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Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Robert Ingalls Preserve(Town of Nassau, Rensselaer County)

Did a short walk at the Robert Ingalls Preserve just prior to rain moving in.  Covered about 1.5 miles on this cloudy, gloomy afternoon, with the sounds of Black Brook accompanying me for part of the walk.


Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Hand Hollow-East(Hand Hollow State Forest-New Lebanon, Columbia County)

Had a small window of time to get out this morning, so took advantage by visiting the Hand Hollow State Forest in the town of New Lebanon, a short ten minute drive from my house.  Having visited each of the other sections of this newer State Forest previously , I decided today to explore the far eastern part, located just north of CR 34.  Parked in the designated lot on the south side of the road(Elevation 980 feet) and to no surprise had the place to myself.

Crossed the quiet country road and immediately picked up a flagged path through the woods that ran parallel to a large meadow.  Wasn't sure what to expect but it headed north where I wanted to go so I chose to follow it.

Crossing over a small stream.

Took a moment to check out the large meadow, which sits atop a small hill, and provides views towards the south and southwest at the nearby hills.
Back in the woods and continuing to gain elevation on the flagged route, passing by old stone walls.


The flagged route circles around a small high spot on the ridge before turning east and heading towards the true high spot on the ridge where it seems to promptly disappear.  I hit the wooded 1350 foot summit anyway, enjoying the snow covered stone walls on the north slopes below the top.


Explored the steep northeast slopes to the edge of state land below the ridge, with filtered views to the NE.

Continued SE towards another high spot on the ridge, where there was another open meadow, this one filled with prickers and lacking views.


From the last meadow I continued an easy bushwhack west around private property and back to my car.  Total distance covered was 3.2 miles and 700 feet of ascent.

Map below.  Red= P=Parking   Blue X's=High spots on ridge that I hit   Black X=Meadow with Views  Black circle=Meadow with no view


Saturday, March 16, 2024

Brace Mountain's Western Ledges(Taconic State Park- NY)

After hitting Bear Mountain's east cliffs in Connecticut, I crossed over the Taconic ridge to the west into NY to hit some off trail ledges on Brace Mountain's steep slopes.  I parked at the trailhead along Quarry Hill Road(Elevation 960 feet) where I caught a glimpse of the cliffs I was aiming for just above the nearby trees on private property.

From the car, I followed the trail a short distance around the private property at the start of the hike, and then began my bushwhack north through wide open woods.  The slopes grew gradually steeper until I hit an old woods road that aided my climb.
Just above the woods road, the terrain becomes extremely rocky and steep.
Combining the woods road and a bushwhack, I made my way up to the first in a series of open clearings and ledges around 1700 feet. 
Although I was over 600 feet below the summit, the views from these ledges were nearly as good.   This is a dramatic look west over the valley of Route 22 towards Round Ball Mountain, Gentian Hill and Kite Hill.

From another expansive clearing further along, another grand view to the SW.
Sprawling view north towards the Harlem Valley with Taconic ridgeline to the right.
I explored several different clearings which each presented its own unique view.  NW view with Fox Hill to the left.

Beginning my descent through ledge after ledge and view after view.
One last, large clearing at about 1500 feet before I hit the real steep terrain.  This last view SW takes in a north chunk of Dutchess County as well as the southern Taconic ridge.

Instead of turning back to retrace my steps, I simply tried to complete a loop by dropping down SW in a direct line towards my starting point.  A very steep and tricky descent brought me down to some easier terrain and a drainage crossing in the late afternoon sunshine.

Once down low, it was an easy bushwhack through open woods to the trail and car.  Covered about 2.3 miles RT, with 800 feet of climbing and roughly 98% bushwhack.

Map below.  Blue P=Parking at TH on Quarry Hill Road.    Blue X=Large area of ledges


Bear Mountain's Eastern Cliffs (Mount Riga State Park-Connecticut)

Decided to head east into the northwest corner of Connecticut to check out a long series of cliffs and ledges along the lower slopes of Bear Mountain's east face.  Most of the hike today would be via trail, but the exploration of the the targeted area was all off trail.  Parked at the Undermountain trailhead along Route 41(Elevation 760 feet) and headed west along the marked trail, slowly climbing up to the junction with the Paradise Lane Trail.  From the junction I followed the Paradise Lane Trail to the Paradise Lane campsite.

Once at the campsite, I followed the well trodden path east over to a bear box and water source and then a nicely framed vista to the east.
From the marked trail and vista, I continued south passing along a series of additional ledges and open views.  There are many very nice vantage points to enjoy such as this clear view south towards Lions Head. 
From another open ledge, looking NE towards Washinee Lake and Washining Lake.

A great lunch spot with killer views to the SE, with Lions Head to the right.

After enjoying the great views, I turned back up and over the ledges and towards the campsite, where I picked up another path north.  I continued on this path north for a few minutes before beginning my true bushwhack towards a large set of cliffs.  The woods were wide open and easy to navigate as I passed by this small vernal pond.


Crossing over a small stream cascading down towards the edge of the cliffs below.

Carefully made my way down to the top of the cliffs, where the views are quite striking.  This is the view south along ridge I had just been on as well as Lions Head beyond.

From these cliff tops, there is a sheer drop off to the east, which provides a nice view down over Fisher Pond and Washining Lake.

After enjoying the views from atop the cliffs, I turned around and retraced my steps back to the marked trail and eventually my car.  Covered about 4.4 miles RT, with over 800 feet of ascent.

Map below.  Blue P=Parking   Blue Circle=First set of Ledges and Views  Blue X=Cliffs

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Allaben Quarry(Shandanken Wild Forest/ Hunter-West Kill Wilderness-Catskills)

My second short hike for the day was a quick jaunt up to an old, abandoned quarry and tailings pile just east of Broadstreet Hollow.  I parked at the Allaben Primitive Camping Area(Eevation 1125 feet) north off of Route 28 and headed into the woods, closely hugging the state property line, while climbing north.

I veered right to the northeast through wide open hardwoods, soon picking up an old quarry road.
Arriving at the first of three large tailings piles, around 1520 feet.


At the top of the first tailings pile, I found a nice view north towards North Dome(left) and Saint Anne's Peak(right).  Part of Mount Sherrill can be seen on the distance left.


SE view from second tailings pile across Broadstreet Hollow.

View south towards Garfield(left) and towards Panther's multiple ridgelines.

From the viewpoints, I turned back south, following the old quarry road back.  From there, a very short bushwhack brought me to the car.

Hiked a total of 1.4 miles RT, with over 400 feet of ascent.  

Map below.  Blue P=Parking   Blue X=Quarry View


Boiceville Overlook on Piney Point(Ticetonyk Mountain Unit DEP-Catskills)

Did a couple of short hikes and enjoyed some stellar views in the Catskills on an unseasonably mild February day.  My first stop was to an open view on the west side of Piney Point, a peak I had previously climbed to the top of.  Piney Point is a high point on the far west ridge of Ticetonyck Mountain and can be accessed from NYC DEP land.  

I got started from a DEP parking area along Piney Point Road(Elevation 850 feet)and headed south ona  well trodden old woods road, passing through several large patches of mountain laurel along the way.


Where the trail turns sharply left, an unmarked foot trail heads right, climbing steadily towards the view spot.


A short, steep ascent finally brings you to the view point, which is quite striking and hard to miss.  The view west down over Boiceville and towards Little Samuels Point, Samuels Point Cornell and Wittenburg is really nice!


To the south/ southwest is a clear view of Ashokan High Point and the west end of the Ashokan Reservoir as well as Route 28A down below.

The view is terrific and partially improved by some tree cutting, providing a nice look towards a shoulder of Mount Pleasant high above Boiceville and the Route 28 corridor. 

Turned around and retraced my steps back to the car from there.  A nice and easy 1.3 miles RT with 450 feet of climbing.

Map Below.  Blue P=Parking   Blue X=View

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Unnamed Dunham Reservoir Peak(Grafton Lakes State Park-Town of Grafton, Resnsselaer County)

Took advantage of a brief window of free time by visiting an obscure, unnamed 1667 foot peak in the Grafton Lakes State Park.  The sun was shining bright, but there was a crisp bite in the air to remind me that winter is still here(especially on the Rensselaer Plateau) as I parked along the south shore of the Dunham Reservoir(Elevation 1335 feet).  A few feet away from the parking area I enjoyed my first glimpse of the Reservoir, which was completely frozen over-but didn't see any ice fisherman out there.

A short distance up the road, a marked trail meanders along the east shore of the water, but I chose to jump directly into the woods to begin my bushwhack instead.  A short distance in, I crossed over the first of several small streams that flow downhill to the Res.

I headed basically NE, crossing over the trail at one point, but maintaining an easy bushwhack climb through a few inches of snow.  As I gained the main ridge, I caught filtered views down to the Reservoir and the small peak just SW of the water across Dunham Road.

Once up high, it is an easy walk along the spine of the ridge, eventually arriving at the wooded summit, where more screened views can be found to the north.

A small but steep drop brought me down to a clearing just below the top, which provided a neat look back up at the summit.

A straight drop west down the slopes of the peak, eventually brought me down near the waters edge, which I closely followed SW all the way back to the car.  This is a view from a small bay and inlet area, with the late afternoon sun casting long shadows on the ice.

An easy bushwhack brought me back to the car, where I saw a lone ice fisherman heading out onto the water.  Covered a little under 2 miles RT, with 400 feet of ascent.

Map below.   Red P=Parking   Red X=Summit