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Saturday, March 26, 2016

Rensselaerville State Forest

Took a ride out to rural western Albany County after work this afternoon under brilliant blue skies.  Rensselaerville is a quiet yet beautiful town which borders Schoharie County to the west and Greene County to the south.  It is a place of much natural beauty and is best approached from the east by following Route 85(Delaware Turnpike) all the way to its terminus in the quaint hamlet of Rensselaerville.
Turning right onto Albany County Route 353 brings you through the heart of the village and then climbs up rolling hills to gorgeous open fields and views.  There are several roads which branch off to the south(CR 359/360, CR 358) that provide incredible southerly views towards the Northern Catskills.  Here is a nice shot of an old barn with the Catskill Peaks dominating the skyline.
If you have the time, I strongly urge you to explore the back roads of this area.  You will not be disappointed.  I eventually made my way west along County 353 down to County 358, and then Cheese Hill Road.  I parked at the intersection of Cheese Hill Road and the CCC Road.  The first thing I noticed as I stepped out of the car, was the sounds of song birds in the air.  The rushing people and passing cars were far from sight and mind here.  Yes, this was a perfect spot for a quiet walk.
I began walking the CCC Road, a road that was built in the 1930's as part of reforestation work and made up of red slate.
There are many woods roads that double as hiking trails which criss-cross this forest. None are well marked however, so be careful and have a map if you are going to explore these woods.
I followed a woods road east down to a picturesque beaver pond.
Enjoying a relaxing spot along the shore.
Stone walls line the woods, a reminder of our farming past.
Passing through a pine plantation.
This is a high elevation forest, with an average elevation of 2100 feet.  This makes for a good cross country skiing destination in the winter, but poor drainage makes for very muddy trails in the spring.
Even the main roads of the forest see so little traffic that they themselves can be hiked.  I hiked the CCC Road to Scutt Road, and then turned and followed Scutt Road to the south.  I only saw one other car my entire road walk.
A nice view past a fence and across open fields towards the hills of Schoharie County from Scutt Road.
I hiked about 4 miles total on a picture perfect early spring day in the beautiful hilltowns of Albany County.

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