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Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Lye Brook Falls and Lye Brook Peak Rock Slides(Lye Brook Wilderness-Vermont)

Headed up into the Green Mountain National Forest in Vermont to do a little part trail/ part bushwhack exploring on a hot, summer like day.  My goal was to hike via trail to Lye Brook Falls, which I had previously visited, and then bushwhack up to a couple of large jumbled rock slide areas higher up the peak.  Got an early start in an attempt to beat the heat and arrived at the trailhead at the end of Glen Road just after sunrise.(Elevation 780 feet)

The trail is pretty straightforward and follows an old railroad line and woods road as it slowly gains elevation heading generally south.
After about 1.8 miles, the trail to the Falls splits right and descends a bit over 4/10 of a mile down to Lye Brook Falls.  This is truly a majestic site and it was a pleasure to have the 125 foot falls to myself!
After enjoying the falls, I backtracked about 1/10 of a mile to the site of a huge destructive slide that dates back to Tropical Storm Irene in 2011.


After surveying the slide area, I decided to give it a go, climbing steeply up and being careful to keep good footing along the way.  The neighboring unnamed ridge line to the west blocks any potential views however.  After reaching a point where the slopes became too steep and slick, I dove into the woods, continuing my ascent.

Climbing east, my route soon came to the Lye Brook Trail at about 1800 feet, which I crossed over and then continued to bushwhack NE towards the rock slides I was looking for.

The woods were mostly open and easy to navigate and soon enough I arrived at the base of the first area of loose boulders, which was actually a bit broader than I thought it would be.


Pinksters were abundant on this peak and are one of the prettier spring wildflowers in the mountains(IMO).

Although sitting at 2100 feet, the views from the first rock slide area of jumbled boulders are decent but limited.  Here's a peek south towards the ridge called "The Burning" on topographic maps.

From the higher area of rock slides, I dropped NW down to below 1800 feet and a killer view spot.  From an area of very steep, white rocks, the terrain drops off significantly.

Great views open up to the north from here, taking in (L-R) Owls Head, Mount Aeolus, Dorset in the distance, Mount Tabor and Styles Peak.

To the NW, reaching across Manchester, the far north end of Mount Equinox ends at Mother Myrick on the left and Mount Aeolus on the right.

More azaleas(pinksters) near the view point.

A short but steep bushwhack brought me down to the marked trail, which I followed back to the car, narrowly beating the incoming crowds.  Only passed a couple of small groups on the trail, but two more carloads were arriving as I packed up my car to leave.

Hiked about 5.5 miles RT, with 1600 feet of total ascent.

Map Below.  Blue P=Parking  Blue X=Falls  Black X's=Ledges


Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Plotter Kill Preserve(Town of Rotterdam, Schenectady County)

Visited the Plotter Kill Preserve for the first time in a while on yet another beautiful spring morning from the Mariaville Road trailhead.  Took my time exploring the various trails and soaking in the beautiful weather.

 Low water on Rynex Creek above the falls.

The Highland Trail was quite wet and muddy but very lush.

Quiet woods.
As the morning wore on, the areas around the creeks began to see a growing number of people so I moved on.  Looped back to the car for a nice and easy 2.5 miles total.

Mud Lake South Ridge aka Big Oak Hill(Shaker Mountain Wild Forest-Adirondacks)

Headed into the southern Adirondacks to do a short trail/ bushwhack hike to a small peak just off the Northville-Placid Trail near Mud Lake.  Several years ago I had visited the ridge just north of Mud Lake and found many good lookouts, but today I wanted to visit the ridge just south of Mud Lake to see if I could views.  Parked at the NPT trailhead off Collins-Gifford Valley Road(Elevation 885 feet) and was surprisingly the only car there when I arrived on a pleasantly cool spring morning.

The trail utilizes frequent switchbacks as it climbs steadily west, but is well marked and easy to follow.  After about 1.5 miles of hiking, at a height of land, I left the trail and began my bushwhack through open hardwoods on my way up to the top of the south ridge. 
Arriving at the wooded 1750 foot summit.
From the summit, a straightforward drop to the SW brings you to a wide open clearing with good views to the south and west.  To the south, a corner of the Great Sacandaga Lake can be seen from here, as well as the neighboring unnamed ridge across from Warner Hill Road.
To the west, the rolling hills along the Fulton County/ Hamilty County line.
A nice spot to soak in the views to the west, and thankfully, the bugs weren't too bad.
After enjoying the views from the clearing, I continued to descend, but now to the south, soon coming to another open rock view point.  These views are from a steep, south facing open area of rock slab just above private land.
From a different viewpoint near the edge of state land, the view takes in a broader stretch of the Great Sacandaga.
After getting my fill of views, a short bushwhack brought me back to the NPT, and an easy trail hike got me back to the car.

A very nice 3.7 miles RT, with over 1000 feet of ascent.

Map below.


Thursday, May 19, 2022

Mohawk River State Park & Lock 7(Town of Niskayuna, Scenectady County)

Took advantage of a small window of free time today to do a little exploring at the Mohawk River State Park near the south shore of the Mohawk River in the town of Niskayuna.  This trail system is quite intricate and lies in the middle of a busy suburban area but still seems to be underused. I parked at the end of Whitmyer Road at the unmarked trailhead near the gate for the Niskayuna Wastewater Plant and following this morning's steady rain, I was assured to have the woods to myself.

Crossing a pretty, babbling brook.

The trails were very wet and muddy, but had them to myself.


After a bit of wandering in the woods, I emerged out on the bike path near Lock7 Park.

Mohawk River near Lock 7 with light rain falling.

Looking back at the Lock 7 buildings.

An old blind near a small bay on the river.

Spring wildflowers abound.

Left the river and headed back into the woods but as I made my along the powerlines, more rain began to fall, chasing me back to the car.
A nice and easy 2.5 miles total. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Grizzle Ocean Mountain and Thunderbolt Mountain(Pharaoh Lake Wilderness Area-Adirondacks)

Took advantage of some time off of work on a gorgeous spring morning by doing a part trail/ part bushwhack hike that's been on my to do list for quite a while.  My goal was to hike up and over Grizzle Ocean Mountain as well as Thunderbolt Mountain in the Pharaoh Lake Wilderness, while also checking out Grizzle Ocean itself.  To get started, I parked at the Grizzle Ocean Trailhead and boat launch for Putnam Pond via Putts Pond Road on the NE side of Putnam Pond and set out.(Elevation 1222 feet)

Conditions were nearly perfect, with low humidity and temps in the low 60s.  Unfortunately the bugs were also out enjoying the nice weather and harassing me as soon as I stepped out of the car. 


The trail heads south, basically hugging the east shore of Putnam Pond before swinging west and meeting up with the Long Swing Trail.  Right where these trails converge is where I headed into the woods to begin my bushwhack up Grizzle Ocean Mountain's north slopes. 

Painted Trillium near the forest floor.

Although the slopes on the map looked like they'd be pretty easy to ascend, there was quite a bit of deadfall to make my way up and around on the north slopes of the peak.  Still easily made my way up to the nondescript 1842 foot summit of the mountain in good time though.

Thinking the bushwhack south along the summit ridge would be easy, I was proven wrong once again as there were many more small ups and downs and clefts to get through than I had bargained for.  Finally making my way over towards the southwest slopes of the summit ridge, I found some pretty fantastic ledges.


From the first of many good view spots, I found this nice look at Treadway Mountain to the NW.

The spectacular view west towards Pharaoh Lake and Pharaoh Mountain.  What a great view! 
There are many phenomenal open views west towards Pharaoh Lake and each one is uniquely different.
Migrating my way slowly south along the ridge, I began to find views towards the large marsh near Wolf Pond as well as Pharaoh Lake.  The bright green of early spring only enhanced these wonderful views.
Looking back at a section of ledges I was exploring.
A steep descent south-then east-off Grizzle Ocean Mountain brought me down to the Long Swing Trail, which I quickly crossed over and then ascended the steep west slopes of Thunderbolt Mountain.  On my way up Thunderbolt, I hit several areas of open rock slides with decent views.  The best view I found was this much different vantage point of Pharaoh Lake and Pharaoh Mountain.
Unfortunately most of the open rock only provided good-not great-views such as this.
The wooded 1865 foot summit of Thunderbolt Mountain.
As I began to descend off the summit area, I was able to find one more killer view of Pharaoh Lake.
A fairly steep but easy bushwhack NW, brought me down Thunderbolt's slopes and  back to the marked Long Swing Trail.  Enjoyed this fun little spot on this section of trail heading north, where it crosses a wet area on raised wooden planks.
Soon enough, a red blazed trail breaks off the yellow trail and leads a short distance over to a Lean To near Grizle Ocean's north shore.  Although it sits back in a pretty forest, Grizzle Ocean is clearly visible through the trees from the shelter.
A few yards downhill from the Lean To is the pristine shoreline of Grizzle Ocean.  A really nice spot, especially if you're lucky enough to have it to yourself like I did!
From the pond, it was a short walk back to the yellow blazed trail, where I began my way back to the car.  Stopped briefly on a spur trail to the south shore of Putnam Pond, where I sat and relaxed for several minutes, soaking in the sunshine and light breeze.
Made one more pit stop off trail before ending my day at a pretty waterfall on an unnamed stream near Putnam Pond's SE shore.
Once back on the trail, it was a nice and easy hike out to the car where I was finally able to escape the wrath of the bugs!  A total of 8 miles RT with 2000 feet of total ascent.  Only other person I saw all day was a forest ranger, who was very friendly and chatty.

Map below.  Red P=Parking      Blue=Trail Hike      Black=Bushwhack