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Saturday, September 21, 2013

Grafton

Today is the last day of summer, and it was going to be a beautiful day once again so I headed back up to the Grafton State Park on the Rensselaer Plateau.  It's a slightly higher elevation there so I knew fall would be making an early appearance on the trails.  The park features six ponds and nearly 2500 acres so there is plenty of space to explore.  I first went to the Shaver Pond on the western side of the park and noticed a golden tinge to the leaves before I even got started.  The sun was out and the foliage was on display, so this was going to be a great day!
Stone walls are found throughout the park serving as a reminder of the area's farming past.

Shaver Pond is a beautiful mountain pond, and the most remote and quiet of all the ponds at the park.  I took a couple of different trails and turned them into a full loop all the way around the entire pond.  Conditions could not have been any better.


On the back side of the pond I slowed down my pace a little and took a closer look at the ground. Found a daddy long leg wandering near on a downed birch tree.
 The leaves are turning gold seemingly overnight.
As I neared the end of my loop, I stumbled across this small pond near the outlet of Shaver Pond.  The colors literally jumped out at me.

 Each step was simply gorgeous.
I left Shaver Pond Nature Area and headed over to the Mill Pond area near the park offices.  Mill Pond is an 18 acre pond that receives a lot more attention due to its ease of access.  There are two parking lots on each side of the pond and the park road runs right along side part of the pond as well.  This does not take away from the beauty of the area at all though.
Near the beginning of the Mill Pond trail is a small footbridge and man made waterfall that tumbles down a hillside of stones and into a stream below.
Once on the trail you have the option of following the marked trail or venturing down to the pond where an informal path follows the pond's edge.

 Found this small little frog hopping near my feet along the shore!
I took a moment to relax in a small clearing with a fire pit by the water's edge.
Happened upon this giant hornet's nest between Second Pond and Mill Pond.  I saw some activity so I decided not to venture any closer.
 Walking along the park road I was astounded by the beautiful views across Mill Pond.

Time to say goodbye to summer. Fall is here and welcome to stay.

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