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Friday, August 15, 2014

Schermerhorn Gorge(Berkshires)

It's been almost a week since I've been out at all, so even cool, cloudy conditions weren't going to keep me in today.  It was actually very un-summer like by noon when I got into the Berkshires with temps only in the mid 50's.
 Drove east to the central Berkshires to hike the Schermerhorn Gorge Trail in October Mountain State Forest.  The trailhead can be a little tricky to find, so I parked at a small pull off near Woods Pond in Lenoxdale and walked from there.  A beautiful footbridge crosses just above the outlet of Woods Pond where the Housatonic River flows downstream.
Gravel Woodland Road hugs the pond's shoreline and affords bucolic views out across the waters.
 The Pond is flanked by the steep slopes of October Mountain to the east.
 The pond is very serene and teeming with wildlife.  Purple Loosestrife made for a beautiful scene.
 Although peaceful to look at, the highest concentration of PCB's in the Housatonic River system are found at Woods Pond unfortunately.
 After a very pleasant stroll along Roaring Brook Road on the east shore of Woods Pond, you eventually come to the Gorge Trail.
 The trail climbs steeply at first, following the banks of babbling Schermerhorn Brook.
 It is a very nice walk, although fairly steep for a short distance.
 There are many picturesque, small cascades flowing downstream.
 Many huge rocks are scattered about amidst the mostly hemlock forest.
 The brook is never very far from the trail and makes for a pleasant trail companion.
 Hemlock woods near the top of the gorge.
 Schermerhorn Brook, just below the dam at Felton Lake.
 A very handsome keystone arch bridge built of native stone lies just below the dam.
 The flowing waters make for a gorgeous cascade below Felton Lake.
 Felton Lake's quiet, wooded shoreline.  A very peaceful, quiet spot.
 The lake is very small at only 12 acres, but offers plenty of opportunities to view wildlife.
 After enjoying the solitude of Felton Lake, the trail loops back down through the woods, along the north side of the brook.
 A bend in the brook where a fallen tree has made its home.
 More gorgeous cascades.
 Near the bottom of the gorge, Schermerhorn Brook flows peacefully along.
 After about .8 of a mile down through the gorge, you arrive back at gravel Roaring Brook Road.
 The remainder of the hike is along the gorgeous, wooded gravel roads.
Although a cool, autumn feeling summer day, it felt great to get out and hike 3.7 miles RT on a beautiful trail.


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