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Monday, December 30, 2013

Schor Conservation Area

With the cold winter sun shining brightly outside, I was itching to get out and take a nice walk after work.  Unfortunately, biting north winds made it feel pretty uncomfortable out though.  Due to the early sunsets of winter, I chose to stay local and headed down to the Columbia County Land Conservancy's Schor Conservation Area in the town of Canaan.
This 233 acre property was bequeathed to the CLC by Jonathon Schor, an early trustee and passionate supporter of public conservation areas.  There are four trails totaling about two miles through the property, with the main highlights being a tranquil pond and a scenic overlook area, as well as pleasant woods walking.
From the parking area, there are several trail options.  At the far end of the lot is the start of the pond loop trail, which immediately drops you down to a clearing and pavilion area at the edge of Jon's Pond.  This is the trail I chose today.
 A delightful rocking bench swing makes for a beautiful setting on the shore of the pond.
 Jon's Pond, named after Jonathon Schor, the man who gave the CLC this property.
 Looking back at the frozen pond and pavilion.
After leaving the pond's shores, you head into the woods and start a slow but steady climb.  The wintry woods are so quiet and peaceful this time of year as the sun shines brightly through the cold, bare trees.
 I kept up a very brisk pace due to the cold and thankfully remembered to put on my ice cleats to keep from falling on the icy trails.
The final ascent.
The final few steps up to the summit area of the unnamed peak offering glimpses of the views to be had.
 The summit is a bare rocky area under trees and has fantastic views westerly.
 Beautiful vistas.
Distant views are spectacular on a clear day such as this.  Albany's skyline is clearly visible, some 25 miles away.
 Beautiful rural views of the wintry landscape.
Looking back at the rocky outcrop of the summit area.
It was a beautiful walk in the cold woods, as the sun shined brightly.
 Early sunsets make it challenging to get out this time of year without worrying about losing the daylight.
 The late afternoon sun was casting beautiful shadows on the parking lot as I got into my warm car.
 The Conservation Area is located on Shore View Drive, and is a marvelous spot to watch the sun slowly set behind the horizon.  Even the back roads make for nice walking in this area, as they see little traffic and offer beautiful views around every corner.
 On the way home, there is a wonderful pull off area on Cemetery Road that offers splendid views northward.
 Rural Columbia County from The Knobit.
Hiked a total of about one and a half miles today in the bitterly cold wind chills.  This area is a beautiful slice of rural heaven.  Excited that days are slowly getting longer, with sunsets creeping closer and closer to 5 O'Clock.

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