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Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Snow Hole(Taconic Crest Trail)

Went out for a nice day hike to The Snow Hole, a large crevasse where snow can be found well into summer and located in the Taconic Mountains near the Vermont/ Mass/ NY state lines.
There is a large parking area at Petersburg Pass on Route 2 and the trail begins across the road going north from there.   The trail is actually part of the much longer 35 mile Taconic Crest Trail, but today we'd only be dong a section of that.  The initial .2 miles may be the toughest part of this hike as it climbs steadily uphill from the road.
 Once arriving at a trail register box, you already have some views back towards Mount Raimer and Petersburg Pass.
 A small side path just up the trail provides gorgeous westerly views out over the Petersburg valley.  Before you've even had time to break a sweat you've already had much to see! 
 Continuing along the trail, which was very muddy and wet from last night's soaking rain storms.
 Signage along much of the TCT is very good.  They are also very serious about no ATV's/ dirtbikes, etc.
There were actually parts of the trail that were much more like a small stream as water flowed swiftly downhill.
 Much of the trail is through a northern hardwood forest but after about 1.8 miles you come to a large cleared meadow area.
 The skies really began to clear about this time and the day turned out to be quite comfortable.  The open meadows were a welcome change to the deep woods walking.
 Another muddy section.
 After about 2.25 miles, you will see the first of what turns out to be three lookouts with amazing west views.
Each separate view point(which are only spaced about 200 yards apart) gets better as you go.
 This area is known as White Rocks and provides great views.
 A panoramic view to the west.

 Looking down into Petersburg with Route 2 clearly visible.
 Route 2 can be seen winding its way up the mountain and to the parking area at the Pass.
 Rolling peaks and blue skies.
 Route 2 and Taconic farmland.
 After about 2.6 miles we arrived at the sign for the Snow Hole!
 A spur trail which makes a loop brought us down to this rare, and intriguing geophysical treasure. It is essentially a 50 foot deep cave in a depression that holds snow and ice well into the warmer months of the year due to its location.
At first glance it doesn't appear to be anything to be overly excited about.  Just a large crevasse in the ground.
 Once you make your way down into the actual Snow Hole, you realize why this is such an amazing spot.  It is a very deep climb down.
 The sudden drop in temperature as you descend is quite alarming.  It was about 75-80 degrees at the top and probably 20 degrees colder at the bottom.  Here is Holden standing at the bottom.  Notice how large the crevasse actually is.
 After digging around and moving some leaves we found a spot holding snow!!! 
 Looking out from the top of the Snow Hole.
 Holden is totally fascinated by this and wants to hang out.
 Looking waaaaay down at Holden from the top of the Snow Hole.
 We decided to continue on heading towards an east lookout into Vermont.  Found this little guy along the trail.  Seemed friendly enough.
 Some nice views down towards Pownal, Vermont.  Unfortunately the foliage made it hard to really get a nice vista.
 Pownal, Vermont and the Green Mountains.
 Continuing a bit further north, we started to get some screened views back to the west towards Prosser Hollow.  We eventually decided to turn around after going about 3.4 miles.
 The hike back was very pleasant, although the muddy sections and deep tire grooves made it a bit annoying.  We passed the only other hikers we saw the whole day, a family on its way to the Snow Hole on our return.
Overall hiked about 6.7 or so miles.  A very nice day hike with my nephew.

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