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Saturday, August 18, 2018

Partridge Run WMA(Berne)

Did some exploring at the Partridge Run WMA out in the Albany County hilltowns this afternoon once it finally stopped raining.  The clouds persisted, as did the humidity, but at least it wasn't pouring out, as it had been most of the morning.  I parked at the west end of Partridge Run Road, just off of Albany County Route 6(Ravine Road), and began walking east along rough(but driveable) Partridge Run Road.  This road also doubles as part of the Long Path here.
 Within a couple minutes, the sounds of rushing water can be heard down a steep embankment off the right side of the road.  This is a branch of the Switz Kill, which is really roaring strong after all of our recent heavy rains.  A steep drop down brings you to a series of pretty 10 foot waterfalls.  Footing can be tricky down here and it is off trail, so please be careful if visiting.
 A bit further downstream, the normally tame stream raging along.
 After leaving the creek, I continued along Partridge Run Road to a junction.  I stayed left, heading north through a picturesque forest on the Wood Duck Trail.
 Moss covered stone fence.
The snowmobile trail soon enters a large meadow area, where the grass gets high and wet.  Several yards off trail to the right is tiny Pickeral Pond. 
 Just beyond Pickeral Pond is another trail junction.  My route for the day would be taking me left, but Wood Duck Pond was such a short distance away to the right, I figured I'd give it a look.  It is much bigger than Pickeral Pond, but appears exceedingly shallow, with multiple tree stumps near the far shore.
 In the tall weeds near Wood Duck Pond, I fond this butterfly fluttering around.
 After my brief pond visit, I turned back, picking up the snowmobile trail again, which headed in a westerly direction through an ominous forest.  This trial was marked as the Redbelly Trail.
 The snowmobile trail was quite wet, and headed down into an eerie, dark forest.
 A small but pretty tributary babbles along through these lightless woods.
 The trail crosses the tiny creek, which probably normally is never an issue.  Even today, after all of our rain, it was still a fairly easy crossing.
Late summer wildflowers in bloom.
 The snowmobile trail eventually heads NW, back towards County Route 6 and a road crossing.  Just before that though, I stopped to check out yet another small, 5 foot falls on a tributary creek.
 Upstream, just above the small falls.
 I soon emerged from the woods at a parking lot along County Route 6, where it meets County Route 13(Sickle Hill Road).  I continued across the road here, following Sickle Hill Road west for a litlte over half a mile.  Incredibly, not one car passed me the entire time I walked the road.

 After my road walk, I turned south(left), onto Fawn Lake Road.  This is a gravel road, driveable in the summer, but designated a truck trail .   This also marked my return to the familiar aqua blazes of the Long Path.
This road also sees very light traffic and I only saw one car on this road walk as well.  As luck would have it, they happened to be driving into my picture frame as I stopped to photo Newt Ponds, found roadside.
 About a quarter mile further the road comes to an end in a large parking area.  A short walk from here leads down to gorgeous Fawn Lake.
 Although summer's heat and humidity has been relentless, signs of fall are beginning to creep in here and there if you look hard enough.
 Back up at the parking lot, I noticed a small foot path heading downhill towards a dam.  This path leads down to the outlet area of the lake, where a pretty man made waterfall can be enjoyed.
Back up to the parking lot, I headed east/ northeast on the Long Path through the woods and past more stone fences.
 The Long Path makes a sharp turn directly east at a bend in the woods road, dropping down to another creek crossing.  This time, a sturdy footbridge ensures safe passage.
 Once on the east side of the creek crossing, the Long Path passes through a very wet and muddy area.  Incredibly, it must've been worse before, because this is a rerouted section on slightly higher ground.  Within a few minutes, however, I found myself on yet another truck trail.  The Long Path headed back down to the car at my original parking area, but I knew that White Birch Lake was less than a quarter mile away on this road, although in the opposite direction.  My decision was easy, as I proceeded along the road down to the lake. 
 As fate would have it, skies finally began to clear, just before my hike came to a close.  Walking down to the dock on the White Birch Lake, with increasing sunshine above!
 I had been waiting all day for the clouds to break up, and the blue skies above the water made for stunning photos.
 Another unmarked footpath heads off into the woods for about 1/10 of a mile down to another dam and waterfall.
After checking out the dam, it was a quiet, uneventful walk back to the car.  Hiked about 6 miles total, with many ups and downs but I didn't track my elevation gain.  It was a very nice tour of this beautiful, seemingly under the radar area. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Kinderhook Creek Preserve(East Nassau)

Took a late evening stroll at the Kinderhook Creek Preserve in East Nassau today.  The preserve makes the perfect spot to visit when I am short on time because it is located within 5 minutes of my house and offers up a nice walk on an ever growing trail network being built by the Rensselaer Land Trust.
I first followed the white trail from the parking lot over to the newly marked blue trail.  Since my last visit in spring, the trail is not only marked but very well cared for and offers up bucolic views to nearby farmhouses across the fields.
Where creeks meet.  The blue marked trail leads to the point, a beautiful picnic spot where the Tsatsawassa Creek drains into the Kinderhook, complete with a picnic table.
The blue trail terminates at the point, but the black marked SAY trail continues along the Kinderhook Creek.
The creek views from the trail are very nice and quite serene.
There are a few small stream/ wet crossings along the SAY trail, with small, hand built, rustic bridges to help.
At a bend in the creek, the water quickly turns into a small series of scenic rapids and fast water.
A glance upstream at a small rapid.
The SAY trail leaves the creek after a short distance and then heads up into a dark hemlock forest.
I continued on a series of trails that meander through these handsome woods.  Many of the trails follow old woods roads and offer up a true sense of wilderness.
Once on the yellow trail, I finally emerged from the dark woods and found pretty skies to the west, just minutes after the official sunset.
The yellow trail skirts along the far west edge of the preserve, closely following beside an old stone fence.
A peaceful and quiet 2 mile walk on yet another very humid, but fairly comfortable night.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Southerland Mountain and Rooney Ridge(Silver Lake Wilderness-Adirondacks)

With an uncertain forecast for the day, my buddy Jim and I were unsure where to hike and stay dry.  We took a shot in the dark and headed north to an area just west of Route 30 near Wells, where the chance for rain was slightly less.
 Stopped by in the early morning for a tranquil view of the Sacandaga River near Route 30.
Our goal for the day was a two car traverse from south to north over Southerland Mountain and a couple of small summit bumps east of Rooney Hill.  We spotted a car at the end of Hernandez Road, where state land meets the road, then drove to the very end of River Road where the Groff Creek trail begins.  This would be our start point for the day at an elevation o about 950 feet.
The access trail is actually an extension of River Road and is a very pleasant walk. 
Early morning sunshine filtering down through the trees on our rock hop of Groff Creek.
Just a bit past the creek crossing we left the path and began our bushwhack up towards Southerland Mountain.
With all of the recent wet weather lately, the efts are all out enjoying a wonderland of fun.
After a steady climb, we soon emerged at the small southern summit bump of Southerland Mountain, and its very nice views.  
We watched as dark clouds danced over the summit of Three Ponds Mountain to the west, hoping that they didn't have rain in them.  Although only about 1800 feet, this summit provided some very good views.
A second rocky clearing just beyond the first, provided even more open views.
Groff Mountain sitting directly to our south.
A zoom view from Southerland towards Cathead and Litle Cathead Mountains. Cathead's firetower can be seen if you look closely(L).
A small break in the clouds provided a dash of sunshine on Groff Mountain's ridge.
After enjoying the great views for a bit, we finally headed towards the true summit of Southerland.  A descent of a couple hundred feet was followed by a stiff climb up towards the top.
Just off the true summit, we spotted a small window north.
The large clearing atop the true 1925 foot summit of Southerland Mountain.
We took a break at the summit, getting a quick bite to eat and ingesting lots of fluids.  Although not overly hot, the humidity was still sky high, and we were both sweating like pigs.
After our break, we continued north
We first headed up to the top of what we called SE Rooney Ridge, where we enjoyed a solid view NW.  We continued all the way SE to the end of the ridge, before turning back and heading north to the next ridgeline.
The approach to the opening atop Rooney's Ridge.  This was the main ridge due east of rooney Hill. Although less than 1600 feet in elevation, this steep sided, open area provided spectacular 180 degree views.
Devorse Mountain standing impressively just to the NW.
North views.
We were both very impressed with the large amount of open area to explore, and the vista provided.
We really enjoyed this spot!  Here is Jim soaking in the great view from the open clearing atop Rooney's Ridge.

The vista on Rooney's Ridge was downright spectacular. We enjoyed these sweeping views for quite a while. In the distance are Wallace(L) and Three Ponds Mountain(center).
Incredible views.
The SW view over one of Rooney's other unnamed ridges, as well as Southerland Mountain beyond.  Those are the two ridges that we had just climbed up and over.
Devorse Mountain to the NW, over the grassy north end of the open ridge area.
After finally leaving our views, we continued along the ridge NW before heading down to a crossing over Vly Creek. 
Vly Creek is a pretty little stream and was easily crossed.
Once across the creek, we picked up a wide, obvious path that took us right out to Hernandez Road.
We enjoyed an incredible day of exploring in the southern Adirondacks, and somehow managed to stay dry.  Hiked about 8 miles total with over 2000 feet of elevation gain.  Within 20 minutes on my way home I hit wet roads and soon after it was poring rain.  Guess we can consider ourselves lucky on this day!