View of Watch Rock circa.1967 "My favorite lean-to"
It had been forty years since I touched the waters of Pharaoh Lake in the Adirondacks. I was thirteen then and the road to Pharaoh was accessible by four-wheel drive vehicles. I remember the sadness my father felt when the road was closed for good. Somehow he knew he would never return to Pharaoh. Although he never returned in body, he did return in spirit some forty years later. My son and I made a pilgrimage there in June 2009. Armed with a couple sandwiches, fishing poles, and beautiful day, off we went for a day of reattachment to the past and reassessment of the future. From the mid to late 60’s Pharaoh Lake as a trout destination was a May ritual for my father and his closest fishing buddies. He would load up his International Scout on Thursday night. On Friday when the clock hit 3:30, my father, like Fred Flintstone would shout out a, “Yabba-Dabba-Doo,” and away we would go. From our home in Greenfield Center, NY. we would make a short visit to the IGA in Corinth for groceries. We’d continue north on Rt 9N to the freshly built Northway. On to the end of Brant Lake and the trailhead into Pharaoh. It was a methodical three mile crawl from the trailhead to the outlet of the lake. One May trip we encountered so much snow that it took several hours to winch a half-mile. When we got out into the end of the bay we were greeted by a lake still frozen solid. The ice did break up over night and go out the next day but you can imagine how cold it must have been that weekend. A weekend that ended with all the trout smiling; safe and intact. This was one of the few weekends in Pharaoh when the trout emerged victorious over dad’s handmade spoons.