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Friday, January 24, 2014

Keleher Preserve(Wolf Hill)

Keleher Preserve on Wolf Hill, a 287 acre property owned by the Hudson-Mohawk Land Conservancy, sits high along the Helderburg Escarpment near the town border of New Scotland and Berne, about 20 minutes west of Albany. A fairly new preserve, the land was gifted to the Conservancy in 2010 and trails were completed by 2012, making this new preserve also one of the most popular for the Conservancy.
Another bitterly cold day outside but with the sun shining bright, I was more than happy to bundle up and get fresh air.
A rope is strung along up a steep slope to help make it easier for hikers.
Old stone walls can be found throughout the property, and several old farm roads are found at the preserve as well.
The blue trail loops through a hemlock forest before dropping down and along the escarpment with screened views of the valley below.
Much of Albany County can be seen from along this steep section of the trail.
This is the view pretty much the length of the blue trail along the escarpment through the trees.(it appears that a junkyard is visible through the trees as well)
Just off the trail is an extremely sharp drop off.
Route 85 can be seen far below where it meets with Route 443 at a Stewart's.
A red trail breaks off from the blue trail to a steeper section and back into an evergreen shaded area.
From the clearing at the end of the red trail can be found the best views all the way past the Albany skyline and to the hills of Rensselaer County.  With an elevation of 1636 feet, Wolf Hill is part of the ridge that separates the Onesquethaw and Hannacroix watersheds and has steep slopes on each side of the hill.
  Downtown Albany from the escarpment.
Came across a large meadow area as the trail climbs back up.  I believe this area may have been logged at one time in the not so distant past.
There were plenty of animal tracks in the snow throughout the preserve, but I was the first person here since the snow had fallen.  Hiked the entire preserve for a total of a little over 2 miles.
Much of this area is very rural as evidenced by this John Deere and farmland along Cass Hill Road.
Wolf Hill as seen from the bottom of Cass Hill Road in Clarksville.

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