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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Bear Swamp Preserve(Westerlo-Albany County)

Visited the Bear Swamp Preserve today, a Nature Conservancy property located in the Albany County hilltown of Westerlo.   The 310 acre Preserve was designated a Registered National Natural Landmark in 1973.  Parking is found on the south side of Albany County Route 404(Bear Swamp Rd).
 I first crossed the road and followed the unmarked but easy to follow foot path to a stone memorial, which overlooks "Little Bear Swamp" on the north side of the Preserve.
 I crossed back to the main portion of the Preserve on the south side of the road, beginning the loop trail around the swamp. 
 The trail is well marked but overgrown in sections near the wetlands.
 A view to the south over Bear Swamp.
 Stone walls line many of the woods, especially along the eastern edge of the swamp.  I saw a large, fresh pile of bear scat in this area, so remained on alert the rest of the hike.
 There are a wide variety of many different mushrooms due to the wet soils.
 Typical swamp plants along the western edge of the swamp.
 Murky waters.
 The western loop of the trail closely follows the swamp and footing can be tricky along this section.
 A panorama of Bear Swamp near the trail's terminus.
 The inlet of the swamp is much more clean and pond like.
 After 1.6 miles the trail terminates at the highway.  You must walk about .3 of a mile east along the county highway to complete the loop.  Luckily, this is a very quiet, rural country road that doesn't see much traffic. 
Hiked about 1.9 miles total on another humid summer day.  Was fortunate to stay dry, with thunderstorms in the forecast.

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