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Friday, March 11, 2016

Cole Hill State Forest(East Berne)

Got out for a nice walk in the woods at 876 acre Cole Hill State Forest in rural East Berne after work this afternoon.  There are a few different parking areas that provide access to the forest, with most being centered round County Route 2 and 3, as well as Irish Hill Rd.  I parked in a pull off area along County Route 2(Cole Hill Road) and entered the woods here, following the signature aqua blazes of the Long Path.
Following the Long Path as it passes through a high elevation forest on a breezy day with temps in the upper 40's.
The Long Path passes many old stone walls through these woods.
The trail soon drops down towards a beautiful beaver pond.
After crossing a well built foot bridge, a blue marked trail continues straight, but the Long Path turns right following the water.  I continued along the Long Path here.  The view looking back at the bridge and small beaver dam.
The trail skirts a large marsh to the right and passes through an gorgeous area known locally as "Avenue of the Pines".
Only a few yards off the trail is a nice view of another beaver pond.
Even with our way above average temperatures of late, there is still a little bit of ice remaining along the shaded shoreline.
Looking upstream at the outlet of the beaver pond.
After being washed out in 2011 from Hurricane Irene, the original 1995 foot bridge at this location was rebuilt by Long Path North hiking club members.
After crossing County Route 3(Willsie Road), the Long Path ascends to a flat plateau.
As the trail follows the steep slopes above Irish Hill Road, there are nice views west over the Switzkill Valley through the trees tops.
The steep west slopes near the trail.
The trail skirts a large clear cut area as it turns east.
Passing yet another stone wall.
I left the Long Path near the clear cut and followed a yellow marked ski trail back towards Willsie Road again, where I stumbled across an old cemetery deep in the woods.
Hiked about 3 miles RT through a beautiful, quiet state forest on another warm late winter day.

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