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Thursday, October 18, 2018

Borden's Pond Conservation Area(Chatham)

Took a short walk at the Columbia Land Conservancy's 62 acre Borden's Pond Conservation Area, located just east of the village of Chatham off of Route 203.   Signage marks the turn and a short gravel driveway brings you to the parking lot.  The sun was shining bright and the biting winds were making the mid 40's temperatures feel much more brisk.  This was EXACTLY what I needed after a long day at work.
Quiet woods.  I didn't see another soul the entire walk, making for a peaceful visit with mother nature.
 A Columbia Land Conservancy tool shed, just off the green trail.
 Although the sun was shining bright, there was certainly a nip in the air.
There are several benches throughout the woods that make for pleasant places to relax.  I really took my time strolling along, soaking in the sounds of crunching leaves underfoot, and the sweet smell of autumn in the air.
While there were no long distant vistas today, it was a perfect woodland walk on a perfect fall afternoon.  Just what the doctor ordered.  About 1.5 miles total.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Park Mountain(Pharaoh Lake Wilderness-Adirondacks)

Headed north today to hike another untrailed peak in the Pharaoh Lake Wilderness just north of Brant Lake.  Park Mountain has been on our list of to-do hike's and we figured today would be a good day, with the foliage hopefully hanging on here.  On my way to the mountain, I stopped to relax for a few minutes along the quiet shore of Brant Lake.
There are a few different options to hike Park Mountain, but the shortest and most interesting appeared to be a route from the south starting at DEC land on Beaver Pond Road.  We started at an elevation of about 975 feet as we headed into the woods on a breezy, cool morning.  The woods were very inviting as we headed straight up through open hardwoods.
Park Mountain is actually made up of a few small summit bumps.  The approach to the most southern summit was quite fun, as we tried to steer over to a set of south facing ledges.
Jim, stopping to check out the cliffs.
Early morning views SE over the Beaver Pond and a sliver of Brant Lake in the distance.  The Three Brothers can be seen in the distance left.
The route from the south is a bit like threading the needle, being sure to stay on DEC land where it connects.  The open woods made for easy hiking.
There's something about these blissful fall days...maybe it's the smell in the air, the crunch of the leaves, the crispness in the air...but it's fantastic.
From the southern knob, which rises to just over 2000 feet, there are good views south again from a large open area.  Unfortunately, the trees below have grown up just enough to slightly obscure the view.
Evidently the only thing that would make this view better would be a bottle of wine...oh wait...somebody left a bottle here.  A very strange find.
A zoom view towards the SE(Catamount-left, Sugarloaf-center, Black Mountain-right).  In the distance are some of the Greens in Vermont.
Less than 3/10 of a mile away from the southern knob sits the summit as marked by the USGS.  From there is a spectacular view west towards Schroon Lake.
Schroon Lake with Ledge Hill impressively above.
A great photo op.
Zoom view to the NW.
Park Mountain's summit.
After enjoying the summit, we retraced our steps back coming back down to the southern cliffs.  Prickly Ash Mountain is the small peak to the south.
Beaver Pond sits directly below a set of vertical rock cliffs with Brant Lake again in the distance.
A steep drop off nearly 400 feet below to the marsh area just west of Beaver Pond.
From the far west edge of the cliffs, we managed to catch a glimpse towards(left to right)Number 8 Mountain, Little Stevens, and Stevens Mountains.
We circled back over to the SW ridge and made an easy descent back to our cars.  A pleasant 5 mile RT with 1600 feet of ascent.  The open woods don't get much better than this.
On the way home I stopped by Brant Lake to take in the view to west(Sand Beach Mountain on the right).

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Winding Hills County Park(Montgomery-Orange County)

While visiting my wife's family down in the small town of Montgomery in Orange County this weekend, I found an hour of free time to explore nearby Winding Hills County Park, located off of Old Route 17K. There are over 500 acres to explore at this popular park, with many different trail options.  At the entrance gate on Diamond Valley Road(the park road), a small but pretty pond sits along the edge of the road.
I parked at the main parking area, and headed down towards the park's centerpiece, 40 acre Diamond Lake. 
You can make a full loop around the lake, staying fairly close to the shore nearly the whole time. 
Being a weekend, there were many people out on the water or fishing along the shore, so I headed up into the woods for a bit more solitude.  There are 51 campsites spaced out in the park, and I checked out some of the rustic sites not far off the trail.
Once away from the lake, the woods are quiet and lined with old stone walls. 
The trails don't offer much in the way of views, but a short bushwhack near the eastern edge of the park offered up a nice view just above the tree tops all the way to the Hudson Highlands to the east.
I found my way back to the trail and eventually over to a picturesque 4 acre pond, nestled at the foot of the hills.
There are several benches along the pond's shore to soak in the serenity. 
A quiet spot along the shore.
I looped around the small pond, where I passed by more old stone walls running right up the wooded hillside.
I walked both the Nature Trail and the Heritage Trail at the north end of the park, passing by some nice foliage along the main lake shore. 
Hiked a little over 2 miles total, with limited time on a nice, cool fall day at a nice park.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Mother Myrick Mountain(Vermont)

After last night's front moved through, pushing out the rain and humidity, gusty NW winds ushered in the coldest air of the season today.  My destination today was to be Mother Myrick Mountain, a 3361 foot peak that resides due north of Equinox Mountain.  Access is from the very end of Nichols Hill Road in the town of Dorset, where a small parking area and gate are the starting point.
The woods road is wide and very easy to follow, passing high above the banks of a small stream on the right.
The first 1/3 of a mile is a gentle climb through gorgeous hardwoods.
Although a bit cool with strong NW winds, the conditions were nearly perfect. The ascent gets steeper as you go, with other woods roads branching off along the way.
At a bend in the trail, a small clearing provides a glimpse through the treetops towards the summit ridge high above.
After the bend, it is a fairly steep climb, made much easier with the use of switchbacks.  Running water draining off the steep slopes, crosses the trail here, but it was an easy hop across.
As I gained elevation, the trees grew noticeably shorter.
Nearing 3000 feet, the seasons fast forwarded a bit, with many of the tree tops already bare.
After the long ridge walk, a final steep push heads towards the summit area, and the first signs of spruce.
Approaching the viewpoint, which sits just a few yards away from the summit.
The spectacular vista just yards from the summit provides a view NE over the Mettawee Valley towards Dorset Peak.
Shadows climbing the nearby peaks.  This was a great place to grab a a drink and relax for a few minutes.
Literally only a few yards away from the viewpoint and just off the woods road is the true summit, at an elevation of 3361 feet.  Signed into the "pickle jar", which grace many of the Vermont"trail-less" peaks.
A short distance beyond the summit are the remains of a 1970's plane crash.  All I could see was the remains of what look to be a wing.
Returned via the same route, with increasing sunshine along the way.  This beech tree looked lit up from the bright sun.
The woods roads wind way around the ridge of the mountain, before finally making a steep descent back.  Paused for a few moments along the small stream on the lower slopes of the mountain. 
Pretty stream winding through the open woods, as I neared the car.
Arrived back at the trailhead after a long 8.8 miles RT, with over 2500 feet of ascent. The good woods roads made it feel much easier, however.