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Friday, December 9, 2016

Switz Kill Farm(Berne)

Visited the Switz Kill Farm after work today on a windy, cold afternoon.  Got caught in some snow squalls on the drive up into the Albany Hilltowns but it had cleared by the time I arrived.  The former Buddhist site is a new town of Berne property located at the end of Game Farm Road, and parking is available at the end of the road, next to the lodge, the main meeting place. 
I found a red marked trail and followed into the woods, past stone walls climbing gradually to the north and west.
 I left the trail to head up a short distance to the summit of East Hill, which is a large cleared gravel area.
 Headed back down into the woods, where the red trail forms a loop, skirting around East Hill.  Along the south side of East Hill are some open fields, with nice views towards the Catskills and nearby hills.
 Followed some informal trails, marked with flagging through the open hardwood forests.  Found some nice, snow covered stone walls nestled among these hills.
 A VERY large rock cairn.
 The southern section of the property is dotted with large, open fields.
 These open fields provide some pretty good views to the south, where some intense snow squalls were forming.
Following the flagged route  through the woods along the southwest edge of the property.  A steep drop off lies only a few feet away, where peek a boo views can be found.
 More peek a boo views into the Switzkill valley.
 A small viewpoint provided a good view as some snow squalls forming over the Partridge Run WMA.
 Heading north through the woods, passing by a deep ravine carved out by a small stream.
 The mouth of a small mountain stream dropping through the snow covered woods.
 Hiked north all the way back up to the red trail near the property line before turning back south and east.  The bright sun was doing its best to warm up the cold, windy day.  I was lucky enough to stumble upon a group of 5 or 6 deer, who all scattered as I got near.
Crossed down to the southeast edge of the property and found another flagged trail through the woods that dropped steeply down towards a tributary of the Switz Kill.  This made for a very scenic area.
Looped back up the steep ravine from the creek, through open fields back to the car.  Hiked about 4 miles RT.

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