Search This Blog

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Alander Mountain(South Taconics)

Kalli and I had a rare free Sunday, so even though temperatures were struggling into the teens following a frigid morning, we decided to do a hike to 2239 foot Alander Mountain in the Southern Taconics.  There are at least three trail options to access Alander, but we chose to park at the Mount Washington State Forest Headquarters in the very quiet southwest corner of Massachusetts to begin the hike there.  This was my second time climbing Alander, and I was excited to bring Kalli and Bella along for the hike.  Just past a kiosk the trail begins by entering an open field.  The parking lot elevation is around 1685 feet elevation.
After passing through some open fields the trail is easy to follow as it drops down into the woods and is marked with blue blazes.  Soon, we came to a footbridge crossing Lee Pond Brook.
 Frigid Lee Pond Brook.
 The trail follows an old woods road, which is wide and wet.  Following the last couple of cold days, the trail was more frozen than wet.
 A foot bridge crosses frozen Ashley Hill Brook.
 Zero degree temperatures have turned Ashley Hill Brook into a beautiful, frozen creek.
 A few yards past the foot bridge, another small set of falls can be seen running into Ashley Hill Brook(mostly frozen on this day).
 Passing through large stands of evergreens on an old road.
 As the trail climbs, it enters a hardwood forest with large patches of mountain laurel, which are very fragrant in late spring.
 There was much less snow and ice in the hardwoods, but we did hit some occasional patches of thick ice sheets.
 The trail levels out as you near the summit, with a steep rocky wall the only barrier between you and the top ridge line.
 Just below the summit is a cabin, which can be used on a first come, first use basis. 
 The Alander Mountain Cabin.
 One final steep push up to the top finds the trail winding through scrub oak and shrubs.  There are some views above the stunted tree tops, but there are much better views just a few feet further.
 Thirty miles o the west and just over the tree tops are views to the Catskills.
 A fantastic view southeast towards the Massachusetts/ Connecticut border.  The peaks visible are (L-R) Mount Ashley, Mount Frissell, and Brace Mountain.
 The summit of Alander is truly unique, with large, grassy open areas with sweeping views to the south, east and west.  There are seemingly endless views as you follow the trail south.
 Kalli and Bella took a break to enjoy a snack.  I continued on, like a kid in a candy store, enjoying the views.
 The trail seems to continue on for quite a while in this manner towards a rocky bump on the southwest shoulder of Alander.  The views towards rural Dutchess County are phenomenal.
 Feel free to explore the many informal foot paths that wander around Alander Mountain, each providing their own, unique view point.  A small path through the trees to the west lead me to some incredible looks towards the Catskills.
 Strong summit winds and temps hovering around 20 degrees were enough to make Kalli want to head back, so we didn't linger for too long.  I ran ahead north for about .1 of a mile on a portion of the South Taconic Trail to a couple of nice north facing views.
 We retraced our steps back down off the mountain, arriving back at frozen Ashley Hill Brook in the afternoon light.
 The temperature had warmed into the low 20's as we continued through the woods. 
 Crossing Lee Pond Brook as we neared the car.
We hiked about 6 miles RT on a sunny, cold late winter day.  Elevation gain is only about 700 feet, and the views at the top provide a lot of bang for the buck.

No comments:

Post a Comment