By Christine Bourjade
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In his guidebook, The Adirondacks Illustrated (1874), S. R. Stoddard recommends staying at Mud Pond House (today’s Elk Lake Lodge) as “it is in the immediate vicinity of the Adirondack Mountains upon the nearest and most direct route, from the South, to the Ausable Ponds and Mount Marcy, distant only 9 miles, over a good trail, 4 miles of which can be made on horseback.”
We can only speculate what Stoddard considered to be a "good trail". It is unlikely that Stoddard himself ever hiked that trail and merely accepted the self-promotion of the Mud Pond House proprietor. Today’s backpackers do not have the equine option when heading for a few overnights in Panther Gorge to climb Haystack, Marcy and Skylight; but now, thanks to the Adirondack Trail Improvement Society (ATIS) at least the Marcy Swamp bog bridges are much improved from their recent condition.