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Thursday, September 3, 2015

Hand Hollow State Forest(New Lebanon)

Went to explore a very recent New York State land acquisition in the town of New Lebanon after work today.  The 518 acre Hand Hollow State Forest was purchased from Little Pine LLC and Columbia Land Conservancy in December 2014 and was opened to the public back in April.  Just last week the DEC began clear cutting a trail and parking area along County Route 34(Hand Hollow Rd). 
A large parking area is being built on the north side of Hand Hollow Road with new stone being laid down.  My dad and I parked here and made our way across the road.
On the south side of County Route 34 is a wide access point where a gravel trail drops steeply away from the road towards Hollow Brook.
 The clearing eventually leads to peaceful Hollow Brook, where a footbridge may possibly be built in the future.
 Hollow Brook meandering through the woods.
 After crossing the brook, the clearing begins to climb up through a mixed forest.
 The new clear cut area eventually meets up with an old road, which continues the climb towards the pond.
 After about .65 miles the trail arrives at a large mountain pond. 
 The old road continues south past the west side of the pond and eventually nears McGrath Hill Road to the south.  A CLC property trail leaves the pond's shoreline and heads west from here, but due to the heat and humidity we chose not to explore it.
Primitive camping is allowed here and we even found a fire ring on the east side of the pond.  Returned back the way we came on a very hot late summer afternoon.  About 1.4 miles RT.

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