautiful little meadow and then skirts around a beaver pond before rising to a height of land between the ponds. 

Frankie insisted on being the "first trail-er."
Owen Pond campsite
Owen Pond

Coming back down to Copperas, the trail passes through another of the many attractive campsites scattered along both ponds, then follows the shore to cross plank bridges at the outlet.  From there we simply continued further along the main shore side trail, passing junctions to Winch Pond and back to the Copperas trailhead, until we found a suitable spot for swimming. 


And what a spot!  The water was deep enough we could jump from several boulders of various heights, but there was also a shallow spot where Frankie and I played on a big flat submersed rock.  There was a log out in the deep water that was partially floating; it would sink when we climbed on it and made for tricky but fun launching.  After playing in the water, Frankie sat and powered through some snacks.  When it's just the two of us, he snacks throughout the hikes, but with the larger group and his determination to be the first trail-er, he didn't have much time for snacking.  When the girls got fussy, Frankie and I changed into dry clothes and we all hiked back out.  I drove Susie back to the other trailhead to get the minivan, and we headed back to the vacation house, stopping for milkshakes at the Stewarts in Keene.  

Descending to the Copperas Pond trailhead.
Map from "Day Hikes for All Seasons" by Bruce Wadsworth, via Adirondack Hikes: an Upstate New York Hiking Diary.
It was a great to share this hike and swim with old friends on such a beautiful day.  My only regret is that I still haven't made it back to check out Winch Pond.  Grace always said, "the mountains will wait for you."  I guess the ponds will wait for me, too. 

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