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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Rankin Pond/ 14th Road(Adirondacks)

Finally talked my dad into taking a day off work and heading north with me.  Yet another beautiful fall day ahead of us as we headed up the northway dodging morning commuters driving crazily to their jobs.  We were doing the very opposite today.  Driving slowly, taking our time to enjoy the crisp morning air.  Stopping at a convenience store to grab a morning coffee and some snacks.  We had no where in particular to be and we had all day to get there.
We started by going to Rankin Pond in Minerva.  Rankin is a small pond with a short trail by Adirondack standards but no less beautiful with stunning fall foliage surrounding it.  Besides, today we weren't staying on the trail.

While we were in the woods, west of the pond we suddenly heard the sounds of a helicopter coming close by.  We both stopped and looked to the sky as the sounds got louder and louder and it became obvious that the chopper was very low.  Neither one of us could find it through the canopy of trees above us until it finally crested a small hill and came out directly over the pond.  It got lower and lower and almost appeared to be landing in the water, when we realized they were stocking the pond with fingerlings, or baby trout.  I couldn't grab my camera fast enough and they were off.  It was an interesting experience, I won't soon forget.

We actually decided to bushwack around the entire pond and were going to make an attempt at finding Little Rankin Pond northwest of the big pond.  Walking to the west part of the pond proved treacherous as it is almost completely a marsh.  While never truly walking in deep water, each step we took, our feet sank in above the boot into a muddy bog.

After finally making it through that area we looked at our map and began heading in the direction we believed to be correct.  Without our compass and GPS though, we decided not to push it too far, plus our feet were completely drenched all the way to our chins.  We climbed a couple of wooded hills and ravines until we arrived back near the original trail and walked back to the truck.  It was an adventure but we still had other places we wanted to get to today.
Next, we drove east for a few minutes and headed up 14th Road, also in Minerva.  This road begins as a two lane, paved, well traveled road but eventually peters out into a dirt road that becomes rougher and less navigable until finally becoming a dead end.  We had seen on the maps that after the driveable section of road, it actually continues all the way down to the Hudson River.  While areas surrounding the road were dotted with some state land and some private, we thought we could make an attempt at staying on road and walking all the way down, about a mile and a half.
 The rushing water of Deer Creek accompanies you along nearly the entire length of the road.  There are many small cascades along the way, such as this one.
 The colors are almost at peak here in the central Adirondacks.
 It was a pleasant stroll through the woods.
 We came across this seemingly abandoned hornet nest that was surprisingly close to the road and only about five feet off the ground.
 Near the end of the road is a gate with posted signs all around it, preventing us from venturing all the way down to the river.  That was okay though, because the walk back was such a pleasant autumn stroll through beautiful leaves overhead and crackling leaves underfoot.
At the pulloff of the road there is another rough, four wheel drive road that heads directly up hill and into the woods that we decided to walk up.  My dad is somewhat familiar with the area,and knew that this was an old driveway that lead to an old man's farm, before the state aquired the land and removed all of the old structures and dwellings.  All that remains now is an open meadow with some apple trees and berries growing wildly.
Unfortunately after leaving here, my sinuses began to really bother me.  We made a giant loop around through Newcomb and up to Blue Ridge Highway and then back to the northway, but my head was hurting bad so we began heading home.  All in all, a day to remember with my dad.

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