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Friday, December 13, 2013

Thacher Park

Rising steeply above the rural western Albany County countryside is the Heldeburg Escarpment, offering spectacular views over much of the Hudson River Valley.  Much of the escarpment is within John Boyd Thacher Park, which offers over 20 miles of trails as well as camping opportunities, picnic areas and ball fields.
Went for a cold wintry walk along the Escarpment Trail. The park, which is usually bustling during the summer months, was almost completely devoid of people today.  I saw one other car in the parking lot and not another person out in the park at all.  This would be the only trail I would walk on this cold afternoon.
 The escarpment is dangerously steep, but provides amazing views.
 Near Tory Cave.  The wooden fence runs parallel to the trail the entire way, providing a safety barrier to the abrupt drop off of the cliffs.
 There were animal tracks throughout the park, most following the trail.  This appeared to be a coyote track.
 Looking back across the steep rock walls of the escarpment.

 Zoomed in on the wintry landscape.
The Heldeburg Escarpment rises roughly 700 feet above the landscape below.
 Its very easy to glimpse into backyards and at houses from this vantage point.
 Rural Albany County.

 The steep escarpment.
 Another angle of the escarpment.  It's tough for these photos to really capture just how very steep these cliffs are.

 There are many caves and other interesting geological formations in the park.  Indian Ladder is by far the most popular trail, but is only open seasonally.  Tory Cave is a spot with its own story to tell, as explained on the state post placed along the trail.
 Mine Lot Creek frozen over.
 This was an odd looking tree near the Horseshoe Lot.
 A panoramic view of Albany county.  On a clear day, one can see all the way to Taconics.
 A shelter and picnic area above one of the cliffs.
 These are steps leading to the overlook area.
 Overlook area, looking off the cliffs to the Altamont countryside.
 There are many very steep cliffs along the length of the Escarpment trail with warning signs placed throughout.

 No privacy for some families.
Winds were biting cold and snow was starting to fly so I headed back to the car after covering about a mile and half of walking.  This is a park with many great opportunities that I will gladly seek out in the future.

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