It's been way too many years since I've been into the Pharaoh Lake Wilderness. My last trip was a solo backpacking adventure. Perhaps the reason it's taken me so long to return is the reputation the area has for unruly and garbage-spreading visitors. I've seen bags of garbage left at lean-tos, empty food packages left in fire pits, and cigarette butts galore. Despite this, the area is absolutely stunning and there has been an increased effort to clean up the area and enforce backcountry regulations.
Moving on from the slightly creepy caches we found a perfect campsite right on the northeastern edge of the pond. On the second day we took a walk to Pharaoh Lake to explore. I was surprised to see empty lean-tos and campsites. I was, unfortunately, not surprised to hear a group firing off pistol rounds at the northern end of the lake - which the aforementioned ranger explained was also legal.
For such a small mileage investment, Pharaoh Lake really gives a great payoff. The area was a mushroom hunters dream, and a birdwatchers dream, and a fisherman's dream. I would just recommend that you head in on an off day to be sure to find a campsite and to enjoy the area without distractions.
(More photos here.)