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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Moreau Lake State Park(Saratoga County)

I went north to hike Moreau Lake State Park in the Adirondack foothills after work today.  There are an abundance of trails throughout the park, with the most popular day use areas and trails surrounding the lake.  Today I would be hiking the more rugged and longer trails on the north side of the park along the Palmertown Range.  A small access road off of Spier Falls Road leads to a parking lot in the woods and a couple of trailheads.  I chose to begin my hike by ascending the green blazed Baker Trail, which climbs steadily for about one mile up to the Ridge Run Trail.
 A wide woods road is easy to follow on the climb.
 Another lovely September afternoon in the woods with steep banks along the trail.
 After following the red blazed Ridge Run Trail for a short distance, you arrive at a gorgeous overlook of Moreau Lake and far to the east.
 Afternoon sun dazzling through the trees at the rocky overlook.
 A closer look provides views down over rural Saratoga County, Washington County and all the way to Vermont's Green Mountains in the distance.
 Moreau Lake and its small cabin on the shore, which can be rented.
 Beech leaves turning yellow.
After leaving the fine eastern vista, I continued along the Red Ridge Run Trail through a darker hemlock forest, where the sun struggled to come in.
 After a little more than a mile on this trail, the forest began to change back to hardwoods and became much brighter as I arrived at the Yellow blazed Western Ridge Trail
 The trail zig zags back and forth and up and down on its way along the northern ridgeline of the Range. 
 There are numerous overlooks along the Western Ridge Trail, as it continues for almost 6 miles along the range.  The first view point is a gorgeous view north and west over the Hudson River and to the southern Adirondacks.
 Spier Falls Dam is easily visible from this vantage point, even through the hazy late afternoon sun's rays.
 A breathtaking view to the northeast of the Hudson River winding its way through the many peaks.
 A closer look at the calm, clean waters of the Hudson flowing between the Luzerne Mountains and Palmertown Mountain.
 Southern Adirondacks peaks as far as the eye can see to north.
 The West Ridge Trail bathed in late afternoon sunlight.
 One of the many bends in the trail.  Even the screened views through the bushes and trees is pleasant from the steep ridgeline.
 There are several clearings and rocky outcrops which provide incredible views from the trail.  Here is another clearing with a nice north facing vista.
 Spier Falls Dam.
 A beautiful view at the last viewing spot that I would visit today.
Looking at the cutout for the powerlines up the Luzerne Mountains.
 The trails are all identified by easy to follow colors.  There are many trail markers along the way, helping to prevent anyone from getting lost.
 Unfortunately, I was running out of daylight, so had to turn back, even though I would have loved to continue all the way to trail end.  The hike back was nice and quiet through dark ravines and then bright, sunny exposed clearings.
 Met a few folks out on mountain bikes, enjoying the beautiful evening as I neared the car.  Much of the West Ridge Trail is flanked by very steep, wooded slopes.
 The sun's fleeting rays.
 Just before arriving back at the car, I came to a spot where the trail was literally covered in leaves.
 Just down the road from the parking area, there are multiple public access spots to the Hudson River.  The river is much, much cleaner and peaceful at this northern location. 
A very nice early autumn day, which I was fortunate to get out and enjoy for a while after work.  Hiked about 6.7 miles total RT at a pretty good pace. 

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