The trail to Pharaoh Mtn (2556') is 6 miles round trip from Crane Pond, but the road to Crane Pond is in such bad shape that most people park 2 miles west of it, making it a 10 mile round trip. Howard and I were able to get half way to Crane Pond, and parked in a small area with 3 other cars before the road goes up and over the last hill. This made our round trip 8 miles. We started at 9:20 AM when it was sunny and cool but it eventually warmed up to about 78 degrees or so. We had not had rain in Vermont all week and the weather websites showed no rain for this area either, but there were puddles in the road indicating that it must have showered here not long ago.
Near Crane Pond there is an area that is often flooded by a pond that needs to be circumvented. Today we could cross here on the side of the road. In shallow water in the road were many newts, a few frogs and some small fish. At 10:00 we reached Crane Pond. Near here I saw a Hairy Woodpecker. We also saw some chickadees and some birds I think were blackpoll warblers. There were intermittent spots of bright fall color among the pines, spruces and hemlocks. The lower part of the trail was gradual and flat through an area of tall evergreens. After that it went up a long section consisting of long slippery ribbons of smooth inclined rock coated with water, algae, moss and mud. On either side the trail was hemmed in by a dense growth of spruces and other trees.
Finally at 12:22 PM we reached the top. It was sunny without a single cloud in the sky and the visibility was excellent. There are four different lookouts up here and the trails around them are like a maze. A few signs would help a lot but there are none. We had lunch at my favorite lookout, the one with a view of Pharaoh Lake below. After lunch we wandered around the other lookouts, taking pictures and talking with other hikers. At one lookout there was a nice view of the High Peaks. You could see Haystack, Slide, Gothics, Dix and Giant. You couldn't see Mt Marcy which was hidden behind Haystack. Among the people we met on the lookouts were a lady with a crude hiking stick that looked like a fork with two tines; and two women with a pretty dog named Sugarbear. One of the two women owned a restaurant called Sticks and Stones.
We left the top at 2:35 PM. On the way out we discovered an old abandoned oven which I am naming "The Lost Oven of Admetus." We were back at the car at 5:40 PM. This was my third trip to Pharaoh Mtn. I had been here in 1997 and 2001. It was good to be back before the road gets any worse. The mountain is amazingly beautiful considering its moderate size.