Went with an AMC group, from Upper Works, to Bradley Pond via Duck Hole (intentionally the long way), and then up the three Santanoni peaks on Sept. 20-21.
Just a few notes on trail conditions:
Where trail #127 skirts Lower Pond, beaver activity had flooded the trail, and we bushwahacked our way around the edge. Not a big deal.
Where trail #127 crosses Roaring Brook, just before Duck Hole, there is a brand new bridge. As of this writing, the DEC website still says the bridge is out. Most assuredly, a nice newly-built bridge was there on Sept. 20.
Crossing the site of the now-destroyed Duck Hole dam was not terribly difficult. Five of the group rock-hopped across without incident. Three of us choose to don water shoes and wade.
Trail #128, from Duck Hole to Bradley Pond, has the reputation as being the “worst trail in the Adirondacks.” It was muddy, eroded, wet, and full of rocks and roots. But it was not so horrible, not much different than the herd path up to Redfield. And, the first (northern) half of this trail is quite beautiful. Overall, I’d say it has a bad rap.
Our group, leaving from Bradley Pond, covered Panther, Couchsachraga, and Santanoni. It took us 9 hours in good weather; going solo, I would have taken 10 or 10.5. We went up the “direct” route and back down on the “Express.” The Express is very steep, and unless you need to save time on a day hike, I’d recommend using the Direct route if you are going back-and-forth to Bradley Pond. (Note: “Loop” advocates always win such debates.)
The herd path starts about 0.3 miles south of the BPLT. There is a wooden sign that says “Trail to Times Square.” The herd path starts within 50 yards of that sign, crossing the brook over an old beaver dam. It is easy to miss, but it is just downhill from that wooden sign.
We found no water along the ridge routes between the three peaks. (We looked for, but could not find, reported water on the way to Couchsachraga.) Highest water on the Direct route was at 3900 feet. Highest water on the Express was at 3200 feet.
Bradley Pond Trail bridge
We climbed over & up through the broken part.