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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Burnt-Rossman Hills State Forest(Schoharie County)

Visited the 10,588 acre Burnt-Rossman Hills State Forest, the largest state forest in Schoharie County, with my dad today.  I always take advantage of opportunities to get out with my father so today was a blessing. 
We were planning to hike a section of the Long Path which runs through the forest.  We parked at a small pull off along West Kill Road(County Route 43) in North Blenheim and crossed the road to the aqua blazed trail, just past the bridge for Doney Hollow Brook.
Doney Hollow Brook.
The Long Path follows an old road along the brook, climbing steeply up Doney Hollow.
The brook is a constant companion much of the way and there are several pretty cascades that drop down along the trail.
The Long Path heads steadily north through very quiet woods, lined with old stone walls.
A little over a mile into the hike, remnants from two 19th century sawmills can be found.  To the right we found a large stone structure, with steps leading up and to more stone structures.
To the left of the trail, along the brook, are the obvious remnants of the sawmill, which operated in the mid 1800's.
From the sawmill looking downstream.
Babbling brook.
As we continued climbing slow but steadily up Burnt Hill, we soon arrived at a large washed out area of the trail. 
After 1.9 miles, the trail crosses a good woods road(Burnt Hill Road).
After crossing the road, we continued north, turning sharply left towards Duck Pond at wooden planks over a wet section of woods.
We headed west, following along the south edge of Duck Pond with only minimal water of about one foot depth.
I didn't want to push my dad too hard so after leaving the marshy area, we arrived back at Burnt Hill Road, and then looped back to the Long Path, following it south for 2.15 miles back to our vehicle.  This was a total of 4.3 miles RT.
After relaxing in the truck for a bit, we then drove to the north section of the state forest and parked at the large parking lot located at Looking Glass Pond.  This pond was created by the West Fulton Rod and Gun Club in 1996 at the site of a former 19th century Mill Pond.  There are beautiful, newly built picnic tables and viewing decks, as well as a foot trail around the pond.
The Long Path heads south along the east edge of the water and closely follows a deadwood swamp area of the pond.
After reentering the woods, the Long Path soon arrives at a new parking lot along Morey Road.  About 100 feet north of this parking lot is historic Rossman Hill Cemetery.  We visited this spot and saw many gravestones from the 19th century, with the latest burial that we could find being dated 1917.
The Long Path heads east off of Morey Road and with a .10 of mile arrives at a large, recent clear cut area.
Roughly .6 of a mile from Looking Glass Pond parking area, we arrived at the Eminence Lean To.
We relaxed for a while at the beautiful lean to, soaking up the solitude of the woods.
After enjoying the lean to, we retraced our steps back to the truck, passing several stone walls along the way.
We hiked about 5.5 miles total on a cloudy, quiet day in these remote woods.

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