Search This Blog

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Hannacroix Creek Preserve

A sunny but brisk Tuesday afternoon was on tap as I headed out to the Hannacroix Creek Preserve, a New Baltimore Conervancy Property.  The property actually straddles the town line of Coeymans and New Baltimore.  The preserve follows the Hannacroix Creek to a waterfall, as well as featuring trails to old paper mills near the creek, a lookout trail, and a nature trail to the banks of the Hudson River.  There is much to see here.  Unfortunately the creek bed was nearly all dry.
 There are a series of three pretty waterfalls.  Due to the water running low, the falls were tame.

 Near the waterfall trail is a terrific hand built foot bridge by a local boy scout troop.
One of the connecting trails through the preserve is the Paper Mill Trail, which passes by the former sites of several 19th century paper mills.
 All that remains today are the old interior stone walls from the mills.

 The paper mill trail is 2 miles RT along an old woods road.
 Across Route 144 is a Hudson River Interpretive Trail.  A footbridge made up completely of recycled material crosses a tidal pond on the way to the river.
 Views up the Hudson River towards a private shorelien residence.
 Up river towards Coeymans.
 A small boat heading north.
 Just downriver from the small boat was a much bigger Barge.
 Returning on the trail I spotted a late blooming black eyed susan.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Schodack Island State Park

Headed down to Schodack Island State Park after work today to get some walking in.  The trails are almost all completely level which allows for keeping a brisk pace.
Level trails and a complex floodplain ecosystem.

The one time island is actually a peninsula, due to dredging of the Hudson River, and is about seven miles long and half a mile wide at its widest.  The Hudson flows to the west of the park and Schodack Creek flows along the east.  Schodack Creek is tidal, and when I was at the park today the water had gone out, leaving low water and a lot of mud.
Schodack Creek from the kayak launch area.
 The creek at the kayak launch again, looking north towards the railroad bridge and the Berkshire Spur bridge.
 Schodack Creek further along south in the park, looking towards Schodack Landing.
The Hudson flows mightily along the western banks of the park with benches for viewing and a boat launch area.
 The Alfred B. Smith Railroad bridge was built in 1923.  The Thruway Berkshire Spur Bridge was not constructed until 1958. They each run over the river and creek, pictured below.
 Coeymans Marina on the western shore.
 Along the trail I spotted a dead Garter Snake.  Not sure how he met his demise.

In the days of Henry Hudson's voyage on the Half Moon, the Mohicans occupied the area and artifacts could be found even until the 20th century.  Unfortunately the park has been completely picked over, leaving barely any traces of the Mohican days.
After about 2 miles of walking, I decided to head back to the car, but felt good to get out and stretch the legs for a bit.

Thursday, October 24, 2013


Heather and I headed down to Ghent today to explore the fields sculptures of Omi International Arts Center.  It is a very interesting place, with over 80 larger than life art exhibits on display throughout 300 acres of rolling farmland.  It is a place where art meets nature, and vice versa.
 The exhibits are big enough to fit in!
 Not sure what all of the art means, but it certainly is intriguing.
 There are trails in the woods as well, leading to more mysterious exhibits.

 You can never be too sure what you are seeing as you continue on.
 A fun house type mirror near the pond.

 Wildflowers in bloom.
 Need a hand?

 His clothes are a little square.
There is a cafe and visitors center on site as well. Bicycles are available at the visitors center, as well as golf carts for handicapped individuals.  There are picnic facilities and benches throughout the park and it is open year round.  A very different, but interesting place to visit in rural Columbia County.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Monument Mountain/ Alander Mountan/ Bash Bish Falls/ Sunset Rock(Southern Berkshires)

Had a day off work and nowhere to be so I planned on a full day of hiking.  The coolest air of the season has been moving in over the last day, so I threw on an extra layer and headed out early.  Found myself in the southern Berkshires, and Great Barrington to start.  Figured a cloudy, cool, Wednesday morning would be a good day to head up Monument Mountain.  A Berkshire favorite, this trail sees constant foot traffic throughout the year, so there's not a lot of good times to enjoy any solitude here.  Sure enough there were half a dozen cars at the trailhead, but I only ran into a couple of people along the trail.  Temps were only in the mid to upper 40's so it was great walking weather.  Much of the mountain is made up of rock.  From rocky trails to rock face cliffs, it is certainly a rocky area.
 The trail is only about 2.7 miles RT, but the views are fantastic all along the Squaw Peak trail.  Here is one of the early views that open to east.
 Zoomed in on developments.
 The summit is only 1642 feet, but the rock ledges give the impression of being much higher.  It is extremely steep near the edges.
 Views down to the football field at Monument Mountain High School.
 Views are expansive to the west as well all the way into New York state.
 Distant mountains in New York.
 Looking north towards another small peak and Agwam Marsh.
 There are some steeper sections coming down the mountain. Here are some steep rock steps.
After leaving Monument Mountain I drove south to Mt. Washington State Forest.  The next destination was Alander Mountain.  This is a longer hike at 5 miles RT but the views are well worth the work.
There are several water crossings along the trail.  Here is a nice footbridge crossing Lee Pond Brook.
 A little further along the trail, Ashley Hill Brook comes flowing off the mountain with small cascades.
 Ashley Hill Brook.
 The trail has a few steeper sections, but is mostly a gradual climb for the 2.5 mile length.  Near the summit is a small cabin, open to any who wish to stay.  No reservations required, simply first come first stay.  It is a very basic cabin, but it is a shelter and there is room for several.
 Just up the hill from the cabin is the open summit of Alander Mountain.  Views are outstanding in nearly all directions.  The footings of an old fire tower remain at the summit.
 To the southeast are the three peaks near the Massachusetts and Connecticut border, Mount Ashley, Mount Frissell and Brace Mountain.
 Expansive three state views to the south.
 The trail leads to a lookout ledge at the southern tip of the summit.
 With the sun finally out, the views were incredible.

After completing the 5 mile out and back hike, I headed back through Mt Washington State Forest and then east to Bash Bish Falls and its steep ravines.  The falls and its trails basically straddle the New York/ Massachusetts state border.  Near the Massachusetts parking area, is a short but steep rock scramble to a fantastic view west through the Bash Bish ravine
 Immediately to the north are the rocky cliffs of Cedar Mountain.
 The walls of the ravine are extremely steep.
 After a short, but very steep hike down the ravine is the gorgeous Bash Bish Falls.

 After a steady climb back to the car, I had one last stop just a little ways away.  This last stop was just across the New York state line at the South Taconic Trail, leading to westerly views from Sunset Rock.  A short .6 mile walk along the trail from the Sunset Rock Rd parking lot leads to the views.
 Views are somewhat obscured from the vegetation growing around the rock.  Still, the views west over the Columbia County valley is beautiful.
 Looking to the north.
 Outstanding views across the valley.
In total, I hiked nearly ten miles today.  A very full day.