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Enjoy a leisurely hike out to an area known as the Pine Orchard. There you will find one of the last remaining stands of virgin White Pine in the Northeast. The trees here date back some 200 - 250 years and should give you some idea of how the area looked before man started logging out the forest. Many of these giants measure up to 6 feet in diameter and you would be hard-pressed to see the top of them.
This is a fairly easy hike down a wide and well marked trail which had been a logging road many years ago. It’s now used by hikers in the warmer months and snowmobiles in the winter. Although there is evidence of ATV use on the trail, their use is strictly prohibited.
Many sites await the hiker on the trail. The trail crosses over a wide snowmobile bridge at .8 miles. At about 1.2 miles you’ll start seeing the remains of some of these giants lying on the forest floor. Some are those that were cut down and not removed for some reason. But many others were downed by a hurricane which past through the area in the early 1800’s. One of these lies next to the trail on the right. At 1.3 miles you’ll see the first standing White Pine right next to the trail on the left. Just beyond this point you’ll have to rock-hop across a small brook that runs out of an old beaver pond. The remains of the impressive beaver dam parallel the trail as you walk up a small rise. After passing through the clearing at the top of the rise, on which the remains of old fire rings can be found, the standing giants become more numerous. The trail now climbs up a knoll and just before the top you’ll see a sign announcing that you are now in the Pine Orchard. The trees up here are truly impressive. Not only in their number but also in size. A small clearing at the top puts you in the general vicinity of the cache. The trail does continue on for about another ¾ of a mile but becomes narrower and wilder. It eventually comes to a very swampy area where you’d need a good map and compass to navigate you way out to Rt. 8. Which is some 5 miles further by my estimation.
The best descriptions of this trail and others can be found in in either “Guide to Adirondack Trails 7” by the ADK Mountain Club or “50 Hikes in the Adirondacks” by Barbara McMartin. I prefer the first book. It’s smaller and contains a very good waterproof map.
Directions to Trailhead: Follow Rt. 30 to the town of Wells, turn onto Griffin rd, which is just south of the bridge over Lake Algonquin. At .8 miles turn right onto Windall rd. Turn right after another 1.1 miles onto Dorr/Flater rd. The intersection has signs pointing the way to Pine Orchard and Flaters. After 2 miles you’ll come to a parking area that is provided by the Flater family for hikers coming to the trails. Park here and be sure to leave a note on your car with your destination and expected return indicated. It is from here your journey begins. The Flaters have given permission for hikers cross their property. Please be respectful as you walk through and be sure to say hello to Mr. Flater, Colonies’ retired police chief, if he’s there. Just beyond the strong barrier at .02 miles, which blocks the trail from motorized traffic, you’ll come to a DEC sign in kiosk. The trail to Willis lake is on the right and the trail to Pine Orchard is on the left.
(No hints available.)