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Saturday, July 5, 2014

Vanderwhacker Mountain(Adirondacks)& Clendon Brook Preserve

Headed north to Vanderwhacker Mountain, a prominent peak in the Central Adirondacks, where views from its fire tower are amongst the best in entire region.  The weather was perfect, with temperatures around 80 degrees, low humidity and a soft breeze.
The traihead is actually located nearly 3 miles down Moose Pond Way, a rough gravel road which has to be carefully navigated for loose rocks and potholes.
There were several cars at the parking area, limited in number only because of its location.  We started just after a group of other hikers, so we took our time enjoying the day.
Much of the first section of trail follows a small tributary of Vanderwhacker Brook.
The stream was flowing gently along and you even have to rock hop one section.
The trail circles a large swampy area.
After continuing on, the trail wanders through a hardwood forest and arrives at a flooded beaver swamp, which is closing in on the trail.
There were many sections of trees and bushes under water, and the murky water was within a foot of the trail in a couple of parts.
Although swampy, the spot was actually very scenic.
After nearly a mile and a half, you arrive at an old ranger's cabin, which is now all boarded up.  This makes a nice spot to stop and relax for a moment.  At this point, the trail has mostly level, pleasant woods walking.
Immediately after leaving the cabin, the trail begins to steadily climb.
And climb....
And climb....
After a substantial climb, the trail enters a spruce forest.  Once you catch your breath, the hiking from here becomes very scenic, as the woods drop off steeply on both sides.
The trail narrows as the climb continues.
The trail travels through dense evergreen in this area.
Just below the summit, there are many downed trees, providing glimpses to far reaching views.

After a long, challenging climb, the fire tower can be seen in a small clearing.
Views from the mountain's summit are mostly screened by trees but even here it is easy to get a sense of your elevation.
Climbing the steps of the fire tower provides unbelievable views. 
Views to the north and east as far as the eye can see.
An incredible panorama.
Many of the high peaks are clearly visible from Vanderwhacker's fire tower.
West views.
Vanderwhacker Wild Forest.
The High Peaks of the Adirondacks. 
Views from the top of the fire tower are very rewarding.  Here is a view north.
A view to the west with Goodnow Flow hemmed in by mountains.
An amazing view from inside the cab.
Views are almost perfect from up here, with 270 degree views.  Only south views are blocked by tree growth, but even there you can see for a long distance through the tree tops.  This is a view to the northwest.
Algonquin and Avalanche Pass are the most notable features looking towards the High Peaks.
A zoomed in view of several 4000 foot peaks.
Evergreens surrounding the summit.
Unbeatable views.
Heading down the fire tower.
A rocky clearing provides this majestic northerly view once you are off the fire tower.  This is the best view from the actual 3386 foot summit.
The 5.0 mile Rt hike was a very pleasant woods walk most of the way, with only the second half of the climb up being challenging.  The amazing views made it all worth while.  After dropping Holden off to camp, I began heading back home down the northway.  It was simply too nice to be bottled up in the car though, so I stopped for a nice, leg stretching walk in Queensbury.  Clendon Brook Preserve is a small 51 acre preserve, providing a quiet woods walk near the banks of a babbling brook.
The trail is easy walking with pine needles underfoot to cushion your steps.  Its also hard to get lost.  The trail tells you when you're going in..
...and the way out. 
This is a fairly new property, only a couple of years old, and maintained nicely by the Queensury land Conservancy.
A nice area along the brook, with trees towering above.
Two footbridges span Clendon Brook.
Clendon Brook wandering through the forest.
The last footbridge, crossing back over the brook.  Clendon Brook eventually empties into the nearby Hudson River.
The trail is actually an oasis of wodland, surrounded by housing developments.  This section of trail comes only 30 feet from nearby backyards.
Late afternoon sun shining down.
Although not even a mile in length, this trail was a perfect place to get out and get some fresh air before the rest of the ride home.  A nearly perfect Saturday in early July.  Going to be a great summer.

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