CASCADE & STEPHENS PONDS skiing, hiking, camping, canoeing

CASCADE POND 10/3/19 - The 3-mile red trail via Rock Pond had a fair amount of mud & blowdown. A helicopter landed on Cascade Pond in the Blue Ridge Wilderness, stayed ~5 minutes - possibly the state stocking fish. Colors are at peak & maple leaves are falling, Whiteface reported some snow!!! It will be past peak in the Adks over Columbus Day weekend which is on the late side this year.
Feb 22, 2017 - NPT thru the Lake Durant Campground into the Blue Ridge Wilderness. After 2 miles took a L on unofficial path to SP. Skied along the pond with view of Blue Ridge to lean-to site. NPT uphill N to junction then L to CP. Checked out the outlet cascade then to the lean-to, no-one had written in the logbook this year. Skied S on the pond for the view N to Blue Mtn. Mostly downhill on way back. ~20" of heavy wet snow - skiing ok but slow, hard to turn in untracked snow, sunk in ~3"; NPT to SP had light snowshoe use. Elevations 1,800'-2,200'. 9.3 miles, 5.5 hours.

Mar 12, 2012 - CASCADE POND from Lake Durant. NPT. Up to 2' of snow, a bit icy in the am, softening up in the pm with temp rising to 60F - good skiing. Long break at the lean-to. Pileated woodpeckers tapping & calling. Aluminum canoe in decent shape at water's edge. Otter feeding going on & off a rock on the pond. Pond looked wet & slushy. 5 hours.

Jan 22, 2012 - CASCADE & STEPHENS PONDS loop trip. 15", topped with 2"-4" of powder, some crustiness in the mix but still very good skiing. From the E end of Lake Durant we skied across the lake to the W end with Blue Mtn peering over our shoulders. The trail to Cascade Pond climbs very steeply at 1st, drops to a stream crossing then slowly gains elevation for a time before climbing a steep pitch to height of land (less effort with climbing skins). Lunched at the newish lean-to on Cascade (E of the outlet) - snow on the pond was silky smooth. Nice series of downhills on the way to Stephens & its lean-to, just watch out for some small wet streams at bottom of hills. Some slush on Stephens, skied to N end & took the shortcut path back to the Northville-Placid Trail, then fun mostly downhill to Durant Campground. 9.7 miles, 5+ hours .

Feb 21, 2010 - STEPHENS POND & NEW SECTION OF NORTHVILLE-PLACID TRAIL TO THE SOUTH.  From Lake Durant Campsite.  Added a couple of inches of powder to 2/17 total, very nice skiing.  Trail well-used to Stephens leanto.  After 40 mins. on NPT (1.5+ miles from start) look for an old beech on the left with red paint 10" circle.  100' further on the R there is an axe blaze on a tree with what looks like a 5 in it - the shortcut path to Stephens Pond goes off to the L & reaches the pond in 0.25 miles.  Stopped at leanto for a break.  Broke trail S along NPT on E slopes of Blue Ridge, have to pay attention to stay on trail.  Slowly gain elevation in an up & down way, mostly open hardwoods.  Turned around short of Brown's Brook.  Out onto Stephens Pond as soon as we see it, go L or W of island, R or E has thin ice.  Intermediate skiing.  11.7 miles, 5.7 hours.

Feb 17, 2010 - CASCADE & STEPHENS PONDS from Lake Durant Campsite.  NPT packed by skiers/snowshoers; off-trail 10" base with bit of crunchy give + 5" powder; very nice skiing.  Peaceful 1 hour relax at Cascade leanto - somebody left an old pair of skis & boots here!?.  Crossed outlet on 2-log bridge with no guiderails, open water underneath.  Continued W.  New trail connecting to Wilson Pond Trail is marked with pink ribbons (0.5 miles from leanto when red trail takes a turn N at signs pictured below) & I followed that for 15 mins. - not an official trail yet so has some blowdown.  Lots of downhill on way back.  Took unmarked path (leaves NPT a little W of an old beech with some fading red paint on it) over to Stephens.  Ponds have solid ice with 5" powder, did not run into any slush like I have in previous visits.  Views of Blue Mtn from Lake Durant.  9 miles, 5.2 hours.

Cross country skiing Cascade & Stephens Ponds article.

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