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Monday, June 2, 2014

Brace Mountain

Been wanting to get down to hike Brace Mountain with its open summit for quite a while now and had the perfect opportunity after work today.  Brace is located in the tri-state corner area of NY/ Mass/ Connecticut and sees the South Taconic Trail run over the mountain.
It was a bit hot, with temps in the low 80's but walking in the shaded woods was pleasant.
The broken sign along the trail, indicating a difficult climb to ensue.
The trail quickly begins to climb up rugged terrain.
Much of the trail is actually a rock scramble where at times it may be necessary to climb on all fours.
After about a quarter mile of very steep climbing, views to the west begin to quickly open up.
From an open rock face are fantastic views west to northern Dutchess and southern Columbia County.
Rural Hudson Valley farmland.
Views across farmland all the way to the Catskills.
Climbing along the western slopes of Brace provides many continuous views.
Southwest views.
Approaching another rocky clearing.
Beautiful mountain laurel were abundant along the trail.
As you near the summit of South Brace Mountain, southern views into Connecticut open for the first time. 
Many rock cairns are found along this section of South Brace.
Nearby Riga Lake can be seen from South Brace's summit.
Once out of the woods, the trail is very open and at times hard to find.  You must use common sense and look hard for white markings or obvious paths.
Great views from an open viewpoint on South Brace.
South Brace Mountain summit.
After leaving South Brace, you descend a saddle between the mountains and then begin to climb Brace.  Here is a view back at nearby South Brace from the climb up Brace.
The smell of mountain laurel is intoxicating along many sections of the trail.
The trail can be seen wandering along the mountain with far reaching views.
Following the open trail.
After about 1.9 miles of mostly difficult climbing, you arrive at Brace Mountain's summit.  A very large rock cairn and flag mark the top.
Beautiful views to the north and slightly east from Brace's summit. 
Brace's treeless summit provides amazing views in all directions, with the best being westerly views.
Looking back up at the summit.
Much of the summit is rocky with large grassy patches perfect for resting and relaxing.
Mount Frizzell, Connecticut's high point a short distance away. 
After leaving the summit area, I explored a side trail to the north which lead to nothing in particular for about a mile before turning around. Mountain laurel was abundant in this area as well.
On the return back down the mountain, there are many views to be had. 
A zoomed in look at the rural countryside.
Hard to tire of the this view west.
Pausing for a moment to enjoy the amazing view.
Heading down a steeper area of the mountain with a nearby unnamed peak rising just to the south.
Hiked a total of about 5.8 total miles with much of it being tough and steep.  A challenging, but fun hike with excellent views.

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