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November 6, 2016 — It was a great day for a hike, mid 40’s, no wind (but a little overcast). We left from the Ames road parking area,on the blue trail. It’s an interesting hike to watch the transgression from abandoned farm land (this was originally the Clark farmstead) to mature forests.
Wolf Lake State Forest is a reforestation area of 4,316 acres. It was purchased by the state in the 1950’s and 60’s to return idle and abandoned farmlands to productive use as a source of timber and to provide land for public recreation. The northeast part of this area was farmed by the Reed family. The Reed brothers had a sizable maple sugar operation on this tract in the early 1900’s. Local people still refer to this section as the “Reed Ranch”.The southwest part of the Wolf Lake State Forest is known locally as the “Clark Farm”, referring to the family which last farmed it. Old roads which once serviced the two farms provide vehicular access to the Wolf Lake State Forest. The interior portion of the area between the “Reed Ranch” and “Clark Farm” is accessible only by a network of hiking trails. This remote section was probably logged in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Much of the interior was also altered by fire during the same period. Bare rock and stands of native red and white pine at higher elevations and stands of hardwood trees between the ridges are the result of these disturbances.(*1 )from the DEC website
Note- We are in the process of gathering more information on the Clark & Reed farms- so please check back.
Along The Trail
From the Ames road parking area,on the blue trail. It’s an interesting hike to watch the transgression from abandoned farm land (this was originally the Clark farmstead) to mature forests.This is mostly hardwoods here. Red oak, soft maple, popple and birches are common in this section. The farther you go, the more softwoods you’ll find. There is a particularly interesting section between Moon and Huckleberry, where a stand of large white pine had died from damage (most likely from a recent ice storm) and naturally reclaimed the area with young pines in the 10′ tall range. These have grown in thick, like the proverbial “hair on a dog”. Besides the trees & reforestation, this is a great place to study up on beaver habitat.
There are several trails in this forest, so you can combine them or do each lake singly. For the most part the trails are well marked. The beaver activity does cause the occasional detour, so keep track of your direction of travel. There are some wonderful bogs along these trails as well. If you look close you can find pitcher plants, bog cranberry, and cotton grass. After the first frosts, the blueberry plants turn a lovely crimson color.
They are by far the predominate animal in the area. We did also see a family of 3 otter in the last beaver flow between Huckleberry and the yellow trail sign in box. Round trip was +/- 6 miles, and about five hours.We were in no hurry and spent a lot of time taking photos. It’s not a real hard hike, but it is pretty rough & uneven terrain -so wear sturdy shoes and be prepared for a workout on your ankles. I suggest doing the entire loop if you are up to the miles. Each of the lakes has a lean-to, along with many primitive camp sites. (Check DEC regulations for details).
Ames road to Huckleberry 1.2 miles
The trail from the Ames road to Huckleberry lake is 1.2 miles, and .3 miles more gets you to the lean to. This trail actually starts on the foundation of the old Clark farm barn. You can see traces of the foundation still. The trail starts in some mixed hardwoods, and ends up in a stand of large white pine near the lake. A half mile in you will come to the trail register. There is a trail leading to the right that is used by canoeist & kayakers to get to Huckleberry lake. We refer to that flow as the otter pond, after seeing a family of otters playing around there one afternoon. The trail comes to the lake at a 40 foot overlook- talk about making a good first impression!
Wolf lake to Sam day Road 3.6 miles
Yellow makers starting at the Lake
This is another great trail. From Moon lake or the Beaver narrows trail, it is marked in blue. Once you reach Wolf lake lean to, they are yellow. It leads past Wolf lake, and many other beaver ponds & bogs. The trail is on bedrock for much of the way near the lake, and passes through some amazing white pine. The end towards the Sam Day road becomes more young hardwoods as the former farmland reverts to forest. Much of this was originally the Baker farm. This makes a nice loop trek when combined with the beaver narrows trail (see menu for that hike).
Check yourself for ticks when you get home, we each had one on us. Note, there is a section about a mile & a quarter in on the blue trail that you’ll lose the trail markers- it’s flooded by beaver and you can see the markers out in the pond. You’ll have to skirt the water and climb up the ridge ahead of you to pick them back up. Also the yellow trail from Huckleberry to Talcville takes a left away from the shore that is easy to miss, especially if you are gazing at the lake on your right (and who wouldn’t be).
(1*) Reference from DC website http://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/7995.html
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About the Author
I am a life-long resident of the north country, calling Edwards my home.I have always had a passion for the outdoors, and for local history. I recently started this site to share places that have been part of our local history and heritage. I hope you get a chance to hike some of these trails for yourself, and reflect on the rich history of those that walked here before you. And if not, sit back and experience these from where ever you are right now. Either way, enjoy!
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