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Saturday, January 4, 2014

Tower Mountain

After being stuck in the house the last couple of days, I was more than happy to see a forecast for sunny skies and temps in the low 20's for today.  Drove over to Stephentown and followed Goodrich Hollow Rd to Tower Mt Rd, which eventually becomes an access road as it climbs Tower Mountain an eventually leads to summit views and the Taconic Crest Trail.  The entire trail is located in Massachusetts and is part of the Pittsfield State Forest.
The trail is actually the Tower Mt access road and begins immediately after leaving your car.
Heading up the trail, you quickly start gaining elevation.  I was the first human to make footprints in the fresh powder.  There were plenty of animal tracks in the snow though with most of them appearing to be deer.
The bright winter sun was shining brilliantly through the bare winter woods,
Further up the trail I spotted a deer who had apparently spotted me as well.
Views down into the Stephentown valley began to open up as I continued up the trail.
Views down into Stephentown.
A bit further up the trail, the views were really eye opening.
The white snow and green tree were a marvelous contrast.
The trail was steep but mostly straight for quite a ways.
At a certain point about .6 mile up the trail I came to an area that appeared to be a bedding area for many deer.  There were tracks all over the trail here and obvious bedded down areas against the hill just off the trail.
There was about ten inches of fresh snow on the ground, but was light and made for fairly easy walking.
Near the summit of the trail is a bend that eventually leads to a large clearing.
An open field offers wonderful views westerly into New York.
Distant views and mountains.
Views west to West Hill and Clover Mountain in the foreground.
West St(County Route 5) running through rural New Lebanon towards Stephentown.
Although not the true summit, this cleared shoulder of the mountain offers much better views.
A spectacular view down into the Lebanon valley.
Southwestern views back towards Lebanon and the Columbia County hills.
Views over Clover Mountain and into New Lebanon.
Winter views of the frozen landscape.
The countryside of Stephentown.
Views down onto rural Stephentown.  If you look closely, the church in this shot is  The Church At the Crossroads located on Route 43 in the hamlet of  Stephentown and the road behind it bending to the right is Route 22 north.
Gorgeous views southwest with the Catskills in the distance.
Staying to the right on the Tower Mountain Access Rd, leads up a hill and soon comes to the Taconic Crest Trail.  This large tree had fallen directly across the trail where the trails converge.
Tower Mountain Road sign at the intersection of the trails.
The blue Taconic Crest Trail signs soon appear.
I followed the TCT for a short distance south towards the Lebanon Springs Acess.  There were muted views through the trees.
Heading back down the trail was pretty easy going.  I slid much of the way on the tracks I had made going up.
Overall I hiked a little over two miles, with a steep ascent and descent most of the way.  A beautiful, cool January day.

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