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Saturday, June 13, 2015

Harlem Valley Rail Trail(Taconics)

Didn't really have any plans to go out exploring today, but the weather was way too nice to stay home, so I drove to Harlem Valley Rail Trail, located near the Massachusetts/ NY state line.  The Rail Trail has two paved sections totaling 15 miles through rural Dutchess and Columbia Counties.  I was starting from the new Orphan Farm Road designated trail head, 1.2 miles north of Taconic State Park in Copake Falls. 
 Saw a lot of bikers out enjoying the trail today.
 Just before entering the woods, this is the view to the north across the open fields.
 After a mile or so, you begin to hear children's voices and lots of yelling.  This can only mean one are nearing Taconic State Park.  The railroad crossing sign still remains from the old station, where a deli and convenience store now stand.
 Continuing past the state park, the sounds of people are soon replaced by the sounds of nature.  I spotted this deer in an adjacent field, just west off the trail.
 About a half mile past the state park, the trail leaves the old rail bed and becomes one with gravel Valley View Road.  The open views from the road are very nice.  This section along the road only lasts .4 mile before rejoining the rail bed.
The trail travels through peaceful, rural farmland, with pleasing views along the way.
Just past the Valley View Road parking area, the trail passes through fenced in woodland. A sign just prior to this spot indicates that this is a timber rattlesnake habitat area.
 There are several benches placed along the trail for resting and soaking in the nature around you.
 Rolling hills and farmland to the west.
Turned around about half a mile past Valley View Road and retraced my steps back.  Stopped by at the bridge crossing over Bash Bish Brook's sun splashed waters.
 I left the trail for a moment and went down to get a closer look at the crystal clear waters of the brook.
 Almost all the way back to the car. 
 Open fields blowing in the wind and showered in hazy sun.
 A stone marker reading "NY 106" is found next to the parking lot at Orphan Farm Road indicating that this spot is  exactly 106 miles north of New York City.
 Walked about 5 miles RT, all level, on the paved rail trail.

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