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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Gull Bay Preserve/ Last Great Shoreline Preserve(Eastern Adirondacks-Lake George Area)

Once the weather finally cleared up on Tuesday, I decided to head north to do some hiking on the east side of Lake George at a couple of Lake George Land Conservancy Preserves, both in the town of Putnam.  In looking over maps online, I saw that the two preserves are now connected by a 1.25 mile trail, meaning I could hike most of the trails at both preserves in one stop.  I drove to the Gull Bay Preserve parking lot which can be found by continuing north for 15.4 miles past Whitehall to Gull Bay Road on the left, where you turn left and stay straight for 1.75 miles to Sagamore Road on the right.  From there, just over half a mile down the road on the right is a sign and dirt driveway leading to the parking area.
 I parked the car and began hiking up towards the kiosk, where I was quickly ambushed by a swarm of bees.  Not exactly sure where they came from, but I believe they must've built a hive somewhere around the kiosk and I bothered them.  I was stung once and quickly scampered away, luckily escaping any further stings.  Slightly shaken, I gathered myself and decided to continue on.
I followed the blue marked trail, which climbs up towards a lookout in .3 of a mile on the southern portion of the preserve.
 The lookout at the end of the blue trail is a fine spot to rest and soak in the views over Lake George.  Unfortunately, the clouds were hanging pretty tough at this point.
 Continuing on an orange marked trail, which heads east and then north on an old logging road passing closely along the shores of a beaver pond and swamp.
 The orange trail travels north for one mile passing through some wetter spots and one overgrown, somewhat confusing spot in particular near a beaver dam.  Here's the start of re-route area.
 The red trail continues north/ northeast where the orange trail ends.  Wildflowers along the red trail.
 On its way north the red trail passes another large wetland, this one being part of the southern end of Sucker Brook.
 Crossing over the outlet of the wetland.
 Once across the outlet, the red trail swings back southeast, directly up a steep slope.
 From the top of the ledges are some pleasant views over the wetland and towards some distant peaks.
 Views to the southwest.
 Northwest views from the ledges.
 I retraced my steps back off the red trail to a junction with a yellow marked trail.  I followed that west to the connector trail(also blazed in yellow) and headed north to the Last Great Shoreline Preserve.
 The first section of the connector trail follows a woods road, before turning off into the woods on a rough foot trail.  A couple of sections are quite steep, with one spot actually having wooden steps to help.
 Once on the grounds of the Last Great Shoreline Preserve, I soon picked up a blue marked trail which winds its way southwest down towards Lake George.  A small clearing provides a view down towards the lake.
 A rustic bench lends itself to unwinding for a few.
 Just beyond the bench and view, the trail drops abruptly down through a deep ravine down towards the lake.
 Arriving at the shores of beautiful Lake George.  A view south towards a couple of very small islands, known as the Rock Brothers.
 A view up the north shore.
 A dock juts out into the water, offering the chance to get quite intimate with the lake.
 A last look at the dock.
 I climbed back up the blue trail, eventually meeting up with a red marked trail loop, which leads to a spot referred to as the "Vermont View". 
With daylight waning, I picked up my pace, heading back south to the Gull Bay Preserve.  As I arrived back at  the wetlands, I noticed clearing skies and sunlight on the far shore.
 Instead of heading back to the car, I decided to take advantage of the sunshine bu heading back up the blue trail to the Lake George view spot, only .3 miles past the kiosk.
 The fleeting evening sun made for perfect conditions.  It was hard to tear myself away from this spot.
Hiked about 7.5 miles total at a couple of beautiful preserves.  Didn't see another person the entire time.

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