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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Lester Dam on the Boreas River(Central Adirondacks)

A very hot and humid summer day found my father and I exploring a little visited area in the central Adirondacks along the Boreas River just south of Blue Ridge Road.  We took my dad's high clearance vehicle down the Cheney Pond access road to the trailhead, which can be found by taking a right into a small parking area just about .2 mile north of the pond.  The trail starts just past the metal gate and is surrounded by tall weeds.
 The trail heads generally south-southeast with very little elevation gain.  It is primarily a snowmobile trail and doesn't see a lot of hikers, meaning there was quite a bit of blowdown and undergrowth along the trail.
 About 2 miles in we spotted a small beaver pond about 30 yards off the trail so we made our way over to check it out.  It was very picturesque in the early morning light.
 A bit further down the trail, and only about .1 of a mile before the river, we came to a water crossing.  It was a bit tricky because the water had flooded the trail as well as the surrounding woods.  We had to get a bit creative and luckily lead us to this fine view of the backed up water only a few yards off the trail.
 After 2.2 miles, we could hear the sounds of rushing water.  We knew that meant we had arrived at the Boreas River.  We headed first downstream, where we found a canoe.  We also found that the water was pretty high after our recent rains.
 I bushwhacked my way both upstream and downstream, looking for a nice place to stop for lunch.  I didn't find too many clear spots, but did find some pretty decent river views.  Here is a look downstream at the still water section of the river.
A bit upstream from the dam site, the river bends to the east.  This is a very pretty spot, but the growth along the shoreline made it nearly impossible to get too close.
 I spotted this rough shelter atop a small knob near the river.  Looks like it was from a few years ago.
We picked out a small spot just downstream from the old dam site to try our hand fishing.
 Rapids cascading down past the old dam.
 After not having much luck fishing, I decided to go check out the old dam site in more depth.  Here is the exact location of the dam, which was last used in 1951.
 A careful eye can pick out some of the dam remains just below the water surface.
 I clawed my way down to a rock near the dam for a better look downstream, where the water comes rushing along.  This may be an easier spot to visit in low water, but was actually a bit unnerving today.
 More old structural remains from the old dam.
 After wandering around the river's edge for quite a while, we finally turned back(the deer flies were obnoxious and made our decision even easier).  Passing by a beaver meadow where we had to leave the trail due to high water.
 Arrived back at the truck, glad to be away from the deer flies and humidity.  4.4 miles RT.
After taking a breather, we decided to head down the remaining .2 of a mile down to Cheney Pond.  It is a very beautiful location and looks like it would be a fun place to explore by canoe.  There is a Lean To on the far eastern sandy shoreline that is only accessible by water.  We were going to try to fish this, but the water was quite shallow along the shores so we opted to do it another time. 
We really enjoyed this gorgeous, often forgotten section of the Adirondacks.  Not surprisingly we didn't see anyone else the entire time.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Hand Hollow State Forest(New Lebanon)

I first visited the 518 acre Hand Hollow State Forest back in September of 2015 just after the DEC had began work on a parking lot and trail.  This evening I decided to pay a visit to the forest again to see what kind of progress has been made.  I was quite impressed with the kiosk and forest map located beside the parking lot near the junction of Schoolhouse Road and Columbia County Route 34(Hand Hollow Rd).  This hike was to be an out and back 1.4 mile round trip visit to 10 acre Spiegelberg Lake.
The trail begins on the south side of Hand Hollow Road across from the parking lot and is handicap accessible.  It is wide and easy to follow with crushed stone over the muddy areas. It quickly drops down from the road to a couple of bridge crossings.
 Crossing over peaceful Hollow Brook, which contains wild brown and brook trout.
 Once across the brook, the trail winds it way uphill to an access road, which continues ascending the rest of the way towards Spiegelberg Lake.
 Just before arriving at the lake, the trail turns sharply left, arriving at a fishing pier on the north shore.
 Sat back and relaxed at the fishing pier for a few minutes, soaking in the solitude. 
Retraced my steps back to car as evening set in.  1.4 miles total on a very humid night.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Twin Mountain and Unnamed Summit South of Twin-Bushwhack(Catskills)

Met up with my buddy Jim to do a traverse bushwhack hike from Mink Hollow up the unnamed 2883 foot summit just south of Twin Mountain and then continue north up to Twin's double summits, before dropping back down to Pecoy Notch and our spotted car on Roaring Kill Road.  This was a special hike for Jim, as this would complete his quest to bushwhack all of the 35 Catskill High Peaks(which means taking a non traditional true bushwhack route on the untrailed mountains-no herd paths)
We parked at the Mink Hollow parking area(elevation of about 1500 feet) and began heading north on the trail until a very short distance in when we hit state land.  Once on state land, we crossed the babbling Batavia Kill, which was an easy rock hop across today.
 After crossing the creek, we headed up and over the extreme southern portion of Sugarloaf's long ridge, before dropping down to another creek crossing.  This tributary of the Batavia Kill was chock full of fallen trees and limbs.
 Immediately east of the creek, the ascent begins and is steady but not overly steep.  We came upon several large patches of fern glades, including this large area where they were nearly as tall as Jim.
 After a little more than 2 miles, we arrived at the 2883 foot unnamed summit.  I climbed upon a large boulder in a clearing, where I found a view north towards Twin Mountain.
 We stumbled across this pretty large rock cairn.  The middle stone is about 5 feet high and looks like it is quite heavy.
 We loved the open meadow by the summit.  Very unique, especially at this lofty elevation.
 Another shot of the open meadow near the summit.
 After leaving the summit, we began a descent down to the saddle between the unnamed peak and Twin Mountain  Elevation in the saddle was just about 2500 feet.  From there we continued the bushwhack north, where we would be gaining over 1000 feet in less than .9 of a mile.
 Although the ascent was tough, we took our time, enjoying the trip.
 Once we neared Twin's south summit, we began to enjoy some of the views that the summit is known for.
 From Twin's south summit is a nice view north towards Pecoy Notch.
 Southwest views from Twin's 3520 foot south summit.
The summit area provides a great view west towards 3800 foot Sugarloaf.
 We continued just over half a mile on the Devils Path to Twin's 3650 foot north(and true) summit, where there are decent views as well.
 Continuing on the trail, it is a pretty steep descent down towards Pecoy Notch, where there are some pretty amazing views.  Here is an up close shot of Sugarloaf.
 A steady drop down.
A northwest view on the descent towards the East Jewett Range.
 Twin Mountain across the beaver pond.
 Sugarloaf across the beaver pond.
 Continuing along the trail, we stopped briefly at the stream crossing, with a pleasant view of a small cascade.
With just about a mile left to the spotted car, we arrived at Dibbles Quarry, and its nice views.  This made our final break spot.
From Dibbles Quarry, we enjoyed one last view towards Twin Mountain.
Arrived back at the car at about 5pm and saw only one other person all day.  Just over 9 miles RT, with a little over 2700 feet elevation gain.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Exploring the old Gooley Club Land(Central Adirondacks)

In the summer of 2013, the NY DEC purchased a large tract of land now known as the Pine Lake Primitive Area, which was formerly owned by the private Gooley Club.  There are some very beautiful features in this quiet area of the Adirondacks and I've been quite anxious to visit this area for a while now.  Since most of the hiking is pretty easy with little elevation gain, I had my dad come along as well.  We parked at a gate just past the old Gooley Club House, which is the furthest point north we could drive on Chain Lakes Road South(the old Gooley Club Road).  Chain Lakes Road South is found just east of the hamlet of Indian Lake, on the north side of Route 28.
 From the field just below the Gooley Club House is a nice view down towards the Hudson River.
 I found a rough foot path, which heads down through a field and provides access to the Hudson.
 A look downstream.
Headed back uphill to the parking area, beginning the hike just past the gate.  The Gooley Club Road is now a marked hiking trail and is very easy to follow.  We headed north, enjoying a comfortable summer morning.
 After about 1.2 miles, we arrived at a yellow marked trail, which heads west towards Clear Pond.  This trail is much more of a foot path and much different than the road we had been hiking.  The DEC sign says .3 miles to the pond, but I measured it as closer to half a mile.  Arrived at the beautiful shore of the pond, with Dunbrook Mountain looming in the distance.
 Saw some small rocky cliffs on the north end of the pond. 
 We brought along some fishing poles and fished from a large rock along the shore.  We caught a bunch of sunfish but threw them back in.
 After relaxing at the pond for about 45 minutes, we headed back on the trail, soon arriving back at the old road.  We turned left here, continuing north .
 After about 1.5 miles north from the trail junction, we arrived at a fork in the trail.  We turned right here, heading a short distance down to the Cedar River.
The calm waters of the Cedar River.  We found a rock, which juts out steeply over the creek and decided to fish from there.  We caught a couple of small mouth bass and even spotted an enormous snapping turtle.
 A bend in the river upstream from our fishing spot.
 After about a half hour, we turned back, heading back south.  The road this far north is much rougher, with summer growth crowding in.
 Once we got back to our vehicle, we drove back down to the first parking area and parked there.
The Indian River can be heard roaring along just below the parking area.  A short foot path provides access.
 We hiked about .35 miles back north along the road, where a gate and a woods road can be seen on the right.  This woods road is unmarked but wide and easy to follow, heading east towards the confluence of the Hudson and Indian Rivers.
 After about .6 miles on the woods road and just under a mile from the first parking area, we arrived at the confluence of the two rivers.  This is a really gorgeous spot and well worth the effort. 
We retraced our steps from here, passing a group of forest rangers on the way back.  They were very friendly and chatted with us for a few. 
Hiked about 8 miles total for the day with minimal elevation gain and loss.