I was in Tupper Lake the other day and took advantage of my time there by adding in a quick hike up Panther Mountain during the afternoon. Panther offers a short hike to a nice view of the distant High Peaks, and is therefore an easy hike to fit into a busy day. It is only 6 tenths of a mile to the top.
Given its short length, the trail climbs steadily from the start and initially does so through a forest dominated by large eastern hemlocks. The trees then become more deciduous as the hike progresses, with sugar maple, American beech, paper birch, and striped maple being most common.
One drawback of the hike is that the parking area for Panther Mountain is on the opposite side of Route 3 (south side) from the trail (north side), so I kept Wren on leash until we were well up the trail away from the often busy road. We made quick progress up the mountain and soon were enjoying the colorful mosaics created by the changing leaves towards the top. Birds were largely quiet as we hiked in the early afternoon, but there were a few black-capped chickadees and blue-headed vireos, among others.
The top revealed its rocky summit beneath a blue sky and bright sunshine – it was a warm late September day. We checked out the view, pausing to take a drink of water, snap some photos, and to chat with a couple on vacation from the Syracuse area. As we talked, a turkey vulture cruised past the peak. I had work to do at home, but I lingered to enjoy the colorful view for as long as I could before we headed back down. For folks with joint issues, Panther is kinder on the legs as they descend since it isn’t a long trail.
After taking a few more photos in the forest, we crossed back over Route 3 and I took Wren down the short trail from the parking area which leads to Panther Pond. A lone fisherman sat in his canoe on the far side of the water and Wren immediately jumped in to get a drink and to take a swim. It is her requisite post hike activity, especially on such a warm day.