Hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, snowshoeing, no wheeled motorized vehicles. Snowmobiles on railtrail and logging road.
A friend mentioned how she loved taking her horse on the Pratt pond loop. While the loop I took was definitely the Loop around Pratt pond, it was not what I would declare as rideable. Mikicc.org/Pratt. However, if you stick to the rail trail and the logging roads, it is a great ride.
I wanted to show the loop to a friend and her dog who often join us on our adventures.
We parked by the pond in the lot off Pratt Pond Rd, near the Mason/Greenville line. Plenty of parking and easy horse trailer turnaround.
I once rode my horses from my farm to Pratt pond. My horses love to play in the water, and being a warm day, I thought they would enjoy a drink. Neither the one I was on, nor the one I was leading, would venture in. When I mentioned this to a local Mason friend, she told me the tale of the head in the pond. With research I found that a young rider had found a body on the side of Pratt Pond Road. The head, it seems, ended up in Pratt Pond itself. The story of the Moulton murderer gets even more gruesome as they travelled west and continued killing.
Here is the court record:
Evidence presented at trial discloses that on Christmas Eve, 1984, the defendant repeatedly fired a .380 automatic pistol into the head of John Timothy Whalen, who was sitting inside the defendant’s automobile. The defendant then drove to a wooded area off Pratt Pond Road in Mason where he dumped the victim’s body down an embankment. The next morning, he returned to Pratt Pond Road with a carving knife and cut off the victim’s head in order to prevent anyone from tracing the bullets to his gun. The decapitated corpse was discovered on December 29, 1984, and, after a police investigation, the defendant was charged with first degree murder.
One would never know of its hidden past as beautiful as Pratt Pond is now. My mares seemed to know however.
We followed the rail trail NorthWest as before, and tucked into the loop trail. Here is where the misplacing begins, the first time.
The trail previously posted, mikicc.org/adventures, took off to the right, shortly after entering the wood here. At that time a surprise snow in March exposed both footprints and trail. This day, Beech leaves hid it away, so the right turn was missed, and, actually, now, Aug. 2021 is pretty much overgrown. Another trail has taken its place. A trail more travelled, and oddly, not marked that snowy March day.
A beautiful misplacement.
We finally came out on a beautiful old logging road. We opted for the right. For my solo trek to the left: Mikicc.org/lost.
There was past evidence that others had been on this trail before.
The forest was full of Red Breasted Nuthatches. I have a great app from Cornell called Birdnet. Highly recommend. http://birdnet.cornell.edu
The road wanders back into the Russell Abbott State Forest and comes out on Pratt pond road. You can avoid the road on the side trail (photos above) Which I highly recommend so you can view the old mill ruins which will be on your right.
We travelled about 5 miles. GPS doesn’t always work in this area. And, unfortunately, we never did find my favorite lost green leash.
Some interesting flora and fauna.
Pratt Pond is lovely and I encourage everyone to hike it. This wonderful description and the photos will help you find your way.