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Monday, July 30, 2018

Spruce Lake(West Canada Lakes Wilderness)

Got a last minute invite to go north with my dad to a gorgeous area in the remote West Canada Lake Wilderness, so of course I accepted.  Unfortunately, the lack of planning left me without my good camera, so I had to make do with my cell phone pics.  We drove all the way to the end of bumpy,  winding Jessup River Road and parked there.  Once on the trail, it was a fairly uneventful 3.1 mile hike to the first of three Lean-To's on Spruce Lake.  Due to this route being part of the Northville-Placid Trail, this is a fairly popular shelter.
A slew of herd paths head all around the lake shore, providing fantastic views.  A pair of loons made this remote setting nearly perfect.
We headed north on the trail all the way to the second Lean-to, where we found another herd path heading down to the lake.  A left turn at the lake lead us directly to an informal campsite.
Someone has spent a lot of time setting this site up.
The view south towards Spruce Lake Mountain from the point.
We enjoyed fishing here for a couple of hours, soaking in the solitude of this gorgeous location.  Blue skies, low humidity, and a light south breeze made conditions almost perfect.
Took our time heading back, enjoying the beautiful summer day.  Hiked about 7.7 miles RT and saw only one other hiker on the trail all day.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Bald Mountain via Lewis Hollow(Taconic Crest Trail)

Took advantage of a beautiful summer afternoon by doing a bit of exploring in the Taconics, not terribly far from my house.  I wanted to hike up the steep west side of the Taconics in an area that I haven't ever been to, so I decided to ascend the abandoned Lewis Hollow access trail up to the Taconic Crest Trail via an easement.  From an elevation of about 1080 feet along Lewis Hollow Road, I enjoyed an impressive view of the Taconic ridge to the east across open meadows.
The abandoned access trail follows an old woods road, climbing steeply out of the hollow.  Much of it is overgrown and can be extremely difficult to follow in spots.
 Arriving at a clearing at just over 1500 feet, the view north towards the Taconic Ridge is quite nice.
The view NW just over the shoulder of the ridge.
As I gained elevation the woods roads branched out in many directions, but the main one became more obvious and easy to follow.
 The climb was pretty relentless, ascending straight up through the hollow.
 The woods road/ abandoned access trail was very pleasant up high.
 Nearing the head of the hollow at just about 2000 feet, with a precipitous drop off into the cirque on the right.
 Once I gained the main ridge, the ascent finally relented, arriving in a plateau like area accompanied by ferns.
After about 1.3 miles, I hit the Taconic Crest Trail at just over 2200 feet, a climb of over 1100 feet.
 Heading south on the trail, I passed by the first Route 346 sign(which is the end of the Taconic Crest Trail)There is also one more at 4 miles.
 The Taconic Crest Trail is a long trail that follows the "crest" of the Taconic range in this region.  There are many ups and downs on this trail, however, and began to feel like I was riding the waves.
 ATV use is obvious in this area along the trail, with tires tracks all over the place.  Unfortunately in low spots, the trail becomes more like a lagoon.
 Continuing south, I began the climb up Bald Mountain, with a steep drop off to the west.  It appears in many spots along this stretch that there would be views without the leaves on the trees.
 The trail doesn't go to the true 2484 foot summit of Bald Mountain, but a short bushwhack brought me up to the nondescript, wooded summit.  The trail does, however, offer a peek a boo view just off the east side of the summit towards the Pownal, Vermont area.  A bench provides a resting spot to enjoy the view.  Again, I'm confident this view is much better with the leaves off.
An uneventful hike back brought me back to the car with a little over 6 miles hiked and 1900 feet of ascent.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Mount Pisgah/ Little Pisgah(Catskills)

We were asked to use discretion on this hike, so I will keep this post very basic.
Started the hike at a lofty 2150 feet along a lovely old woods road.
 Early views from an old ski slope.
 Bushwhacking through fern glades.
Jim, climbing up the good woods road.
Jim leading the way, emerging into a clearing.
 Ascending up an old ski run.
 Jim heading up on yet another humid summer day.  Thankfully there was a light breeze much of the day to keep us cool.
 Views west/northwest opening up behind us.
 Every few steps of elevation gained provided even broader western views.  This was very enjoyable.
 A zoom shot a bit more northwest.
After hitting our first summit with about 1200 feet of elevation gain, we headed to our second mountain.
More fern glades making for ideal bushwhacking.
 Jim at the top of summit #2 for the day.  92/102 for me!!
 Descending off summit #2, we came across a very old woods road, creating a tunnel effect.
From NYC DEP land, we enjoy these views from former pasture land across the hollow at our next ridge.
 The views into the head of the hollow.
 Nearing the bottom of the hollow, crossing old farm fields, we hit some prickers.
 Much of NYC DEP property lines follow old stone walls, as was the case here.
 Heavy rains this week(especially in the Catskills) have caused swelling creeks and streams.  Luckily our stream crossing wasn't terribly difficult, but we did end up with wet feet.
Weaver Hollow.
 3020 foot Little Pisgah from Weaver Hollow Road.
 Once across the road, at a low 1950 feet elevation it was a steady climb up through DEP land.
 Stone walls climbing up from the hollow with us.
 Fern glades and stone walls, a staple of many Catskill Hundred Highest peaks.
 A pastoral view SE from ledges at about 2500 feet.
The 2800 foot wooded summit of  "Weaver Hollow Peak"(the unofficial name we gave this small knob)
 A steep descent brought us back towards our car on Small Road.
 Thought this pole stand was pretty neat as we neared the road.
DEP land provided the perfect ending to our hike, with this serene pond reflecting the afternoon light and Hubbel Hill's ridge in the distance
 About 8 miles of total hiking today, with nearly 2500 feet elevation gain.  92/102 CHH!
My ride home through the beautiful western Catskills was( as always) spectacular.  This Roxbury barn sits at the base of a 3000 foot ridge of White Man Mountain.
 I had a bit of free time, so I explored some of the Catskill backroads, enjoying the incredible views all along the way.  Montgomery Hollow Road is an amazing drive.  Here is a nice shot of a nearby farm way up high on Shultice Mountain's ridge.
 The south ridge of Shultice Mountain makes quite a dramatic appearance from Montgtomery Hollow Road South.