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Friday, December 26, 2014

Hannacroix Ravine(Albany County)

I took advantage of a gorgeous, unseasonably warm late December day by heading out to the Hannacroix Ravien Preserve in rural Albany County.  The Nature Conservancy's trailhead is located via a small parking lot off of Cass Hill Road just past the tiny hamlet of Clarksville.
 The trail heads away from the parking lot into hemlock woods where the sounds of rushing water are quickly audible down a very steep bank.
 A beautiful waterfall can be seen from a small break in the woods, down the steep ravine.
 The trail is clearly marked with orange blazes throughout.
 A large meadow is just past a bend in the trail.
 It felt so very nice to be out walking with full sun and temperatures in the mid and upper 40's.
 Glimmer of light.
 Which way to go?
 Another in the many tributaries of the main creek, this small stream has cut out quite a path on its way down the ravine's banks.

 A small stream rushes downhill, dropping into one of Hannacroix Creek's many tributaries.

The effects of the sun,even during the winter, can be seen on this south facing hillside.
 A small, pretty cascade.
 After about 1.4 miles, I arrived at a creek crossing.  With the swift current and high waters this as going to be a challenge.
 After walking up and down the creek for a suitable crossing, I came to the realization that there was no easy place to get across. 
 I carefully jumped from a tree to a shallow landing surrounded by rushing water and then took a couple of wet steps and made one final leap to the other side.
 With all the recent rains and melting snow, there are countless tiny cascades throughout the preserve.
 The west side of the creek has a much different feel than the east side, with deeper woods and longer shadows as well as large patches of icy snow.
 The sun shining through a stand of hemlocks.
 A long, tailing fall dropping down a steep hillside.
 The late afternoon sun made for a picturesque scene in the bare winter woods.
 A wide, flat old road runs straight for a distance, making for easy walking.
 The view down into the ravine from the woods road.
 A stone wall runs along the old road for a while, a remnant of the past.
 The orange blazed trail comes to an end at a gate near a private residence.
 After leaving the woods, I followed quiet Cass Hill Road for about .3 miles back to the car.  According to the GPS, I hiked a total of 3.06 miles for the day. 

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