Adirondack Paddle'n'Pole - Nehasane's Page

  

Ne-ha-sa-ne best translates to "beaver crossing river on a log"

Trip Reports

Adirondacks - Greater Capital District - Other

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 Events, Lessons, ToursLate Summer Kayak, Canoe, SUP Sale - thru Aug 30.

2014:


  • Aug 24&25 - CAPE COD kayaking.
  • Aug 19 - MOHAWK RIVER from Kiwanis Park in Rotterdam.  Paddled upstream past the Mabee Farm, its 2 bateaux were out on the water this evening.  Downstream past the launch returning in the dark - white flies (like mayflies) hatching all over the place, bats having a field day.  2 hours.  When paddling after sunset you are required to have a white light which you must shine in enough time to avoid collision with another boat (NYS law pertaining to canoes, kayaks & SUPs). 
  • Aug 18 - WOLF POND from Blue Ridge Rd.  Started ~1 mile E of the Boreas River, there is a turnout on S side of road.  Brutal bushwhack (esp. with canoe overhead) N for a quarter mile but I hit the outlet below the bend in the stream when flow changes from S to W.  Over a beaver dam, then reach rapids.  Carried 200 yds on the R (river L), scouted 1st then went back for canoe & pack, could not see a path so fairly nasty.  Back on flatwater the shallow stream widened & had grass & lily-pads, couple of beaver dams.  At rapid, carried on river L on rough path, much nicer than whacking, & soon arrived at WP with its magnificent High Peaks view (Redfield, Skylight, Marcy, Haystack, Saddleback, Basin).  Felt like 3 hours to get here but actually only 1.25 miles in 1.4 hours.  An overgrown 4WD "road" leads to private land, a rowboat stashed by the pond.  Paddled around the pond & into islands of bog with turtlehead, pitcher plants, sundews.  On the return, continued downstream past the point where I had initially entered the outlet wanting to avoid the longer whack.  Stream wide & shallow again.  Reached the top of a rapid & whacked S uphill for 200 yds & I was on Blue Ridge Rd (half mile E of Boreas River bridge).  Half mile road walk E to get the Nehasanemobile.  5.3 miles, 4.5 hours.  Plan to paddle Boreas Ponds with The Nature Conservancy (even closer to the peaks, not open to the public yet, NYS still has to buy the area from TNC) in September, can't wait.       
  • Aug 17&18 - CHENEY POND & BOREAS RIVER.  Half mile drive on very rough dirt road, good clearance needed.  Newish lean-to above sandy beach on E shore of CP.  Water level high so I was able to run the short channel to BR without getting out of the canoe.  Going downstream there is a short easy (if you take the inside of the bend) rapid, river is 30-50' wide.  Quarter mile further & I found a nice spacious campsite with picnic table on river R, good view too (North River Range, Marcy & Haystack).  Lots of flowers.  Paddled down to the old Lester Dam, got out & explored the rapids below, view N to High Peaks.  Upstream 2.5 miles to rocky rapids then back down to camp.  Very little wildlife in the afternoon but had 2 garter snakes in camp & heard a white-throated sparrow in the evening.  In the am heard loons flying, chickadees & a hummingbird flew by.  Minimal bad bugs - mostly no-see-ums - not sure what happened to mosquitoes & deer flies this year but I ain't complainin'.  Back thru CP & out.   
  • Aug 13 - MOHAWK RIVER from Lock 7 boat launch in Niskayuna,  It had rained much of the day but showers ended as we got ready to launch.  Paddled along N shore & turned around just before the Rexford Bridge, an island hid a lovely waterfall on 50' cliff.  Easily passed the only motorboat we saw.  Colorful sunset.  Gb & green herons.  8+ miles, 2 hours.  WS Zephyr kayak.     
  • Aug 12 - HUDSON RIVER from Coeymans Landing boat launch.  Put in around high tide which allowed us to check out some marshy areas, coves & inlets incl. Hannacroix Creek (its clear water contrasted with the Hudson's murkiness; some impressive sycamore trees) downstream.  Osprey & bald eagles; cardinal flower.  SSE wind opposing the current produced some chop.  Dagger Alchemy, a fun 14' kayak.  
  • Aug 10&11 - LONG POND canoe camping in the St Regis Canoe Area.  Put in at SW end after an easy cartable 0.3 miles carry.  Passed an adult loon with 2 chicks.  Checked out some campsites & ended up at what is probably the nicest site on the pond (the previous occupants were packed up & ready to leave when we showed), a roomy area in the pines with a good landing & good for swimming.  The assistant ranger stopped to talk.  After setting up camp we toured the N & E lobes, took a swim at the sandy start to the Slang Pond carry.  Continued down the SW arm & up the channel into Pink Pond then narrower channel to Upper/Little Pink Pond.  Back to Pink then up the shallow muddy stream that leads to the path to Ledge Pond.  Bald eagle on Pink.  Loons were plentiful, somewhat crazed & we also witnessed two fighting each other, with poking beaks & punching wings like in this video.  Slightly before sunset the full "super" moon rose above the tree-tops - super cool!  I had paddled out into the middle of the pond for an optimum view, a loon flew by within a few feet of me.  In the morning, we paddled into the W lobe & hiked to Long Pond Mountain via Mountain Pond, ~2 miles one-way with a gain of 930', most of the climbing in the last mile.  The 1st view from open rocks is E across the SRCA over to the High Peaks.  An unmarked path leads past the actual summit to a larger area of open rock with excellent views S.  Paddled around the W lobe of LP & poked up the inlet from Mountain Pond, lots of water shield, lily pads & grass in the water.  A swim back at the campsite before packing up.  Mostly bug-free - a few mosquitoes on the hike - did not use DEET or Bug Shirt.  Saw quite a few other people on both Sunday & Monday.  Swift Keewaydin 15, a lightweight solo canoe.         
  • Now in stock: 2 new maps in the Adirondack Paddlers Map Close-Up Series - St. Regis Canoe Wilderness & The Saranac Lakes - story.  Not sure why "Wilderness" when the area is actually called the St. Regis Canoe Area.
  • Aug 3&4 - ESSEX CHAIN LAKES canoe camping, S of Newcomb.  Free camping permit can be picked up at the Adirondack Interpretive Center (can also be emailed) - we got site #1 on Third Lake.  5+ mile drive from Goodnow Flow on dirt road (there are 6 primitive campsites along the way, with fire rings), 10.5 miles from Rt.28N.  0.3 mile carry to Deer Pond, some interesting rock on its S shore.  0.5 mile carry to Third Lake.  Carries mostly on cartable dirt roads, but off-road paths near the waters are a bit rough, with lots of juicy raspberries along the way.  Set up camp then paddled to Sixth Lake stopping at all the campsites, all have privies of the thunderbox type.  Short winding channel thru water shield & waterlilies between Third & Fourth.  Thru a culvert into Fifth.  Boggy channel to Sixth past pickerelweed and some smartweed.  Thunder & rain made us retreat to camp.  Beavers swam by our campsite in the evening.  No other campers Sunday night.  After a showery night, Monday's weather was good.  The net that had been in the narrows between Third & Second has been removed.  150 yard carry around big beaver dam & rocks to First Lake which had 4 crazy loons.  Paddled the outlet, aka the "Chain Drain",  less than 2 miles going over half a dozen beaver dams & one downed tree to the top of a spectacular 50' waterfall & ultimately reached the Rock River on foot, wading in the stream to top of falls then bushwhacking down thru the woods on river R.  The Rock River here is a 50' wide flat stream with a good current & grassy shores.  Cardinal flower.  Back on First, stopped for lunch on the westernmost of 2 trashy campsites reserved for folks who arrive by float plane.  Hiked the 0.4 mile carry trail to Grassy Pond, at one spot one has to walk a slippery log across a wet & muddy area (imagine it must be extremely tenuous if carrying a canoe).  The piney campsite at the end of the trail has a nice view of Dun Brook Mtn - do not expect a flat tent spot tho.  Saw 1 canoe & 2 rowboats stashed here.  .2 adult loons with 2 chicks on Third, stopped at a day use spot on a point with picnic table & great view, swam from here.  Saw no-one all day until we were leaving Third Lake after breaking camp.  Light to moderate bug activity incl. mosquitoes, deerflies & no-see-ums.  The lowdown on the campsites... in general, don't have high expectations, there are few flat spots & campfires are not allowed.  Deer Pond: wood dock, piney, 2 slopey tent sites, good view, large outhouse.  The campsite half way along the carry from Deer to Third is a joke, you may not even notice it, no permit needed.  Third Lake #1: roomy, on the water, bear scat.  Third Lake #2: poor landing, one flat tent spot next to large rock good for 2 small tents right next to each other or 1 big tent, next to water, view across the lake is of the Gooley Club buildings.  Third Lake #3: decent tent spots, next to water, decent landing & view.  Third Lake #4: roomy, tent spots spread out, decent landing, limited views.  Fourth Lake: met backcountry steward, tent sites being moved further away from water.  From culvert between Fourth & Fifth, walk E on dirt road uphill for a quarter mile & the poor, buggy site is back in the woods on the L - no permit needed.  Fifth Lake: 3 tent spots, 2 of them flattish, decent landing & view.  Sixth Lake #1: close to water, 2 slopey tent spots.  Sixth Lake #2: 2 unflat tent spots, nice view.  First Lake #1:  2 lumpy tent spots, view down the lake.                 
  • Ne
  • July 27 - BATTEN KILL from Rt.7A N of Arlington VT to picnic area past VT/NY state line.  Waited out a morning storm & killed some time with brunch in Cambridge.  Battenville gauge 4.7' & rising (peaked at 5.72' 12 hours after the rain stopped); visual gauge at the Rochester Bridge (Rt.313 in Arlington) 3.2' when we paddled by, 3.9' after the trip (most previous trips this gauge has been in the 2.2-2.5' range) - lively (waves often in the 1.5' range), the usually crystal clear water was a murky brown this time.  Some flat water to start then Roaring Branch enters on the L &  "The Rock" lurks ahead - I went to the R of it where the main current goes, a gap of a few feet between rocks + a small drop, watch out for more smaller rocks below - the only real Class II rapid on the BK between Manchester VT & Battenville NY.  Much carnage: don't worry, Nehasane stayed dry in the Caption but 1 of our kayakers, getting used to a new used ww kayak, capsized 5 times & rolled up 3 of those times!.  Rapids generally Class I/I+.  Later, a canoe misread the current & ran into a sweeper tree, rescue was fairly easy (all of our boats had float bags or bulkheads).  Stopped for a late lunch on a rocky beach on the R where the Green River enters.  We did not notice the water level rising until Baja noticed we had 6 paddlers & there were only 5 boats remaining, one of the canoes had sneaked off undetected.  Fortunately it was stopped by a strainer 200 yards downstream, ropes were attached & folks were able to pull it out, luckily the paddle stayed with the canoe!  The PFD was found a mile downstream!  Under the West Arlington covered bridge.  The last 4 miles were less eventful with easier rapids. Mergansers, kingfishers, cedar waxwings, cows & a triceratops.  11 miles, 3.6 hours.     
  • July 24 - MOHAWK RIVER from Forts Ferry Rd in Latham.  Upstream a bit & into Shaker Creek hoping it was running well after yesterday's rain, it wasn't much.  Crossed to the N side of the Mohawk & paddled downstream along the undeveloped shoreline of the Vischer Ferry Nature Preserve passing a picnic area with a good landing.  Some shots rang out from the Colonie police firing range on the S shore, otherwise fairly peaceful this morning.  Dagger Caption, a 14' whitewater canoe (not made any more) - good solo for larger paddler, slow to accelerate but moves along once up to speed, very maneuverable of course, regular j-strokes sufficient to keep it going straight on flatwater, river-j (aka the "goon stroke" if used on flatwater) might be needed on whitewater tho, high initial & secondary stability. 
  • July 22 - HUDSON & MOHAWK RIVERS from 123rd St boat launch in Lansingburgh.  Crossed the Hudson then up the Mohawk's middle sprout between cliffy Peebles & Van Schaick Islands to Buttermilk Falls.  Water level low - watch out for shallows & rocks under the surface.  Back to the Hudson & downstream a ways passing the historic Matton Shipyard.  Turned around within sight of the Federal Lock & Dam.  Swift Keewaydin 15, a light weight solo canoe.  2 hours. 
  • The Freeman's Bridge boat launch on the Mohawk River now has a canoe/kayak ramp & dock - I would not use the rollers with composite or thermoformed boats, polyethylene or Royalex only.   
  • July 20 - RICH LAKE & FISHING BROOK in Newcomb.  Mostly undeveloped, AIC & land owned by SUNY-ESF; no camping or motors.  Paddled much of the perimeter of the lake except the SE arm, some sand beaches, lots of cedars & pines along shores.  Fishing Brook has large marshy areas & is navigable upstream for 2 miles, had 2 beaver dams to go over & 1 blockage with downed trees which was a lot of work to squeeze a 35" canoe thru.  Turned around where outlet of Lilypad Pond comes in.  Goodnow Mtn & firetower to the S.  Great variety of flowers on the brook: pickerelweed (purple), Joe-Pye weed (pinkish), swamp candles (yellow), cardinal flower (red), Queen Anne's lace (white)...  Saw a deer & a mink in the lake's NE arm on the way to the outlet as well as some interesting rock formations; frogs, osprey, kingfishers, loons, mergansers with chicks.  Some non-biting flies early, breezier in the pm & they were gone; some mosquitoes in the woods but not on the water or beaches.  8.8 miles, 5.5 hours.  Hung out on the beach at the put-in until sunset.            
  • July 17 - MOHAWK RIVER from Lock 7 boat launch.  Saw bald eagle fly by as I was getting ready, a great egret on the water chestnut near "Methane Mountain" (a capped landfill), a tiny turtle (painted?) just a few inches long on a small log, group of 14 mallard chicks + 1 adult.  Shale/sandstone cliffs up to 50' high. Light development (some industrial). Turned around at the power line short of the Rexford Bridge.  Saw just 3 motorboats out on a Thursday morning.  1.8 hours.     
  • July 13 - SCHROON RIVER & LAKE thru trip from Rt.9 bridge below Schroon Falls, a class III drop, to the town beach.  Park just off Rt.9 on River Rd, 100 yard carry to bottom of rapids to start.  Shallow sand/pebbly bottom, light to moderate current, 50'-100' wide.  The river passes some cottages & a couple of campgrounds but maintains a fairly wild feel.  Lots of nice sandy banks for breaks.  No development from 2nd bridge to the lake.  Half mile side-trip up Alder Creek, had to first go over 2 small beaver dams - much pickerelweed, yellow pond lily, rose mallow, Joe-Pye-weed, swamp candles.  Last mile across the lake with 15-20 mph S wind made interesting with waves in the 1.5' range - the Prospector canoe handled things with aplomb.  Merganser chicks, black ducks, kingfishers, pileated woodpecker, white-throated sparrow.  10.8 miles, 4.2 hours.     
  • July 10 - MOHAWK RIVER from Forts Ferry Rd in Latham.  Headed upstream on N side of the river (undeveloped, Vischer Ferry Nature Preserve) to the Lock 7 dam then returned on the S side (light development) past the islands.  3 motorboats, otherwise quite mellow this morning.  Woodchuck, gb & green herons, kingfisher, mallards, red-winged blackbirds, swallows, red-tailed hawk.  10% faster going downstream.  7.9 miles, 2.1 hours.  WS Zephyr kayak.   
  • July 8 - HUDSON RIVER from Corning Preserve boat launch in Albany.  Launched 2.5 hours before low tide.  S wind opposing the current produced choppy water, some of the waves were surfable.  Went upstream, wooded shores mostly but I-787 traffic noise was constant.  1.5 hours.
  • July 6 - SOMERSET RESERVOIR in southern VT.  About 6 miles long, undeveloped.  SW winds 10-20mph.  Paddled over to & stayed on the W side.  Stopped at a picnic site (camping not allowed on SR) with small beach - did some rescue practice, swimming, cooking (interesting 2 sided fire pit) & relaxing then headed back in the late afternoon.  Views of Mt Snow & Stratton, Searsburg Wind Farm.  Quite a few loons.  A handful of motorboats, fishing.  Fairly quiet overall.  8 hours.  WS Zephyr 160 PRO kayak handles wind & waves so well I did not need to drop the skeg.    
  • July 1 - ROUND LAKE from new boat launch on Rt.9.  Lots of milfoil catches the paddle blades.  Bald eagles, cormorants.  Had to get off early due to an approaching storm so did not get to check out the Anthony Kill, the lake's outlet.  Crowded on nice weekends.  Perception Expression 11.5, an 11'8" kayak with thigh braces & skeg.
  • June 29 - ESSEX CHAIN LAKES.  The dirt road in has been closed all spring but now repaired & opened June 27.  From Goodnow Flowage in Newcomb one drives a dirt road for over 5 miles, the road getting rougher the further one goes, there are a few new primitive campsites along the road.  Easy 0.3 mile carry mostly on dirt road to pretty Deer Pond, paddled the long way around.  Half mile carry, much of it on dirt road, to Third Lake.  Over to Second Lake then 100 yard carry around beaver dam & rapids to First Lake.  Stopped at one of the 2 old campsites for lunch; had picnic table, fire-ring & 4 rowboats.  The other campsite (reserved for float plane users!) had a dock & some "improvements".  FL has had float plane access for many years, half the lake has been state land for a long time & not owned by Finch.  Down First Lake's outlet going over 3 or 4 beaver dams & turning back at a downed tree.  Thru all the "lakes" to Seventh Lake checking out some of the 10 new campsites (on First thru Seventh) along the way (camping is by permit only, 3 day max, no campfires) - sites generally have 2 raked spots for tents & a toilet.  Gooley Club has ~10 buildings in the large bay on Third's SE side, these will be removed after their lease expires in 2018.  A wide channel with waterlilies & watershield leads into Fourth.  Go thru a culvert into Fifth, there is a rope hanging from the top which makes it easier to slide your boat thru.  More lilies plus floating bog mats to Sixth.  Seventh is just an extension of Sixth & has boggy shores.  Stopped at a campsite on Sixth with nice view W to Dun Brook Mtn which rises almost 2,000' above the lakes.  Campsites are well-spaced assuring privacy.  Could not find a good place to swim from - no sandy beaches or sloping rock.  Minimal bad bugs: no blackflies, a couple of mosquitoes, deerflies (mostly on the outlet) not biting.  Sheep laurel & blue flag flowering along shorelines.  Mountain views include: Vanderwhacker, Blue, Snowy.  Whitetail deer (twice); loons & 2 eggs in nest.  A few other paddlers, 1 small motorboat (Gooley Club members allowed thru 2018, electric only July-Sept).  8.3 hours.  Swift Keewaydin 15, a lightweight solo canoe.       
  • Essex Chain updates.  You can now drive to within 0.3 miles of the Polaris/Iron Bridge over the Hudson River; new parking at Indian Lake end will be at the old Gooley Club building.  Camping on the lakes by permit only - details.
  • June 24 - MOHAWK RIVER from Kiwanis Park in Rotterdam.  Upstream to Lock 9 & back.  No motorboats out this evening but some nearby highway noise.  Much undeveloped shoreline except for one industrial site & the Mabee Farm.  Mabee's bateaux were out on the water.  Green heron.  <2 hours.  Swift Kiwassa 12.6 kayak moved along nicely & at 32 lbs car-topped easily. 
  • June 23 - SOUTH TACONIC TRAIL hike from Taconic State Park in Copake Falls NY.  From the cabin area of the park the SCT (white paint blazes) starts climbing through an attractive open hemlock woods.  After a short level area the trail climbs very steeply crossing the NY/MA border to Bash Bish Mtn (no views) gaining over 1,000'.  The narrow ridge trail to Alander Mtn is lovely with stunted oaks & pitch pine, some grassy meadows & blueberry. Turned around short of Alander's summit (had to be to work at 1pm) but views from open areas were very good: could see Mt Greylock way to the N, Catskills to the W & Everett & Race Mtns to the E.  Mountain laurel blossoms, but not as many as I had hoped to see.  No mud or wet spots.  Partridge, some mosquitoes & non-biting blackflies.  Lots of people late morning in parking lot going 0.75 miles to Bash Bish Falls but I saw no-one on the SCT.  3.8 hours.   
  • June 22 - SACANDAGA RIVER from Wells to Hope.  Class II whitewater.  Hope gage at 2.88' - hit many rocks, some really nice fun sections but one probably does not want to do this at lower levels.  River L has some light development, river R mostly wild.  Stopped for lunch at the Sacandaga State Campground.  The 2 kayaks in our group ran the dam at the campground with some bumping, the 2 canoes carried around the dam.  The W Branch enters below the campground & the added water helped.  Some longer class II/II+ stretches after the confluence.  Nice playspot on R ~7 miles in.  Merganser family, vultures.  No bad bugs.  8.6 miles, 4 hours.  Dagger Katana kayak.  Much daylight so drove over to Benson Rd & bushwhacked S lookout for any trace of new Northville-Placid Trail, no markers or flagging found after an hour, some mosquitoes.   
  • Essex Chain of Lakes open for camping by permit in July - story.
  • June 19 - SANDERS PRESERVE short loop hike N of Sanders Rd in Glenville.  From the northern marked trail there is an unmarked path that in 5 minutes leads to a lean-to with 3 nice benches around the fire pit.  Some very wet & muddy spots.  The trail S of the road expected to be groomed for skiers next winter.  1.3 hours.  
  •  June 17 - HUDSON RIVER from concrete ramp boat launch in Coeymans at E end of Westerlo St.  Went downstream then up Hannacroix Creek, water turns from murky brown to clear. Back downstream on the Hudson then crossed to undeveloped E shore & back.  Saw a guy stand-up canoeing (succing?) who capsized when his dog moved, I helped empty out the boat by doing a boat over boat rescue.  Bald eagles.  Good food at Yanni's Too next to the boat launch.  2+ hours.   
  • June 16 - CANOE & KAYAK DEMO at Lock 7. 
  • June 15 - BATTEN KILL from Rt.313 in Arlington VT to CR 64 in Shushan NY.  Battenville gage at 5.35', visual gage in Arlington (on Rt.313 bridge, downstream side, river L) at 2.85' - nice easy level.  Quickwater, riffles & class I rapids.  Vermont part very scenic but some roadnoise, New York section is away from roads.  2 covered bridges.  Downed trees we had on June 1 have been cut out.  Some fun surfing waves along the way.  Goslings, merganser chicks, cedar waxwings.  15 miles, 5.5 hours excluding shuttle.  Dagger Katana kayak.     
  • June 11 - MOHAWK RIVER from Lions/RR Station Park, Rosendale Rd in Niskayuna.  Water chestnut starting to come in but not too bad yet.  Went downstream a bit then thru the shallows between the islands out to the main river then up to the Lock 7 dam.  Bald eagle, 2 whitetail deer.  2 hours.  Dagger Alchemy 14 kayak. 
  • June 9 - JABE POND in Hague.  Mile drive on dirt road, bumpy on a steep hill.  100 yard carry to the pond.  Just a mile & a half from Lake George but very different, 1,000' higher in elevation.  Less than 1 mile long but 3 miles of irregular shoreline & some piney islands to explore, good wilderness feel.  Lake George Wild Forest.  Osprey, loons, polliwogs in sandy shallows.  Saw a few blackflies but they did not seem too interested in my blood.  4+ hours (half the time relaxing at a campsite).   
  • June 9 - LAKE GEORGE from Rogers Rock State Campground.  Stopped at the boat inspection station at the campground & was told that canoes & kayaks don't have to be inspected - it's just for trailered boats.  Windy early but calmed down.  Clear emerald water.  Cliffs to the N of the campground.  Passed diminutive Juniper Island to view Rogers Slide.  Anthony's Nose across the lake & nice view S to Elephant & Black Mtns.  Light motorboat traffic on Monday morning.  1.3 hours.     
  • June 8 - SOUTH BAY OF LAKE CHAMPLAIN from state boat launch on Rt.22 near Whitehall.  Murky khaki-color water.  A few motorboats.  Some development for 1st couple of miles, wilder at the SW end.  Cliffs: Little Diameter, The Diameter.  South Bay Creek - clear water - swampy area, went over 2 beaver dams & turned around not far from a road when I saw 2 more beaver dams ahead.  Immature & mature bald eagles, gbh, kingfishers.  Yellow flag, yellow water-buttercup, bullhead-lily.  No biting bugs.  13 miles.  5.7 hours.  Drove thru Ticonderoga to Rogers Rock State Campground.  Very few campers on a Sunday night & I got a site next to the swim beach.  Saw a few blackflies early & some mosquitoes at dusk but no need for DEET or bugshirt.  A black snake slithered by, loon.    
  • June 6 - INDIAN KILL NATURE PRESERVE hike in Glenville.  Some mosquitoes. 1.5 hours.   
  • Help stop the spread of aquatic invasives: info from DEC.
  • Peregrine Ultralight Dry Summit Pack 25L - I can find good uses for this one especially on paddle/hike trips.
  • June 2 - SUSQUEHANNA RIVER from backwater at Crumhorn Landing.  Headed upstream winding gently to past the Rt.166 bridge in Milford then turned back.  ~100' wide, murky water, muddy shores - it was tough finding a good place for lunch.  Mostly wooded (willows & silver maples) & farmland, very lightly developed.  Some road & tractor  noise.  Deer, snapping turtle, lots of birds.  Forget-me-nots, yellow flag, ragged robin, many buttercups.  4.6 hours.  10 min. drive to Brewery Ommegang.   
  • June 1 - BATTEN KILL from Eagleville to CR61 bridge in Battenville.  Battenville gage at 5.35' - a nice level altho I find lower levels more interesting due to having to maneuver & read-the-river more.  3 covered bridges.  Sycamore tree down across the stream below the campground - short easy portage on river R; then another tree down - able to scoot across it on river R but portage might be needed if water level gets lower.  Quickwater, riffles & class 1 rapids; some surfing waves.  Deer, osprey nest.  15.3 miles, 5.6 hours.   
  • May 31 - MOHAWK RIVER CLEAN-UP from Lions Park in Niskayuna.  Picked up a couple of good "trophies".  An Adirondack Mountain Club - Albany Chapter event.   
  • May 28 - MOHAWK RIVER from Lock 7 boat launch.  Headed upstream on S shore, back along N shore past cliffs, saw peregrine falcons, wild columbine flowering.  Swift Keewaydin 15 solo canoe.
  • May 27 - Hosed down the boats & some gear, washed with chlorine bleach (1oz per gallon of water) to remove any possible invasives, after 10 minutes rinsed off with fresh water, applied 303 Protectant to prevent degradation from UV rays.
  • Catch of the Day - a mink catches a fish.
  • May 26 - WOODS POND & HOUSATONIC RIVER canoeing from Lenox Station, MA.  A plastic dock now replaces the muddy put-in that I had to put up with last time I was here - a bit high for kayakers tho.  The river upstream passes thru wildlife refuge & state forest land, mostly undeveloped.  A dam downstream of the put-in creates Woods Pond & very little current is noticed paddling upstream for the first couple of miles.  Many backwaters along the way.  5 miles to Decker Landing access.  Electrical lines & power station of the Electric Power Research Institute - interesting but jarring.  Turned around a couple of miles above the New Lenox Rd bridge.  Abundant birdsong, bullfrogs doing the bass lines.  Beaver, muskrats, goslings, wood ducks, mallards, bald eagle, yellow warblers, least sandpipers, oriole, cardinal, red-winged blackbirds, hawks, water snake.  A few blackflies in the morning but absent later with temp at 80F & breezy.  Quite a few other folks out in canoes & kayaks on this Memorial Day.  13+ miles, 6 hours.     
  • May 25 - HOOSIC RIVER from Ashton Rd, N Adams MA to Lincoln St, Pownal VT.  Williamstown gage at 5.8' - a very nice level.  Class 1/1+ rapids.  Hints of civilization early but once past Williamstown the shores are mostly wild passing Hopkins Memorial Forest on the L.  Always a very enjoyable run & leaves one wanting more.  Nice weather, temp into the 70s.  No bad bugs.  Saw a couple of fisherman but no other paddlers.  9.7 miles, 4 hours.  Dagger Katana kayak.       
  • May 24 - PEEBLES ISLAND from boat launch at the S end of First St in Waterford.  Around the S side to Buttermilk Falls, played in the currents.  Around to other side into the Mohawk River's N channel, saw lots of turtles + goslings.  Happy to find a sweet beginner surfing wave on the Polderump Island side of Peebles.  Dagger Katana kayak.   
  • May 20 - HUDSON & MOHAWK RIVERS 123rd St boat launch in Lansingburgh.  Crossed the Hudson and paddled both sides of Peebles Island playing in the eddies & currents below Polderump Island & Buttermilk Falls.  Wild columbine flowering on cliffs of Peebles.  Dagger Katana, a whitewater touring kayak.  A Kayaker's Guide to New York's Capital Region guidebook - $17.95 at APnP. 
  • May 19 - MOCCASIN KILL SANCTUARY from Crawford Rd in Rotterdam.  Walked both loops & a couple of unmarked paths.  Ravines, somewhat steep terrain.  Fringed polygala flowering but no moccasin (aka lady's slipper) flowers.  1.4 hours  Natural Areas of Schenectady County guidebook - $10 at APnP.   
  • May 18 - HOUSATONIC RIVER from Brookside Rd in Great Barrington, MA to Rannapo Rd in Ashley Falls, MA.  After recent rains most area rivers were high but the Housatonic was at a nice level (3.8' on the Gt Barrington gauge).  This stretch of the river is 50'-100' wide.  Paddled a short distance up the Green River (clear water compared to the browner Housatonic) and other tributaries & backwaters.  Good current most of the way, some obstacle trees in the river but lots of room to get around these.  Old Covered Bridge.  Least sandpiper, spotted sandpiper, bank swallows, oriole, yellow warbler, yellowlegs, mallard, vulture, red-tailed hawk, carp.  Lots of birdsong.  Mount Everett often in view.  Light development, shores mostly woods & fields.  No bad bugs.  Paddling guide pdf.  15.8 miles, 5 hours.  Perception Expression 11.5, a 11'8" kayak, a good choice for this trip.      
  • New - Yakima Sweetroll kayak carrier saddles.
  • May 14 - MOHAWK RIVER from Freddie's Park, Albany Marine Service Lane, Latham - SE of Crescent (Rt.9) Bridge.  Headed upstream past islands, water level low.  After passing under the Kosciusko Bridge turned R before an island thru very shallow mucky water to the old Erie Canal.  L in canal over shallow rocks but soon another set of shallow rocks stopped us before reaching Clute's Dry Dock. The orange full moon rose thru the trees on our return.  8+ miles, 2.1 hours.  WS Zephyr kayak. 
  • May 12 - ST. REGIS CANOE AREA.  Hoel Pond, short carry over rr tracks to Turtle Pond, shallow channel with some current to Slang Pond, short carry with some mud to lovely Long Pond (one of the larger "ponds" in the canoe area at 355 acres & over 8 miles of shoreline), channel to Pink Pond, 1st R into small channel to Upper Pink Pond & back to Hoel thru the same ponds.  Loons, bald eagle, romancing mergansers, painted turtles, rainbow trout, perch.  Breezy, temp in mid-70s.  St Regis & Long Pond Mountains seen from several spots en route.  Some blackflies but not biting. 6.4 hours.   
  • May 11 - FLOODWOOD LOOP.  Gusty wind, temp in mid-60s.  Floodwood Pond, light current on Fish Creek, short carry to Follensby Clear Pond, short carry to Horseshoe Pond,  short carry to Little Polliwog Pond, short carry to Polliwog Pond where we had spotted a car.  Camped on Middle Pond - I've wanted to camp there for a long time but it has always been occupied, until today.  Loons, turtles, mergansers, white-throated sparrows & other songbirds.  No biting bugs.  4 hours.  Swift Keewaydin 15, a lightweight solo canoe.       
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  • May 6 - MOHAWK RIVER from Freeman's Bridge boat launch in Glenville.  Semi-urban sunset paddle upstream to the islands below Lock 8. 
  • May 5 - BOG MEADOW hike from Edwards Hill Rd in Bakers Mills.  An unmarked old road most of the way.  Found a good campsite N of  the outlet.  Moose scat all over the place & tree scrapings on striped maple S of the meadow, some thing has been eating the tips of balsam fir; bluebird.  Yellow violets, spring beauties; other wildflowers about ready to come out.  Some wet muddy spots to be expected this time of year.  3.7 hours.  GARNET LAKE kayaking. Sandy beach put-in at end of road on E side.  Some camps on N half of lake but S half is wild.  Scenic with mountains all around: Mt Blue rises 1,500' to the W, Crane Mtn's rocky hulk seen to the NE, the ridge of Bearpen Peak to the S.  4 (or more) loons were real vocal when a bald eagle flew over, nesting Canada goose, mergansers, mallards, kingfisher, gb herons, snapping turtles.  2 hours.           
  • May 4 - HUDSON RIVER WHITEWATER DERBY as spectator.  Walked the railroad tracks upstream from Riparius over a mile until I saw the 1st boat coming down.  The race was over with a bit too quickly.  Camped at Garnet Lake at one of the 2 primitive drive-in campsites.  Windy, cool, showery - kept a fire going & mellowed out under the tarp. 
  • Apr 29 - MOHAWK RIVER fron Lions/RR Station Park in Niskayuna.  Muddy launch spot, river level a bit on the low side.  Paddled around the islands then downstream to Shaker Creek to a culvert at River Rd.  Temp in the 40s, light rain.  1st evening paddle with Albany Chapter of the Adirondack Mountain Club - nice to have 11 accomplices.  Muskrats, beaver, lots of fish jumping.  1.5 hours.  Dagger Alchemy 14 kayak. 
  • Apr 28 - PUTNAM POND.  Paddled around perimeter of the pond with shores of red & white pine, hemlock & some birch.  Hike to TREADWAY MTN (5.2 miles round-trip, 900' net el gain).  Varied woods on the way, an area of leafless hardwoods allowed the sun in, much of the last mile over open rock incl. rose quartz.  Far-ranging views to Green Mts, snowy Mt Marcy & Great Range, Crane Mtn, Pharoah Lake, Crab Pond, Glidden Marsh (spent 2 hours enjoying the summit area).  Sights & sounds of loons, mergansers, mallards, gb heron, Cooper's hawk, pileated woodpecker, C geese, kingfisher, white-throated sparrow & other songbirds.  Temp in 50s, much sun, breezy.     
  • Apr 27 - PUTNAM POND canoe camping.  State campground is E of the pond & there are several hike & paddle-in campsites.  We paddled a few minutes to a lovely piney campsite.  Pharoah Lake Wilderness Area surrounds the pond.  Paddled around the perimeter.  Hike to ROCK POND & exploration of old graphite mine - boiler, old stone walls, a turquoise pool in quarry with waterfall...  Little Rock Pond & lean-to.  Loon pairs, osprey, black furry animal.  Handfull of fishermen out.  Temp in 40s, brief sprinkles, some sun, breezy; mid-30s overnight.       
  • New - Thule Portage Canoe Cartop Carrier - works with square & aero Thule bars, round bars & most factory roof racks.
  • Apr 21 - WADING RIVER from Hawkins Bridge to Beaver Branch.  Shuttle (half on sand roads) by Mick's Canoe Rental - $30 + tip.  A bit wider & less twisty than the other pine barrens rivers.  Lovely warm sunny day.  Lots of cranberry along shores.  A group of whitetail deer.  6+ hours (a couple of long breaks on high sandy banks in the pines).  Take-out dinner (Stewart's), Tuckerton Beach overlooking Great Egg Harbor - saw my 1st loon of the season.    
  • Apr 20 - NJ Pine Barrens canoeing Part II.  MULLICA RIVER from Constable Bridge (1.3 mile drive on sand road).  Wharton State Forest.  Upstream against a moderate current to Mullica River Wilderness Campsite where we took a long break.  Generally 20'-30' wide.  Shores of Atlantic white cedar & pitch pines, some backwater areas.  Lots of songbirds, got close to an eastern towhee, interesting song.  Lots less time & effort heading back downstream.  5+ hours.  Prospector style canoe is perfect for twisty Pine Barrens rivers.  Dinner (Doyle's Pour House) in Tuckerton, sunset over Great Bay from Great Bay Blvd WMA, campfire & camping at Bass River SF (very few other campers). 
  • Apr 16 - 2" of fresh snow on my car this morning.
  • Apr 14 - OSWEGO RIVER.  Forecast: S winds 15-20mph, gusts to 35mph, temp in mid 70s.  Normally start on Harrisville Lake but wanted to avoid the wind so drove 1.1 miles up a narrow sand road E of the lake & parked at a high sandy bank above the river.  Shallower than the Batsto with gravel & sand bottom.  Paddled upstream (stronger current than the Batsto) past cedar lowlands & pine/oak uplands for an hour to Martha Pond where the river splits into several channels around islands - the challenge here is to find a route with deep water.  Stopped at site of old mining village of Martha where there is an old structure that I think was used to bring water up to the village.  A joy going back downstream, past my put-in a short distance to the lake.  Only saw 1 kayaker today.  Spent much of the afternoon relaxing in the peacefulness (altho the wind was rocking the tree tops) & relative remoteness at my put-in.  A lovely day, tough to leave.     
  • Apr 13 - NJ PINE BARRENS canoeing Part I.  BATSTO LAKE & RIVER.  The lake is just a dammed portion of the river, one can see where the channel winds thru the lake & best to stay in the channel to avoid shallows.  The wild sandy-bottomed river twists & turns with a light to moderate current to paddle against.  Much of the shoreline is maple (red buds opening) swamp & cedar lowlands (less than 5' above water level), cranberry seen along shore.  After a couple of hours some higher land with pitch pines & oaks, some high sandy banks - good for a break.  4WD road comes close to W shore, Batona Trail close to E shore.  Returning with the aid of the current very enjoyable.  Hundreds of turtles (large red-bellied & small spotted) sunning themselves.  Temp in mid 70s.  Saw quite a few other paddlers, most not wearing PFD's - I watched a group of 5 kayakers put in upstream & there was not a PFD in sight.  Good gusty headwind coming back on the lake.  A beautiful Sunday in spring - one car at canoe launch when I started, a dozen when I left.  5.7 hours.  Swift Keewaydin 15, a 15' lightweight solo canoe.     
  • Stohlquist Tideline neoprene boots.  Dagger Katana kayak gets Outside magazine's Gear of the Year Award.
  • Apr 7 - OK SLIP FALLS.  From Rt.28 in North River, parked on the shoulder.  Unplowed dirt road accessing Northern Frontier Camp had snowmobile use - rolling hills.  After 30 minutes turned R on 1 mile marked trail to falls, trail had seen some recent ski & snowshoe use (intermediate skiing).  Took skis off & walked a short steep section to 2 good but icy lookouts - what we could see of the falls was real nice with ice & water.  The falls drop 250' down into the Hudson River Gorge (a 0.8 mile trail leads down to the river).  Continued up the road to camp's gate.  Skiing good to very good - no iciness, untracked snow was becoming unconsolidated in the pm, temp ~50F.  4 hours.  
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  • Apr 6 - LOST POND from Little Pond trailhead on Rt.9 in Woodford VT.  Took the snowmobile trail (saw none today) 2 miles to the Glastenbury Wilderness (snow was a bit icy in shady areas but had a soft surface in sunny spots) then bushwhacked NW to the AT/LT.  AT/LT to Little Pond Lookout & toward Little Pond Mtn.  Left the AT/LT to the L (saw lots of moose tracks & scat here) when trail starts to get steeper going off-trail NW then NE staying close to 3,100' el.  Saw LP down below & had to zigzag carefully down to it on sometimes spotty icy snow (NW facing slope).  Lost Pond has been refound!  Beaver seem to have abandoned it & water level is low with rocks & stumps showing above 2' of snow.  Glastenbury Mtn can be seen to the NW.  A gorgeous cloudless day.  Retraced our route & snow was very nice on S facing slopes for the fun run back down to the wilderness border.  Took the path E of the snowmobile trail back to the cars (snow getting a bit mushy at the end).  Variable conditions (poor to very good) with temp ranging from 30 (at 10:30am) to 45F.  6.4 hours.  My 60th day of skiing this season.     
  • Mar 31 - HI-NOTCH from Adirondak Loj Rd.  Started out on Meadow Lane, easy skiing with 1" new powder.  Klondike Notch Trail then L on the Mr. Van Ski Trail, a wide old woods road with no recent use.  Rolling terrain with some short steep hills & view of cliffs on Mt. Van Hoevenberg.  Yellow xc ski trail markers, new bridges over all streams. Lean-to at South Meadow Brook.  After crossing the iced-over stream the trail gains 300' in 0.7 miles arriving at Hi-Notch a little before reaching trail at the Mt Van Hoevenberg Ski Area.  Zippy run back to the lean-to.  Good base a bit crusty with some give to it, temp around freezing - ok skiing, somewhat hairy on steeper sections, could use a few inches of powder or warm temps to soften up the surface. Snowshoe hare, red squirrel, blue jay.   Intermediate+.  8.4 miles, 4.4 hours.  More info 
  • Mar 30 - COOPER KILN POND thru ski from Whiteface Mountain Rd to Bonnie View Rd in Wilmington.  Believe the start is the highest elevation plowed trailhead in the Adirondacks, over 2,300'.  5" fresh heavy snow on packed base.  Climb of 900' to height of land at over 3,200' (passed by 2 snowmobiles who soon turned off to Forestdale, broke trail most of the way) then drop 200' (to the pond & lean-to.  Misty.  Drop of 1,900' from height of land - steep, sometimes washed out snowmobile trail (saw group of 6 near the end).  5.9 miles, 4.5 hours then added another hour going back a ways to look for the last 2 members of our group.  Best skiing was up high where the new snow was lighter, got heavier & harder to snowplow & turn down low.  Epic skiing, best done by advanced skiers with new snow before 'bilers get out.  Lean-to camping on Heart Lake next to Adirondack Loj - it was good to get smoke in the eyes once again.      
  • Mar 26 - IVE'S DAM from Old Farm Trailhead.  Gain 500' on Halfway Brook trail passing jctn to Botheration Pond then dropping over 200' to The Vly with its view of Gore Mtn.  (Coyote trapping in this area - keep your dog on trail).  Crossed Barton Mines Rd to Raymond Brook trail to top of pass.  SE on unofficial trail (some old markers) around N side of Pete Gay Mtn with expansive view toward the High Peaks - mostly rolling terrain with 2 steeper uphills, the 2nd is wide & likely was an old ski trail.  After gaining 700' from The Vly the spruce/fir-lined trail drops down 150' past a powerline & soon arrives at the site of Ive's Dam.  The Schaefer Trail up Gore passes thru here, can also see some ski trails on Gore's N side.  Great run back out, got in quite a few turns.  Part of this trip goes along old trails of the Highwinds Ski Touring Center which has long been closed.  Good to excellent skiing - a bit icy in old ski tracks, sweet out of tracks with few inches of powder on good base.  12+ miles, 5.5 hours.  MapSome history   
  • Mar 24 - BOG MEADOW & SECOND POND BROOK from end of plowing on Edwards Hill Rd in Bakers Mills.  Same start as 5 days ago - additional 2-3" of snow in our tracks.  About a mile in took a R on fairly obvious old road, a tree on the L has a faded yellow arrow on it pointing the way.  After a gentle climb the unmarked trail slowly drops to Bog Meadow.  Just a small meadow on Round Pond Brook but my what big footprints all around - lots of fresh moose tracks & scat.  The old road is less obvious past here but the woods are very open.  Stayed well to the S of the brook heading NW.  Dropped down to a large meadow on Second Pond Brook & found a spot for lunch under blue skies & a few clouds.  Returned in our tracks.  Very nice skiing on a few inches of powder on top of deep base which had some give to it.  4.6 hours. 
  • Mar 23 - TIRRELL POND thru ski from Adk Museum to Lake Durant.  Great skiing on 6" powder on top of 2' of base - made the skiing a bit too easy tho;)  Gorgeous sunny day with temp rising into low 20's.  The strong sun did make the snow a little sticky in the pm but nothing that an application of Maxiglide couldn't cure.  Easy breaking trail to the pond, the 470'drop in a mile was too easy.  Lunch at lean-to.  Skied down middle of pond, no slush or wet spots, Blue Mtn to the W, rock face of Tirrell Mtn to the E, very scenic & a tail wind too!  Northville-Placid Trail south (rolling terrain) looked like someone had skied in a couple of days ago, 1'" fresh snow in their tracks.   Good view over to Snowy Mtn fron O'Neill Flow.  8+ miles (skied some hills twice), 4.6 hours.  Camera not working, pic from 2010.     
  • Mar 19 - DIAMOND BROOK from end of plowing on Edwards Hill Rd in Bakers Mills (1,900' elev), a little over a mile from where we started 2 days ago.  Continued uphill on the unplowed road (breakable icy crust, S facing) for a while, at its end we turned L & followed a path W & soon reached an old woods road (L leads thru private land back to EH Rd, this is the route in that is mentioned in older guidebooks, the NatGeo map shows our route).  Taking a R we continued on this obvious but unmarked route to a height of land (just under 2,300' elev).  A R turn (a tree has a yellow arrow pointing R) leads to Bog Meadow.  We went straight ahead on an obvious old road dropping to a vly on Diamond Brook.  After a lunch stop we proceeded on a less obvious path on the S side of the brook then down along the brook losing 500' from the height of land.  Moose sign: tree bark scrapings.  The Eleventh Mountain massif constantly in view to the S.  Don't expect trail markers or signs here.  Once we got off the unplowed road conditions were powder & skiing was very good.  Bumpy snowshoe tracks for about half mile then we had to break trail the rest of the way.  5 hours.     
  • Mar 17 - SECOND POND from Chatiemac Rd.  Figured our best chance of finding powder skiing was to start at high elevation - almost 2,300' here.  Generally uphill  at first then mostly downhill to the pond.  Gore Mtn to the E.  After lunch on the N shore we bushwhacked NE eventually picking up a path (old woodsman type markings like axe blazes & cuttings)  that ran from the old Highwinds Ski Touring Center.  After leaving state land (no posted signs) & gaining 350' to a high point there were more obvious trails or old logging roads with thru-the-trees view to the High Peaks.  Back to the pond (I think our path was slightly to the N of the trail shown on USGS map) & out.  Snowshoe tracks for the 1st mile made the trail bumpy.  Then ski tracks for a while but we ended up breaking trail the last mile to the pond.  Mostly very good skiing with a foot of powder on deep unconsolidated base.  5.5 hours.     
  • Mar 16 - T LAKE from Piseco Lake.  Temp in mid-teens, windy; snow depth in 3' range.   Fairly steep climb to start, gaining 700' - southern exposure, icy crust topped with 1-2" powder - fair skiing (lots of zigzagging on way back down this section but I stayed upright, Rongwae fell & broke clavicle).  More powder, less iciness at over 2,000' - very good to excellent skiing. The trail drops 300' & crosses Mill Stream then climbs 400' to 2,500' elevation & drops to the lean-to.  Can hardly see the lake from the lean-to.  A tough, sometimes grueling but fun 7.6 miles in 6.3 hours - best for advanced skiers.         
  • Mar 13 - ALBANY PINE BUSH from Willow St.  1" powder on bumpy ice base - poor skiing.  Stayed on the mostly flat red trail. 
  • Mar 12 - Ugh!  Rain! - SCHENECTADY MUNI GOLF COURSE.  Temp in the mid-30s.  OK skiing on 0-8" wet sugar, some wet & icy spots, bare under trees, best in fresh ski tracks made by someone who got out earlier than I did.  Skied a loop around the perimeter.  My 50th ski of this season.  Looks like the Adks getting all snow & lots of it.   
  • Mar 10 - HUYCK PRESERVE from jctn of Woods & Peasley Roads.  200 yd ski on unplowed Woods Rd to the preserve.  Temp rising thru the 30s - fair skiing on breakable icy crust in the morning, good skiing as the surface softened up in the afternoon.  Loop 3 counterclockwise; loops 2, 1 & Race Track clockwise.  Some snowshoe use but best to stay on untracked areas.  Lots of open woods with little understory.  Spent some time playing on "the glade" on W side of Loop 2 - practicing my parallelamark, snowplowamark & fake-a-mark :) - climbing was easy in the warm snow so didn't mind yoyoing a bit.  4.3 hours. 
  • Mar 9 - INDIAN HEAD via Lake Rd from Ausable Club in St Huberts.  Skied the Lake Rd then switched to snowshoes at the Bypass Trail to Gill Brook & frozen falls.  Ascent of IH very steep in places.  Blue skies & little wind - gorgeous.  Nice view toward Giant Mtn from northern lookout.  From the ledges on IH the Ausable Lakes are below, Lower Lake flanked by Colvin & Sawteeth.  The open rock face of Gothics stands out in the Great Range.  In the far distance Vanderwhacker & Snowy (50 miles away!).  Looped down on lake side - trail switches back often, a ladder covered in ice was unusable.  Short side-trip to Gothics Window.  Snowmobiles had been on the Lake Road (private access to camps on Upper Ausable Lake).  Excitingly fast mostly downhill run out on the hard-packed road.  ~10 miles, 6+ hours.  Ran into Tony Goodwin when we stopped for dinner at the Ausable Inn.  Best views in the Adirondacks     
  • Mar 5 - TRAMMEL CREEK from the end of plowing on Oak Mountain (aka Bungtown) Rd near Stratford.  6" powder on deep base with some give to it - very nice skiing.  Not an official state trail but marked sporadically with orange ribbon.  Starts out on a woods road & becomes less distinct when the path gets to the creek.  The path crosses the stream many times - skiing on the stream was often easier than sticking to the path.  Banks sometimes steep.  Got to a beaver pond & large vly within a third of a mile of Jerseyfield Rd.  8.5 miles, 4.8 hours.   
  • Mar 3 - GOOD LUCK MOUNTAIN CLIFFS from Rt.10.  Dexter Lake snowmobile trail to past the register then off-trail up the NE side of the mountain climbing moderately at first then steeply cutting switchbacks (climbing skins helped), nice view of the W Br Sacandaga valley along the way.  Picked up the hiking trail just below the cliffs & side-stepped the final steep pitch. Gain of 650' from start.  From the cliffs there is a great view across Spectacle Lake to the hills S of the Mohawk Valley & W to Hedgehog Mountain & the hills in the Jerseyfield area.  Dropped down to the W then N skirting some cliffs but with wide-open woods most of the way, much fun!  Crossed the snowmobile trail & off-trail over to State Brook (flows E) which we followed upstream to the W, some beaver ponds along the way.  Reached Hart Vly Stream (flows W) then back down State Brook further downstream.  Spent most of time off-trail - 3-4" powder on good base, excellent skiing; groomed snowmobile trail had a hint of iciness to it.  7.3 miles, 4.8 hours.             
  • Mar 2 - LITTLE POND & PORCUPINE LOOKOUT from Rt.9, Green Mountain NF, Woodford, VT.  2"powder on somewhat breakable crust over deep base made for very good skiing. Appalachian/Long Trail. 9.3 miles, 5 hours.   
  • Feb 26 - HEDGEHOG MOUNTAIN from Curtis, N of Salisbury just outside the SW Adks.  Intended to ski something off Jerseyfield Road but the road was only plowed 3+ miles N of Curtis.  Lots of old logging roads in the area.  Road plowed for short distance E of Curtis, unplowed road goes past some camps.  Bushwhacked around the N side of top of Hedgehog (more hill than mountain) to unplowed James Rd.  Wanted to take it N to Kettle Beaver but the route was gated & had many posted signs.  Skied S to Woods Corner instead then returned.  Excellent skiing on 5" of fresh powder on good deep base - breaking trail was practically effortless.  Map.  4 hours.   
  • Feb 24 - PINNACLE CREEK from end of Pinnacle Rd in Bleecker.  2' of snow.  Morning radar showed a narrow band of lake-effect snow along the Fulton/Hamilton county line.  Blue trail to County Line Lake goes along an old woods road for a couple of miles.  1" new powder in tracked hard-packed icy trail at start, powder increasing as I headed NNW.  When the trail crossed the W branch at about 2 miles I continued off-trail NNW to the W of Panther Mtn following the drainage.  After gaining 500' from start turned around when things started to get steeper but nice skiing here with 3" powder on slightly crunchy base with just a bit of give.  Explored the nearby vly, delightful skiing with 4" powder, good view of Pigeon Mtn, gusty wind.  Side-trip off-trail (but tracked) up the E branch to another vly.  Good to very good skiing, best out of tracks. Snowing much of the time, sun came out whenever snow stopped.  Stream crossings good.  3.5 hours.    
  • Feb 23 - MINNEWASKA STATE PARK in the Shawangunks west of New Paltz.  $6pp to ski.  Out on the groomed Awosting Lake Carriage Road, a hint of iciness in the morning with temp in upper 30s.  View of Rainbow Falls.  To the ungroomed Lake Shore Carriage Rd & around Awosting Lake.  Side-trip to Spruce Glen for lunch.  Back to LA then under the overhanging cliffs of Battlement Terrace up to Castle Point (el 2,193') - wide-ranging views incl. High Point in NJ.  Generally downhill on Castle Point Carriage Rd on soft surface with temp in 40s, lots of viewpoints along the way.  Love the rocky scenery in the Gunks.  Good skiing on ~2' of snow, mostly novice, some steeper hills near Lake Minnewaska.  Most other skiers were on skinny skis & stayed on the groomed carriage roads. 11+ miles, 5.2 hours.     
  • Feb 20 - REIST PRESERVE from Morgan Ave, Niskayuna.  A quickie before work.  Easy terrain.  Very good skiing with temp in upper 30s.  15-18".
  • Feb 19 - MERCK FOREST.  Temp in 20s to low 30s.  Gain of 800' to  Mount Antone (el 2,610') took 1.5 hours, trail broken out - very windy & snowing, no view today.  S on Masters Mountain Trail, a fairly wide trail with no recent use so had to break trail in 30" of powder - after a short moderately steep climb we dropped 1,600', steeply thru windblown drifts & cornices at first but soon switchbacks made the skiing less challenging - sunk in quite a bit, wished I had wider skis than the S-Bound 88s for this section.  As we dropped in elevation the snow showers turned to rain showers & the snow was wetter & gloppy.  Looped back on Old Town Rd climbing 1,000' gently, a snowmobile had packed the trail down, stopped for a break at Dunc's cabin on the way.  Dropped 200' to the farm & out.  10.3 miles, 5.2 hours.     
  • Feb 17 - SNOW HOLE.  Taconic Crest Trail from Petersburgh Pass (el 2,000') Rt.2 on the NY/MA border.  2-3' of snow (perhaps too much?!) - very good skiing in & out of snowshoe tracks, uphills a bit of work in the troughs.  Bare-booted the initial steep section from road to kiosk but skied it on the way back.  Great view from White Rocks lookout (2,300') 2.5 miles in - the Taconics, across the Rensselaer Plateau to the Catskills.  Williams College/Hopkins Memorial Forest has cut down most trees on a hill before White Rocks to attract flora & fauna that was found here in the past.  The grotto-like Snow Hole did have snow in it,.  Most of the trail is in NY but a section is in VT.  Short side-trip on Birch Brook Trail which eventually drops 1,500' to Williamstown - nice conditions for that.  Mostly intermediate with one steeper hill.  6 miles, 4.7 hours.     
  • Feb 16 - AVALANCHE PASS thru trip from South Meadow  to Upper Works.  18" at lower elevations, more higher - excellent skiing despite a few rocks showing.  Trails all broken out.  Meadow Lane to Marcy Dam, Avalanche Lake, Lake Colden, Flowed Lands.  Outstanding mountain views - Algonquin & Colden stood out.  Run out along Calamity Brook Trail was a blast - loss of 1,000' from Flowed Land to Upper Works.  13.7 miles, 5.8 hours.     
  • Skiing & Snowshoeing the Snowy Southern Adirondacks - AS&F article.
  • Feb 15 - MOHAWK RIVER STATE PARK from Lock 7 boat launch.  A quickie before work - did a couple of loops in the E part of the preserve.  20" of snow - very good skiing, temp in upper 20s, most trails lightly broken out by snowshoers making it a bit bumpy.
  • Feb 12 - FERRIS LAKE from Rt.10 via Jockeybush Lake, Arietta area.  Had heard snowshoers did this trip 4 days ago so we did not have a lot of trailbreaking to do.  1.1 mile trail to JL.  0.7 mile across the lake - mostly good, a little slush.  Tough 1+ mile bushwhack to Black Cat Outlet, an early steep drop.  Nice 1+ mile bushwhack thru open woods around N side of hill (did not follow the ss tracks over the hill), some rolling terrain then steep drop to FL.  Lunch on an island with cloudless sky.  Back the same way.  Fun mostly downhill twisty run out from JL.  ~2' of snow, very good skiing.  8+ miles, 5.7 hours.     
  • Feb 10 - HUYCK PRESERVE from Pond Hill Rd by Lincoln Pond in Rensselaerville.  15" mostly powder, very nice skiing.  Wheeler-Watson trail past an old cemetary to Race Track then N on the Partridge Path.  Loop 1 counterclockwise, southern part of Loop 2 with glade skiing en route, all of Loop 3 (the longest at 2.7 miles) clockwise - breaking trail on 1 & 3.  Lots of lovely open hardwoods & fun hills.  Bare-booters had walked in our tracks from start of Loop 1 back to start!  5.5 hours. 
  • Feb 9 - ROCK LAKE.  Northville-Placid Trail from Upper Benson.  30" - excellent skiing.  Broke trail all the way, great run back out losing 700'.  Mostly hardwood forest.  On the way in we crossed the North Branch West Stony Creek & skied the new section of the NPT to just above the bridge over the creek - not as easy as the traditional route on the S side of the creek.  Intermediate.  10.9 miles, 5.5 hours.   
  • Feb 6 - ALBANY PINE BUSH PRESERVE from the end of Madison Ave Ext.  Excellent skiing on about a foot of powder.  Did a loop on the yellow trail & parts of the red & blue to a clearcut area with view to the Heldergerg Escarpment.  All trails broken this morning.  I did break trail along part of the powerline.  Snowshoers already walking in the ski tracks!!!  1.4 hours. 
  • Feb 5 - SCHENECTADY MUNI GOLF COURSE.  Went out mid-storm with 5" fresh powder.  Parking lot had been plowed already.  No-one else out yet incl. sledders so I had all the good hills to myself.  1.1 hours. 
  • Feb 3 - ESSEX CHAIN OF LAKES from SE end of Goodnow Flow, Newcomb.  Former Finch/Pruyn lands. Fourth & Fifth Lakes.  Side-trip to the Iron (aka Polaris) Bridge over the Hudson River, camps of the Polaris Club on the E shore.  All on unmarked woods roads, the 3 mile route to the Hudson had seen some snowmobile & ATV use, we broke trail to the lakes (no signs or markers, helps to have the USGS Newcomb map + GPS).  To go to the lakes at 1.4 miles we took a R past a metal gate going straight for over 3 miles then a R (a barrel filled with waders, boots, fishing rod & more sat at the intersection) to Fourth & Fifth Lakes.  Views of Blue Mtn, Sixth Lake Mtn & Cedar Mtn along the way.  Gently rolling novice terrain a bit like Camp Santanoni.  6-10" powder (fluffier than yesterday) on sometimes icy base - very good to excellent skiing.  There is a kiosk & register 0.8 miles before the Hudson River, view of Vanderwhacker & Polaris Mtns to the E, all downhill down to the bridge.  14.9 miles, 5.7 hours.  The Town of Newcomb is plowing Goodnow Flow Road. The public can park in the designated plowed area along the Goodnow Flow Road just before the Chain Lakes Road entrance – this is the road used in the summer to access the Hudson River at the Polaris or Iron Bridge. The public can access the Essex Chain Lakes Tract to ski, snowshoe or otherwise traverse the roadways and the lands. Interim winter public access will be limited this year as no plowed parking areas have been designated on the Essex Tract itself. The plowed parking area on the Goodnow Flow Road is used by the Gooley and Polaris Club members to park vehicles and snowmobile trailers . The Deer Pond and Chain Lakes Road gates have been closed and locked. The roads beyond are closed to public motor vehicle traffic until the end of the spring mud season. Members of the Gooley and Polaris Clubs will be able to use snowmobiles on the roadways to get to and from their camps.       
  • Feb 2 - STONY POND thru ski, Rt.28N to Irishtown.  6-10" dense wettish powder on some icy base - very good skiing, did see some rocks but generally easy to miss, some icy spots near the end.  Center Pond Outlet -thin ice near beaver dams, turned around before reaching Center Pond.  From high point between Stony & Sherman Ponds we dropped 1,000' to Irishtown - wheeee!  Falls Brook Yurts. No sign of recent snowmobile use.  7.7 miles, 3.7 hours .   
  • Jan 29 - WEST BRANCH SACANDAGA RIVER upstream of 1st bridge on Rt.10.  Silver Lake Wilderness Area.  No marked trails - USGS map shows a trail to Silver Lake Outlet; Nat Geo Map shows it continuing up Silver Lake Outlet - sometimes the trail was obvious, at other times it was hard to see & we lost it a couple of times.  See Discover the Southern Adirondacks for more details.  Crossed the North Branch & passed the confluences of Silver Lake Outlet, White Lake Outlet & Whitman Flow & went a bit further along the frozen river until one of my skis broke thru the ice & dipped in water.  Fairly flat terrain but route-finding was interesting.  Excellent skiing with well over a foot of snow with good base & plenty of powder.  Wonderfully remote.  5.2 hours.   
  • Jan 27 - HENNIG PRESERVE, western Saratoga County, just outside the Adirondack Blue Line, elevations over 1,500'.  Skied most of the trails N of Centerline Rd incl. new blue loop, all loops counterclockwise.  Very good to excellent skiing, mostly silky smooth but did hit 4 or 5 rocks (mostly on northern white trail that goes over an interesting esker).  Up to 10" of snow, mostly powder.  1" fresh powder in tracks from previous skiers, did have to break trail some of the time tho.  2 hours.  More info & map
  • Jan 26 - BIG EDDY on WEST BRANCH SACANDAGA RIVER from end of plowing on West River Rd, west of Wells.  2 miles on unplowed dirt road to Whitehouse - rolling hills.  Northville-Placid Trail.  Unmarked path (had some blowdown to skirt) W to Hamilton Lake Stream - shore & near-shore areas littered with ice chunks deposited by high water from last rain event, the walls of ice made crossing the frozen stream a challenge, I kept my skis on but others removed skis & walked across.  Over to the W Branch & followed a fisherman's path upstream with sweet views of the river which had a fair amount of open water.  Very good skiing on up to 8" powder over a crunchy (sometimes icy) base.  9.4 miles, 5 hours.   
  • Jan 22 - COLE HILL STATE FOREST from Irish Hill Rd in E Berne.  Did loops on both sides of the road.  -1F when I started but warmed up to +2F.  2-3" powder on 0-1" base - good skiing on flatter areas but poor on the hills, some rocks showing, best for rock skis.  1.5 hours.
  • Jan 20 - POWLEY-PISECO ROAD from the south, from bridge over East Canada Creek at Oregon.  4-8" fresh powder over a good crunchy base - very good to excellent skiing, snowing most of the time.  To Powley Place & back.  Side-trips on unmarked paths to The Potholers (#5*) a falls on the creek, Brayhouse Brook (#6*) & House Pond (#3*).  MLK Day & we saw the groomer go by in each direction (somewhat sticky immediately after grooming, better when surface had cooled) but not one snowmobile!  Met the new ranger too.  Easy skiing with gentle hills on the road, still able to get in a bunch of turns; side-trips more challenging.  10+ miles, 5.5 hours.  *Trip # in Discover the Southern Adirondacks (available at APnP). 
  • Improve the glide of "No-wax" skis - Nehasane uses Swix F4 Universal which can be corked or ironed into ski base ahead of & behind the kick zone.
  •  Tour the backcountry with Fischer S-Bound skis.
  • Jan 19 - ROCKWOOD STATE FOREST.  Did a sort of a loop counterclockwise.  Area has seen moderate use by skiers, snowshoers, bare-booters + someone had driven a truck in part way in!  6"-8" hard icy base with 0.5"-1" fresh powder - fair to good skiing, best in untracked snow to side of wide trails  - would be real nice with 3" more powder.  2+ hours. 
  • Jan 15 - EAST CANADA CREEK from bridge in Oregon.  Past the bridge over the E Canada the Powley-Piseco Rd was plowed for under a mile but not sanded & was extremely icy - I drove up it a bit then chickened out.  Skied the snowbanks at side of the road to end of plowing at a campsite.  The snowmobile trail past there had good coverage.  Large chunks of ice on the road were evidence that the creek had overspilled its bank recently.  Views of rapids on the creek were awesome, a lot of water going thru.  I was a bit under the weather today & did not have any major goal - better than staying home & feeling sick.  Crusty 6"-12" in the woods - will make for nice base when we get more snow.  Stopped at Rockwood on the drive over - 6"-8" there.   
  •  Jan 13 - CHASE LAKE "day camping" from the end of Pinnacle Rd in Bleecker.  Above freezing.  6-12" of snow, good coverage.  Hard snowshoe-packed trail with a dusting of powder, crusty with some give off-trail - fair to good skiing, softer on the return.  Expected stream crossings to be challenging but not too bad.  Made a fire at the lean-to & cooked up some smoked sausage - added sweet onions & brew masters mustard on good bread & had best lunch in recent memory.  Lake looked slushy.  Peaceful & relaxing.  Sunny, no wind.  5.4 miles. 5.3 hours (half skiing, half "camping").   
  • Jan 12 - POWLEY-PISECO ROAD from the N & Rt.10.  Very little damage to this unplowed dirt road after yesterday's rain.  Easy skiing with gently rolling hills.  Very good skiing on hard-packed snowmobile (saw 2) trail topped with 0.5" fresh powder; snowing lightly all the time we were out.  6-10" off trail with light crust - I sunk in 6". Passed some primitive campsites. The road is washed out near Mud Pond but no problrm crossing.  At Clockmill Corners we went E on narrower less-used snowmobile trail past a vly & its outlet - fair skiing with some small snowless wet spots.  Found a nice spot for lunch then headed back.  Temp around freezing.  10 miles, 4.7 hours.   
  • Jan 8 - WHITEHOUSE from the end of plowing on West River Rd, W of Wells.  Unplowed dirt road for ~2 miles to summer parking area passing several primitive campsites, a bit further to jctn with Northville-Placid Trail - last people to sign in the register was on Dec 8!  L on NPT & soon at the long suspension bridge over the West Branch Sacandaga River, the river had much open water.  2 chimney stacks remain from old camps.  Temp in teens, up to 10" of snow with dusting of powder, icy under evergreens, slightly crunchy elsewhere, my skis sunk in 1-4".  Used waxable skis with Swix Ice Klister - ironed on the klister at home, should have put it on a larger area, left klister at home so added some blue kick wax in the field which helped grip a little. Nice river views & steep hills both on the drive & the tour. 2.5 hours.   
  • Jan 6 - CHARLESTON STATE FOREST from Burtonsville Rd.  Southern Montgomery County west of the Schoharie Valley, elevations over 1,200'.  Skied a figure 8 loop N of the parking area past a couple of ponds, the Tall Oak Bridge & a variety of woods & habitats.  Lots of animal tracks.  Had warmed up overnight with rain in the morning.  Started with temp above freezing & snow was wet & heavy; dropped below freezing while I was out & snow was getting icier.  Up to 7", thin spots & roots showing under softwoods - fair skiing.  6.3 miles, 2.8 hours.  23 miles of designated ski trails here.  You can often find maps at the register altho the maps in ECOS Ski & Snowshoe Tips (available at APnP) also add mileages between numbered junctions.   
  • Jan 5 - NORTHVILLE-PLACID TRAIL - new section from Godfrey Rd in Upper Benson. Took the traditional beginning thru easement land.  Where the trail 1st meets the North Branch West Stony Creek we crossed the iced-over stream & picked up the new section of the NPT on the other side.  The newly-marked trail heads NE & soon crosses a small stream on a 2-log bridge, I found it best to ski across the mostly frozen stream.  After a short climb the trail follows an old woods road & Abner Brook & its vlies are seen to the R.  The NPT leaves the old road to the R & is harder to follow from this point on, we stopped often to look for the next marker.  Rolling terrain for a while before making a U-turn to the 2-log bridge over Abner Brook. The trail now heads over a hill to the E, switchbacks make for a moderate grade.  From the top of the hill there is good thru-the-hardwoods views of the cliffs on Little Cathead Mtn.  The drop down on the other side was real fun, the trail zig-zagging thru open woods to our lunch stop on Dec 16.  Headed back the same way we came, the downhill on the other side of the hill was fun too.  Intermediate skiing on mostly good base with 6" powder, breaking trail was fairly easy.  10 miles, 5.7 hours.   
  • Jan 4 - "METHANE MOUNTAIN" from Blatnick Park, River Rd, Niskayuna.  Just a quickie before work; good place to practice telemarks on this old landfill.  Nice view across the Mohawk River to the Taconics.
  • Jan 1 - 9 CORNER LAKE from Rt.10.  Trail to Broomstick Lake is marked with xc ski markers, unusually steep & turny for a ski trail?!  After skiing out onto BL we headed off-trail going generally S & slowly climbing a hill.  Dropped down thru tight woods before taking skis off to slide down a cliff & down to 9CL.  Hit some wet spots on the lake - good thing we always carry scrapers.  Took a less hilly & better route NE then N back to trail & dropped carefully back down to the car, some rocks showing thru the snow (best with 2' of snow).  Good to very good skiing with 1-3" powder over slightly crunchy base.  3.5 hours.  Lakes were very scenic - what a way to start the new year!  Part of the 1936 version of Last of the Mohicans, was supposedly filmed at Broomstick Lake.  

    2013:

     
  • Dec 30 - HOLMES LAKE from Benson Rd at Peters Corners.  Snowmobile trail (no recent sled use) with gradual increase in elevation.  Newish lean-to a bit before the pond-like lake.  Took a windy spin on the pond.  Side-trip on snowmobile trail to Pinnacle Rd - gentle hills were fun in these fast conditions .  Up to 10" of snow with fast crusty surface, some wet spots - fair to good skiing.  4.8 hours. 
  • Dec 29 - ROCKWOOD STATE FOREST from S of Rt.29, just S of the Adirondack Blue Line, WNW of Johnstown.  1-4", more in open areas & under hardwoods - good skiing on wide rock-free trails.  Temp in upper 20s to mid 30s, started to rain as we were finishing.  Some fun hills for the better skier.  3.7 hours. 
  • Dec 27 - WOODS HOLLOW PRESERVE from Rowland St in Ballston Spa.  Fair skiing on 4-5" of crunchy base with some give, a dusting of powder, trails packed by walkers, skiing best off-trail.
  • Dec 24 - LEONARD HILL hike in southern Schoharie County.  Leonard Hill State Forest.  A dusting of snow.  Parked on side of CR 61 1.4 miles E of CR 17 in Broome Center.  Walked S on 4WD road until it disappeared so bushwhacked S feeling sort of lost (just the start of a new adventure).  Came out on Leonard Mountain Rd opposite the start of truck trail.  The truck trail is easy walking & slowly gains elevation.  After going around the N side of Hubbard Hill (2,620') the trail drops slightly for a short distance before the last climb to the firetower which has the 2 lower sections of steps removed (next time I'll have to bring a 15' ladder).  There is a good open view W to the Gilboa Reservoir.  One passes plantations of Norway spruce & red pine along the way but hardwoods dominate the summit & there are some thru-the-trees views in other directions.  Snowing lightly all the way down.  Took a R on Leonard Mountain Rd passing a couple of houses & after ~10 mins. took a L on a good truck road.  When I got back to the paved CR 61 it was a short walk W to the Nehasanemobile.  Many rock walls attest to the fact that this was once farmland.  Grouse, lots of crows.  600' el gain, 5.5 miles, 2.5 hours.  This route is skiable & appears in Nordic Skiing Trails in New York State, a free booklet put out by NYSDEC & written by the late Almy Coggeshall, not sure if it is still in print.  Most of Albany & Schoharie hilltowns are snow-free - there is more snow left in the immediate Capital District. 
  • Dec 22 - GARNSEY PARK skiing & damage assessment (after a couple of warm rainy days).  From Mechanicville Rd (Rt.146) in Rexford.  5" heavy wet snow, a bit icy in packed areas, temp around freezing in mid-morning - ok skiing on novice terrain.  Southern loop is thru edge habitat, good for wildlife.  Middle loop is a mix.  New northern Ridge Loop thru deciduous woods adds a mile to the trails here (& one intermediate downhill if you go counterclockwise; clockwise is easier).  Some benches etc. along the way.  Hopefully we'll be left with some base tomorrow.  2.2 miles, 45 mins.  The Mohawk River has been frozen over this past week but today the ice was breaking up. 
  •  Dec 19 - MOHAWK RIVER STATE PARK skiing from Blatnick Park, River Rd, Niskayuna.  "Methane Mountain" (a capped landfill) - good for practicing tele turns & has nice view of the frozen over river.  Shaker-Wit Trail accessed from the bike path - intermediate+, some short steep hills with narrow must-make turns.  SE part of Shaker Gorge Loop Trail (NE part not recommended for skiing).  A beautiful sunny morning with temp in the upper 20s.  Bobolinks & bald eagles have nested in the area.  Rain in the forecast for next 3 days :( !  1.4 hours.   
  • Dec 18 - SCHENECTADY MUNI GOLF COURSE skiing.  Have to take advantage of the great snow while we've got it.  Decided to use my waxable skis - Swix Green did not give me enough kick (temp in upper teens) & did not bring any blue!  45 mins.
  • Dec 16 - NORTHVILLE-PLACID TRAIL, new section N of Benson Rd. Started from small pull-out on N side of Benson Rd 4.5 miles from Rt.30.  The trail goes W for a short distance near the road before heading uphill over a knoll then down within sight of Woods Lake (this part had some hidden rocks, care needed).  Same route as return on Nov 20 hike.  This time the trail was marked all the way & we got to the hill half mile before Abner Brook before turning around.  Attention needed at times to find the trail.  Over a foot of snow with some base, actually easier breaking trail than yesterday.  One steep section, otherwise mostly intermediate.  10 miles, 5.3 hours. 
  • Dec 15 - ALBANY PINE BUSH skiing.  Excellent skiing on 12" new snow.  From Trailhead #7 at end of Madison Ave Ext.  Did most of the trails in the Madison Ave Pinelands & Great Dune areas, some trails twice.  Had to break trail some of the time but a lot was already broken.  Novice to Intermediate - some steep hills on the powerline.  3.6 hours.  Finally no need for rock skis so got out my go-to skis the Fischer S-Bound 88 combined with Fischer BCX 675 boots.  
  • Essex Chain Lakes Tract: Gates to the Essex Chain Lakes Tract roadways will be closed and locked on Monday, December 16. The Town of Newcomb will be plowing the Goodnow Road, and there are some parking areas along that road that people can use. The public can ski, snowshoe or otherwise trek (non-motorized) into the parcel from plowed areas along the Goodnow Flow Road. Members of the Gooley and Polaris Clubs will be able to use snowmobiles on the roadways to get to and from the camps.  Dec 13 - APA approves plan for the former Fich Pruyn lands: more info (now needs the Governor's signature).
  • Dec 9 - NICK STONER GOLF COURSE skiing from end of plowing on Irving Pond Rd.  1 lap on E side of Rts. 10/29A & 2 laps on W side.  Good skiing in 2" of powder on thin icy base.  Some light drizzle made the powder a bit heavier by the time we finished.  1.8 hours.  Lunched at the car then skied the snowmobile trail to IRVING POND & BELLOWS LAKE.  On good dirt road to Irving alongside its scenic outlet stream.  The dam is out, leaving an interesting open shoreline on the pond.  Rougher snowmobile trail to Bellows thru some nice hemlock forest.  Skiing better than one would have thought despite some wet spots & rocks. 6 miles, 2.2 hours.  Visited Rockwood SF - had 1.5" & did not look good for skiing. 
  •  Dec 8 - RENSSELAERVILLE SF skiing.  Did a loop in the eastern part of the forest. 1" powder over thin icy base, poor skiing. 1.3 hours. Drove over to nearby HUYCK PRESERVE.  From Rt.85 walked short distance to bottom of falls - lovely!  Short spur to middle of falls then to top of falls & continued to the dam on Lake Myosotis.  <1" of snow.  1 hour. 
  • Dec 2 - NICK STONER GOLF COURSE in Wheelerville.  Skied both sides of Rtes.10/29A plus a snowmobile trail that led down close to an inlet of Canada Lake.  CL & Caroga Lakes were totally iced over.  1-2" icy/crunchy base topped with 1-2" dense powder - good skiing.  2 hours.  Drove over to ROCKWOOD SF to check the conditions, skied <1 hour on woods roads which are designated ski trails.  Spoke with a chatty hunter who said there are a lot of bobcats here (Northern zone big game rifle hunting season ends Dec 8).  3" heavy wet snow, temp rising thru the 30s. 
  • Dec 1 - CEDAR RIVER skiing from Chain Lakes Rd in Indian Lake.  The last 2 miles of Chain Lakes Rd were quite icy & the road has some steep spots so we decided to park just past end of plowing 1.86 miles S of the summer parking area since the dirt  road was skiable (with nice views of the Indian River).  Think that with more snow the winter parking area will be 2 miles S of the summer parking, a little N of the dam - areas were plowed on either side of the road.  From summer parking to Cedar River is 3.7 miles, mostly on dirt roads on former Finch/Pruyn lands.  Hunters have been bare-booting thru here over the last week.  Cedar River is flat water here & was iced over.  Gooley Club building.  Short side-trip to the Hudson River.  Mud Pond.  Good skiing on 5" crunchy base with a dusting of powder.  Mostly gently rolling terrain, downhills were fairly fast in these conditions.  Similar to the old road to Camp Santanoni, this route will be good skiing with minimal snow cover.  11.5 miles, 4.5 hours.       
  • Nov 28 - RENSSELAERVILLE STATE FOREST skiing in SW Albany County.  Parked at jctn of Cheese Hill Rd & CCC Rd.  The latter was skiable so went W for a bit then off-trail to the S.  Reached a property line with view of the Catskills.  Followed the property line W crossing over some stone walls.  Found a couple old logging roads & skiing was real good.  Worked my way N back to CCC Rd & took that back to the car.  Surprisingly good skiing on 2-3" of snow with a bit of crunchy base.  2 hunters, 1 round of gunshots.  2 hours.  Drove over to nearby HUYCK PRESERVE & did a short walk around Lincoln Pond.  Beaver sign.  LP & Myosotis Lake totally iced over.  1-2" snow.  Happy Thanksgiving.    
  •  Nov 25 - NORTHVILLE-PLACID TRAIL old & new, hike from Godfrey Rd in Upper Benson.  1.6 miles, much on 4wd road thru private land (hunting club), to bridge over scenic North Branch West Stony Creek which had a fair amount of ice.  After the bridge I took a sharp R off-trail, angled uphill a short distance & soon saw the blue NPT markers of the new to-be section to Benson Rd.  The trail climbs well above the NBWSC but the stream is generally in view.  Trail drops down steeply & narrowly to stream level (this part could be challenging to skiers), jogs L & R then crosses a brook on a high 2-log bridge.  The trail then follows an old woods road NE ithru open hardwoods for a couple of miles.  A vly on Abner Brook is seen to the R & the trail pulls away uphill & soon takes a R leaving the woods road.  The trail winds down to Abner Brook just above the vly & crosses it on a 2-log bridge then goes uphill - I turned back here.  Up to 1" of snow.  5.4 hours.   
  • Nov 24 - PINE VALLEY TRAIL skiing from Rt.9 in Woodford, VT.  3-5" fresh powder.  Forest Road 272 is a snowmobile trail in winter.  Hit some rocks but that was to be expected.  More wet spots than I would like & skis iced up a few times.  Beaver ponds. Took 2nd L & had lunch next to Little Pond Outlet.  10-15F, very windy but you really don't feel the wind in the woods. 3.3 hours.
  • Nov 20 - NORTHVILLE-PLACID TRAIL hike, new (still unofficial til 2014?) section N of Benson Rd.  Parked on S side of road 4.7 miles W of Rt.30.  Walked short distance W & entered the woods at couple of ribbons.  A well-used path leads 0.2 miles to Woods Lake passing an outhouse..There are 4 designated campsites in this area.  Hiked along shore path to the E & crossed inlet near ribbons.  Uphill to the N & soon spot blue NPT markers.  The trail heads N generally uphill between Woods Lake & Little Cathead Mtn.  The trail drops steeply next to some cliffs then flattens out & crosses some small streams.  Turning W the new NPT crosses 2 streams on 2-log bridges then goes SW on a long straightaway (looks like an old woods road - I think this is the trail from Lapland Lake resort to Grant Lake).  NPT markers lead R & stop - I went 10 more mins. on fairly obvious trail but no more markers.  On way back I followed the blue markers past 3 huge glacial erratics then across the Woods Lake inlet on a 2-log bridge.  The trail then pulls away uphill from the lake.  Markers stop before height of land but I continue on what I thought was the new NPT (foot-tread somewhat obscured by leaves) & reached Benson Rd at a small turn-out on N side of road 0.2 miles E of where I started the hike (this turn-out is 4.5 miles from Rt.30.  Much open hardwoods with beech & maple, some ash, stands of hemlock.  2 deer - another face-off with one of them & it walked pretty close toward me.  0-0.5" of snow.  5.4 hours. 
  • Nov 18 - DYKEN POND ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION CENTER hike.  Short walk pondside (some development) then thru The Sentinals (glacial erratics), boardwalk thru fen with cranberries & pitcher plants then off-trail around 2 wetlands.  Parts of the boardwalk S of the lean-to are under water thanks to beaver activity.  Nice & quiet - area is away from main roads.  Grouse.  2.2 hours.
  • Nov 18 - PEEBLES ISLAND from The Battery boat launch at the S end of First St in Waterford.  Had to give the new Dagger Katana kayak a spin - a whitewater touring kayak good for up to Class III+ whitewater, skeg helps tracking on long flat stretches, very nice seat, some nice touches incl. under deck storage, cockpit drain plug, deck shockcord front & back, bulkhead footbrace, etc. - should be sweet boat on anything from the Battenkill, Sacandaga or the Grand Canyon.  Fair amount of water coming over Buttermilk Falls creating some strong currents.  1 hour. 
  • Nov 17 - PLOTTER KILL PRESERVE hike.  20 cars filled the main trailhead on Rt.159 so I drove over to the Coplon Rd trailhead where there was 1 car.  Did a loop on the red North & South Rim Trails in the lower part of the preserve plus the new spur to the Lower Gregg Rd trailhead (not shown on the map).  Met some Long Path North folks who said the LP will be routed thru the preserve.  Very little water in the stream & crossings were no problem.  2.5 hours. 
  • Nov 13 - WOODFORD STATE PARK skiing.  1-2"of snow - ok for "rock skis".  Good skiing on grassy & leafy areas.  Temp in low 20s but sunny.  Adams Reservoir had a fair amount of ice.  2.8 hours.   
  • Nov 11 - NORTH CREEK RESERVOIR & RABBIT POND loop hike.  Schaefer Trail to Gore Mtn.  Many lovely cascades on Roaring Brook.  Gain of 1,000' in 2.2 miles to NCR - can see the summit from here.  Downhill to RP - trees are far apart, good for strong skiers.  Beavers have built quite the dam at the outlet of the pond.  Downhill to junction with Raymond Brook Trail, good for intermediate skiers.  Gently downhill on wide yellow trail to the Ski Bowl, easy intermediate skiing.  Map.  4.2 hours.   
  • Nov 10 - WOLF CREEK FALLS PRESERVE, west of Altamont.  Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy.  Hiked most of the trails N of Bozenkill Rd & some S.  Just a trickle going over the picturesque falls.  Long Path passes thru.  Mostly oaks.  Saw 4 deer - stared one down for a couple of minutes but as soon as I moved it took off.  Should be good skiing with 6" of snow, trails are smooth & wide with some moderate hills.  1.6 hours.   
  • Nov 6 - CHARLESTON SF loop hike.  XC ski trails (there are 23 miles of ski trails here, mostly on the easy side) in SE part.  Area is mostly over 1,200' el.  Get map at certain parking areas.  A lot of intersections are numbered but some numbers are missing.  Started from Gidley Rd.  Overlook Trail - thru the trees could make out hills of southern Adirondacks.  2 attractive beaver ponds N of Gordon Rd.  3.5 hrs.  
  • Nov 4 - STISSING MOUNTAIN & THOMPSON POND hike in northern Dutchess County. Friends of Stissing Landmarks.  Trailhead on Lake Rd next to wood post with "FISL - LAKE RD TRAILHEAD" on it.  Cross road & walk past Thompson Pond Nature Preserve sign & climb steeply. Trail is mostly unmarked.  At a fork I went L along the shorter steeper trail.  35 mins. to fire tower.  Views very good - rural to the E, more woods, Catskills & Gunks to the W.  Still some fall color - oaks with leaves of gold & bronze.  Explored trails to the S, found a small log cabin.  Down on longer trail.  1,000' el gain to tower, 4 miles, 2.9 hrs.  Walked E side of TP 1 mile to where folks were building a new bridge over Wappingers Creek.  SM rises steeply on the W side & the fire tower is visible.  Walked down W side of pond on yellow trail to a kiosk then did a short Blue loop to the pond's shore.  Golden eagles & king rails supposedly breed here.  1.5 hrs.   
  • Nov 3 - FORSYTHE NWR.  Scouted out some areas on Barnegat Bay.  Walk at Eno's Pond.  Drive home.
  • Enjoyed using the Bending Branches Expedition Plus paddle - a most comfortable t-grip for maneuvering strokes, squared off at bottom of blade for maximum purchase in shallow water.  On lakes I prefer a more rounded blade like the Espresso Plus ST.
  • Nov 2 - WADING RIVER from Hawkin Bridge to Beaver Branch.  Start is on Tuplehocken Creek, a short split around an island was shallow, soon reach the WR.  Wider & more current than the other rivers, no obstructions.  Godfrey Bridge camping area has been moved away from the river.  Lots of colorful maples & oaks, some good sandy banks for breaks.  6.5 mile shuttle, some of it on dirt & sand roads thru interesting pinelands (saw a red-tailed hawk take off with a grey squirrel in its claws).  ~10 miles, 4.8 hrs.       
  • Nov 1 - Rainy day tourists.  Tuckerton Beach post Sandy.  Tuckerton Seaport museum - snow geese.  Pygmy Pine Plains from Bombing Range (!) Rd  Wildlife Drive, 8 miles at the Forsythe NWR - brants, great egrets, Atlantic City.  Sunset from Great Bay Blvd WMA.  Being a Friday, more campers move in to our campground - fairly deserted Sun-Thu.         
  • Oct 31 - CEDAR CREEK from Dover Forge to the White Bridge at Double Trouble Village.  Double Trouble SP.  Clearest water with sandy/grassy bottom.  Starts wide, passing area of dwarf pines & cedars then narrows & the current picks up, widens again at Ore Pond.  200' portage around L side of dam.  2 beaver daqms.  Wood ducks.  Easy shuttle but parking at the village is a 6 min. walk from the take-out - you are allowed to drive to the White Bridge but cannot park there.  3.3 hrs.  1.5 mile loop walk on nature trai l- cranberry bogs & woods.  1 hr. 
  • Oct 30 - MANAHAWKIN BAY from The Bridge to Nowhere.  Close to low tide.  Marshy islands & creeks.  Paddled N on Cedar Creek then R to Log Creek Pond.  Continued NE thru North Pond, across the wide mouth of Big Flat Creek until we were out on the bay by Marshelder Island.  Returned E of the islands & thru Turtle Cove.  Long Beach Island seen 1-2 miles to the E - a barrier island with much development.  Barnegat Light seen across Barnegat Bay to the NNE.  Mussels & oysters. Fairly calm, saw just 4 motorboats on the bay.  Nowhere to land for lunch.  Many ducks.  Some rain.  2.8 hrs.   
  • Oct 29 - MULLICA RIVER from Atsion to Pleasant Mills.  Most varied landscape - mixed forest, open marsh, piney, maple swamp, cedars, some high sandy banks.  6 beaver dams + 1 liftover.  Water level much better than yesterday.  Longer shuttle, all paved roads.  12+ miles, 6.3 hrs.     
  • Oct 28 - OSWEGO RIVER.  Across Oswego Lake, upstream on the OR for half hour then returned to OL.  Portaged around dam then downstream on the shallow cedar-lined OR (had to get out & line some early portions) to Harrisville Lake's piney shores where we saw a bald eagle.  Easy shuttle.  ~10 miles, 5.5 hrs. 
  • Oct 27- Nov 3 - NJ PINELANDS canoeing.  Bass River SF - camping in an enclosed "lean-to" with wood stove.  Oswego, Mullica & Wading Rivers are in Wharton SF.  Daytime highs low 60s to high 60s, overnight lows high 20s to 60F...
  • Oct 22 - MOHAWK RIVER from Lions/RR Station Park.  Still some water chestnut but we were able to get out to the river close to Niska Isle then on to the Lock 7 dam where we saw a mature bald eagle.  Wonderful starry sky on return.
  • Oct 21 - SCORTON CREEK in E Sandwich.  Got up early to watch the sunrise at Nauset Beach then broke camp.  Put in at State Wildlife Reservation S of Rt.6A.  Upstream with the incoming tide.  Also paddled up Jennys Dam River & Shove Creek to where they narrowed to almost nothing.  Ebb tide out.  Walk to CC Bay on the Sandwich Boardwalk, dinner at Flynn's Irish Pub & then the drive home.   
  • Oct 20 - NAUSET MARSH from town landing at end of Hemenway Rd..  Windy so stayed close to the mainland.  S to Fort Hill area, around a marshy island, N & up Northwest Passage (someone scuba diving) into Main Channel, thru Big Box (gulls & yellowlegs on oyster cages), along West Cove & up Cedar Bank Creek into Nauset Bay, returned hugging the shore to minimize windage.  Had time today to visit CC Bay, eat lobster roll at Marconi Beach on the ocean, do some souvenir shopping, watch the sunset at Linnell Beach, eat dinner at Land Ho in Orleans & visit Nauset Beach on the ocean under moonlight. 
  • Oct 19 - LIEUTENANT ISLAND from beach landing at end of Old Wharf Rd in Wellfleet.  Limited parking, parts can be under water at high tide.  Paddled S on Loagy Bay to the bridge - the road to the island is under water near high tide.  Passed the mouth of Fresh Brook & S into short creek reaching trail & observation deck at Mass. Audubon Sanctuary.  Out to Cape Cod Bay & S to Hatches Creek which winds quite a distance into the mainland, some tasteful development.  Lunch at beach at mouth of the creek with view of the bay & Great Island (see Sep 8 trip).  Windless pm & bay was real calm & inviting so we paddled around LI, some development.  Back across Loagy Bay to the put-in. Eiders.   
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