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Monday, April 28, 2014

Berry Pond Circuit Road(Pittsfield State Forest)

Looks like a lot of rain in the upcoming forecast for the week, so I took the opportunity to get out to do some hiking after work while we had a decent day.  I drove east to the Pittsfield State Forest just over the state line in Massachusetts.  There are many trails here, but I decided to do a hike of the main paved road through the forest.  It climbs steadily to the top of Berry Hill and then descends back to the forest entrance for a total of 5.5 miles.
 As I climbed the road, a couple of cars went by, but it was mostly quiet, with the only sound being the rushing Lulu Brook far down the hillside.
 After climbing for quite a distance, you reach a short side trail that leads to a wonderful display of Azaleas in June.  Unfortunately there is still little in the way of flowers or plants at this elevation. The trail leads through brush and meadows to a fine clearing with nice views.  A close look reveals the circuit road amongst the trees and Mount Greylock's Memorial Tower in the distance.
 The sun and cloud mix made for interesting skies over nearby Berry Mountian.
 Once back on the circuit road, even more amazing views lie ahead from the summit of Berry Hill.
 A small pull off affords drivers a chance to park and soak in the majestic view to the west.
 The views are splendid past the state line and into New York.
 The view here is above the deep state forest woods of Goodrich Hollow and into the farmland of rural Rensselaer County.
 A nice spot to roam around and enjoy the views.
 Some of New York's rolling hills fade into the horizon.
 A great view at the rural countryside of Stephentown, NY.
 Continuing down the road, a look back at the parking area lookout.
 Just down the hill from Berry Hill lies Berry Pond, the highest natural body of water in the entire state.
 The reflections were amazing as the clouds danced around.
It is amazing to view the clarity of the water of Berry Pond.  There are several campsites located along the pond however, and is usually one of the most popular spots in the State Forest.
 A bit further along the road, is a side trail that leads about .3 miles to Tilden Swamp. This is a far more tranquil location if you are looking for serenity.
 The clouds were really thickening up as I looked out over the swamp's waters.
 Parker Brook's headwaters are found here at the outlet from Tilden Swamp.  Further down in the forest, the brook has several beautiful cascades that are worth a look.
 As I descended steadily down the circuit road, the sun began to reemerge making for a very pleasant walk.
 Noticed this pretty cascade flowing down the mountain from an unnamed tributary of Parker Brook.
 Finally the road begins to level off as you near some more camping areas and open fields.  Parker Brook continues to flow beautifully beside the road here.
 There's something about the sound of a babbling brook that is certainly relaxing.
 I'm always amazed by just how clear the mountain water is here.  Whether it be Parker Brook, pictured here:
 Or Lulu Brook seen here, the water has a purity that is hard to match anywhere else.
As I returned to the car, there were many mountain bikers arriving.  The parking lot was nearly full, so it was my time to leave.  After completing the circuit road and several small side trails for a total of just under 7 miles, I felt satisfied and ready to head home.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Evening Stroll in Schodack Town Park

A long 12 hour day at work, followed by a dreary, cloudy afternoon left me ready for a nap.  Clearing skies and a sunny evening was enough to prompt me to go for a short walk at the nearby Schodack Town Park, however.
 A quiet stroll was just what I needed.
 The grass has really greened up the last few days.
 Evening sunshine streaming through the trees.
 Greening up!
 A picnic table makes for a pleasant spot to stop and relax.
 A stone plaque and two flags remember those fallen on 9/11.
 A cool but beautiful evening along the Moordener Kill.
 A look into the woods shows a lot of green, where it was bare and brown just days before.
 Skunk cabbage seems to grows in abundance in these woods.
A very short but nice evening walk.  Seems as if spring is really starting to take hold.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Clarendon Lookout(Vermont)

Went for a small get away with Heather and Sasha the little pup to Vermont for a couple of days.  I convinced Heather to go for a short, but steep hike up to a lookout spot on the nearby Appalachian Trail.  The trail head was located about ten minutes away from the hotel at a parking area along Route 103 in East Clarendon.
We first took the south trail for a quick 5 minute walk down to Clarendon Gorge.  Here is Heather posing with Sasha!
Mill River runs far below the suspension bridge at the gorge.
The suspension bridge made for a nice spot to stop and look far below.  The slight wobble of the bridge was enough to make  it interesting.
Mill River running downstream.
After lingering for a couple of minutes we headed back on the northern trail for about a half mile to a spot known as Clarendon Lookout.  The trail heads steeply through a rocky area where footing an climbing was tough.
The sheer size of the rocky cliffs was amazing.
Here is a nice shot of Heather happily climbing behind me.  That's a happy smile.
After steadily climbing for about 20 minutes we reached a more level spot with a view back down between the cliffs.
Sasha was very intrigued by the chipmunks that seemed to be coming out of the rocks everywhere.  They didn't have a fear of humans either and would walk up to about 5 feet away from you without running off.
After about a half an hour total we arrived at the lookout.  A beautiful spot to admire the view.  The Rutland
State Airport's runway and landing strips can be seen below.
The valley about 500 feet far below.
It was a beautiful evening to linger at the lookout.  Love this picture of Heather and Sasha.
We lingered at the rocky lookout spot for about 20 minutes.
Route 103, the road we drove there on, stretches below.
The descent back down through the rocky trail.
We hiked about a total of 1 mile RT. but it was challenging.