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FUNdamentals of Kayaking CLASSES start May 20
- May 25 - HOOSIC RIVER from Hoosic Junction to Johnsonville. Eagle Bridge gage at 2.6'.
- May 24 - HUDSON RIVER from Thurman Station to Hadley. North Creek & Hadley gages a bit above 3'/ - some shallow spots but I only scraped bottom twice. Clear water - so much nicer than the lower Hudson. Sandpipers, green heron. Tubers. 14.9 miles, 4.5 hours.
- May 19 - HUDSON RIVER TRIBUTARIES from boat launch next to Henry Hudson Park in Bethlehem. Paddled a short distance downriver then up the Vloman Kill to the falls (you want to do this close to high tide). Crossed to the E side of the Hudson & went up the Moordener Kill & Papscanee Creek. An eagle sat on a branch next to its nest. Gusty winds while crossing back over the Hudson made things interesting. Dagger Alchemy, a 14' kayak.
- May 17 & 18 - LITTLE TUPPER LAKE & ROCK POND. Turning off Rt.30 onto Sabattis Rd & there is a moose crossing the road - what a great start!! Sunday, wind 0-5 mph - Paddled down the S shore of LTL going in & out of the islands - 2 paddlers were heading out & they were the only other folks that we saw over the 2 days. At 4.6 miles turned into Rock Pond Outlet & paddled upstream past boggy shores (leatherleaf flowering & sheep laurel starting to) for 1.5 miles. Carried 100 yards (always admire that tall white pine) & put back in next to dilapidated bridge. Entering RP one notices an osprey nest. Visited all the campsites on RP & chose campsite #25 - most others only could fit 1 or 2 tents, we had 3. Hung out & swam from the nice rock area in front of the campsite. Wore the Original Bugshirt for a time. Sunset paddle. Monday, S winds 5-15mph - Paddled up the inlet of RP for 2 miles going over a dozen beaver dams - no posted signs so not sure if we left state land - turned around at a log jam. Checked out the new start of the carry to Hardigan Pond (a little N of the old one, supposed to be less wet). Headed out near the N shore of LTL, waves less than a foot, saw a group of 17 ducks (scoters?). Loons, gulls (a gull chased an osprey across the pond but backed off when 2 more osprey came in to help out), doe & fawn. Blackflies were bearable - not super hungry, some light swarming - used Cutter Advanced picardin spray on Monday (I like that it is unscented & non-greasy, feels nicer than DEET). 25 miles in 2 days. Swift Keewaydin 15 solo canoe.
- May 13 - MOHAWK RIVER from Freddie's Park, Marine Service Rd in Latham. Circumnavigated the islands upstream, some shallow areas. 2 hours .
- May 11 - THIRTEENTH LAKE Paddled around the 2-mile-long lake + up the inlet at the S end for 0.4 miles going over 3 beaver dams. Hot again. Much colder water than Garnet, waded in but no swimming. Light blackfly activity. Male mergansers hung out together; a Canada goose laid low over nest on top of a beaver lodge; red-winged blackbirds chattered, white-throated sparrows sang; loons. Only saw one other paddler but a lot of folks had signed in on the weekend.
- May 10 - GARNET LAKE Paddled around the 2-mile-long lake in the morning. The hillsides were various shades of green - Mt Blue rises almost 1,500' above W shore, Crane Mtn seen to the NE. Lots of drowned stumps in the southern half of the lake. Just hung out in the pm waiting for predicted showers & storms which never came, water warm enough for a swim. A hot Sunday, saw ~15 other paddlers, most in small kayaks. Turtles, loons. Columbine bloomed on rock on NW shore, leatherleaf on islands. Light blackfly activity - did not use protection (did have the Original Bugshirt with me), got some bites.
- May 3&4 - BOG RIVER canoe camping from Lows Lower Dam. The gate at start of the dirt road to the dam had been opened just a day or 2 ago. Side-trip of 1.3 miles up Horseshoe Lake outlet to Horseshoe Lake Rd, 2 beaver dams. Hitchins Pond campsite #6. 1.3 mile (one way) hike from HP up to Low's Ridge (gain of 400') with lots of trout lilies blooming - awesome view with Bog River below & snowy Marcy & Algonquin in the far distance. Full moonrise. Saw a few other people, most heading out. Day 2 - Paddled the perimeter of Hitchins poking into inlet at N end for a quarter mile. 1 mile up unnamed stream S going over about 10 beaver dams & approaching the rr tracks - turned around where a stream (outlet of Little Trout Pond) comes in from the E thru a culvert under the tracks. Day 2 had gusty winds, both days temp in the 70s. Mosquitoes, bald eagles, loons, osprey, otters, deer; also sounds of grouse drumming, woodpeckers tapping, spring peepers - no sign of blackflies. Leatherleaf blooming at water's edge. Took a quick refreshing clean-up dip at the take-out. On the drive out: there was a spine of snow to the side of CR 421 so I got out the skis.
Apr 29 - Saw work boats installing buoys above Lock 7 - water level about as low it gets - canal set to open May 8.
- Apr 28 - MOHAWK RIVER kayaking from Lions Park. Went up to the downed tree on the Lisha Kill again then around the tip of Niska Isle & upstream on the Mohawk toward Lock 7. Osprey, lovely sunset. 1.8 hours.
- Apr 27 - MOHAWK RIVER & LISHA KILL. canoeing from next to the old Niskayuna rr station at Lions Park. Water level ~2' lower than a week ago (think it has been lowered for installation of buoys). Upstream then under the bike path bridge into the LK. Large beaver hut & soon a tree across the stream (the saw I brought was not good enough to cut thru). Portaged around but did not get much further before reaching a small rapid. Muskrat on shore. 1.5 hours.
- Apr 26 - STRATTON MOUNTAIN skiing. 1,800' climb via "Easy Street" - nowax skis worked great, no herringboning or climbing skins needed with temp rising thru the 40s. 0.8 miles from top of ski area on bc trail (tough, bumpy post-holed) to fire tower (~3' of natural snow here) & 360 views incl. Somerset Reservoir & Grout Pond (both iced over), Mt. Snow, Marcy in NY, Monadnock in NH, Greylock in MA. Mucho turnworthy on way down Easy Street with detour on Lower Wanderer & uphill on Cabot's Run - very good skiing on ski area trails, top-to-bottom coverage. 66th ski of the season, 3rd in shorts. 7.5 miles, 4.9 hours.
- Apr 22 - MOHAWK-HUDSON BIKE/HIKE TRAIL walk from Lions Park in Niskayuna. Saw 2 painted turtles right on the paved path. Male wood duck, downy woodpecker, beaver, more... Water level on the Mohawk River slightly higher than summer levels.
In the last 10 days I have heard of 3 different incidents of kayakers capsizing in NY state, one dead (not wearing PFD), fellow people in kayaks unable to do rescues - what does that say?*
Mount Snow not open for uphill travel this spring - info. Apr 19 - DUTCH HILL & HOOSAC RANGE skiing. Green Mountain NF. Good skiing on 0-15" corn, some wet spots. Started at ~2,200' on Rue Madeline in Heartwellville VT. Some bushwhacking, some old woods roads, some old ski trails. Climbed to the N of DH. View E to MA & NH? from ledge on 2,657' peak. Found an old camp & abandoned vehicles incl. school bus. Looped back on woods road to DH. Nice view across Aiken Wilderness to Prospect & Glastenbury Mtns from top of the old (closed in 1985) Dutch Hill Ski Area. Went partway down one of the old runs (not much snow down low). Sunny, temp rising thru the 40s to mid 50s, skied in shorts again. 4.7 miles, 4.5 hours.
- Apr 13 - BASHA KILL LAKE kayaking, near Wurtsboro. Basha Kill WMA. The lake is a widening of the Basha (aka Basher) Kill; the Long Path passes along its SE shore following an old rr bed. The Shawangunks rise up to its E & hills rise to the W. Best place to launch is on the SE shore. While I ate lunch & got ready, several birders were enjoying the sights; an LLBean kayak landed - the occupant was wearing a PFD (good) but his cotton jeans (bad) were wet up to his knees. Paddled around the lake clockwise with some poking around the islands. Soon saw an eagles' nest in a tall pine. Lots of Canada geese, some nesting already. Painted turtles basked in the sun (temp got up into the low 70s) on logs & hummocks. Noticeable current near the outlet. Saw an immature eagle on a tree branch & 3 mature eagles flew by. Some marshy & brushy areas, water clear & mostly about 2' deep. A muskrat swam across in front of me, got out next to a tree stump & munched on something then casually slid back into the water & swam away. Lots of maple hardwoods along shoreline but also areas of white pines. Not enough room to get under the Haven Rd bridge so did not explore the NE section (would only be a 20' carry across the road). Great blue heron, wood ducks, mergansers, ring-necked ducks, bluebirds, red-winged blackbirds, tree swallows; the sounds of spring peepers. Motors - only electric allowed. 8.4 miles, 4 hours on the water.
Apr 11 Kayak capsized in Hudson River on a windy day (probably not the best conditions), dog was wearing a PFD- rescue report. Another report.
- Apr 12 - CAMP MEADOWS in the Aiken Wilderness from Heartwellville VT. From Green Mountain National Forest - Southern Section by Bruce Scofield: "...this excursion is suggested only for serious explorers of trailless areas who know how to use a topographic map, a compass, and common sense." "The one trail (or more accurately, the dotted line on the topo map)..." Started out on FR 73, a snowmobile trail, for 2.3 miles then headed off into the woods just past the bridge over Reservoir Brook. Soon found a path marked with a rainbow of flagging heading N then W. Abandoned that route & crossed Camp Meadows Brook just before the southeastern-most pond/meadow. Remains of an old cabin (shown on the Stamford quad), an old stove & corrugated roof, were just across the brook. Crossed the meadow & had lunch at its SW corner; behind us was a yellow bucket on a dead tree (something else for you to find now if you already are familiar with the "tin can"). Spent the rest of the trip in shorts. Continued N & bagged more ponds/meadows; between ponds in a sprucey area were moose tracks & scat. Looped back & followed "the dotted line on the topo map", sometimes the old road was fairly obvious, sometimes not. Reached jctn of Camp Meadows Brook & W Br Deerfield River & skied up the river past a cable across the stream. Turned around & followed the river to Reservoir Brook then followed that uphill past frozen cascades. Back on FR 73, mostly downhill. Elevations 1,800'-2,300'. Below freezing last night; sunny, temp rising thru the 40s & 50s, excellent skiing before noon, good (unconsolidated, punched thru occasionally, once 2' into water, did not realize there was a stream underneath) in the afternoon; 1'-2' snow depth. A beautiful day in the wilderness. 10.1 miles, 5.5 hours.
Apr 9 - 3" new snow at Adirondak Loj last night.
- Apr 6 - ROCKY FALLS & SCOTT CLEARING from Heart Lake. Indian Pass Trail in High Peaks Wilderness. Lots of ups & downs (some steep), very little flat. Some exposed rocks on downhills going in, ok on way back. Spur loop to frozen Indian Pass Brook, skied up brook to lean-to at the falls. Crossed brook just above the falls then very steeply back up to IPT & on to the lean-to at Scott Clearing where I took a longish break. Snowed lightly for rest of trip. Took South Camp Trail around S end of Heart Lake, the open Ski Slope good for practicing tele - get Adirondak Loj Winter Property Map at the Loj (over 10 miles of ski/snowshoe trails near the Loj). Good skiing on snowshoe-packed trail, off-trail mostly unbreakable crust with 1-3" powder, 15"-30" total snow depth. Snowshoers had recently post-holed in spots when they stepped off the packed spine. 8.5 miles, 4.6 hours. 32F in mid-afternoon & still snowing, 62F back in Albany!
- Apr 5 - INDIAN FALLS from Adirondak Loj Rd. After Friday's rain 1-5" of snow fell in the Lake Placid area on Saturday morning & 1-2" more on this Sunday morning. Temp 25-35F & sunny; 2-6" powder on firmly packed base - very good skiing. High Peaks Wilderness. Along unplowed Meadow Rd then up Marcy Dam Truck trail. Always awesome mountain views from Marcy Dam area. VanHoevenberg Trail (the most popular route up Mt Marcy) to the top of the frozen falls where there is an excellent framed view of Algonquin Peak & the rest of the MacIntyre Range. Interesting seeing usnea (old man's beard, a lichen) & snow on some trees. Intermediate to the bridge over Phelps Brook then advanced (mostly on designated ski trail) to the falls - David Goodman in Backcountry Skiing Adventures: "a mile-long 6- to 8-foot-wide pipeline that charges relentlessly downhill" - it wasn't pretty going down this section. From the bridge to Marcy Dam it was fast skiing on sometimes narrow trail. Took another break at Marcy Dam to take in the views. Lowest elevation 2,060', highest elevation 3,660'. 11.6 miles, 5.4 hours. Spent the night at Adirondak Loj on Heart Lake. Photos courtesy of THart.
NYS Budget: Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) increased from $162 million to $177 million which includes an increase of $4.9 million for Open Space for a total $26.5 million (maybe soon buy Follensby Pond from The Nature Conservancy?) & public land stewardship increased by $1.15 million to $18.5 million.
- Apr 1 - BOG MEADOW in Bakers Mills. Stomping ground of Paul Schaefer & Howard Zahniser. Parked at end of plowing on Edwards Hill Rd (2,000'), skied uphill to the end of the road (look S for good view of Crane Mtn) then L on path & into the Siamese Ponds Wilderness. R on unmarked old road then R at fork*. Some blowdown. No moose sign at BM like we saw last winter. Checked out the campsite to the N then headed up Round Pond Brook then NNW up Mud Pond outlet - nice skiing in the stream beds. View of Gore Mtn as we entered the pond (2,400'), lunch stop with view of Height of Land Mtn. Bushwhacked SE & reached Round Pond Brook at a vly. Followed the brook upstream to a beaver pond then a fairly short steep uphill to remote Round Pond. Whacked SE to the inlet of Chatiemac lake, found a dirt road. Continued SW up the inlet then S back to the unmarked old road just SE of fork*. 13th Lake quad very helpful, did not use a compass with blue skies & sun for directions. Well over a foot of firm snow, a little icy at first but softening up nicely as temp rose thru the 30s - good to excellent skiing. 8.5 miles, 5.4 hours. My 60th day of skiing this season.
- Mar 30 - DUTCHER NOTCH from Colgate Late near E Jewett in the Catskills. Views of the Blackhead Range along the way. Frozen falls on the East Kill. The old road approaches the notch above a steep gully. Gain of 400'. Good to very good skiing, temp in upper 30s & cloudy, soft surface, 0-12", some exposed rocks, bumpy snowshoe tracks, not much snow in the field next to parking. Easy intermediate. 9.3 miles, 4.5 hours. More info.
- Mar 29 - LITTLE POND, PORCUPINE LOOKOUT & HELL HOLLOW BROOK. Path & off-trail to LP. Loop incl. AT/LT (white paint blazes were only 3' above top of snow) which we lost anyway & bushwhacked downhill (oh so much fun going in & out of the trees!) thru fairly open woods til we got to the bridge over HHB. View of 2 windfarms from PL, otherwise no sign of civilization. Unmarked path back to LP snowmobile trail, Views of Mts Haystack & Snow. All streams still well frozen over - looks like snow will still be around for most of April. Gorgeous blue sky day, temp around freezing: at least 30", unbreakable crust with a little give topped with 1-2" fresh powder - very good skiing. 8+ miles, 4.8 hours.
- Mar 25 - VERNOOY KILL STATE FOREST, SW of Kingston, bordering the Catskill Park. The Long Path currently runs along roads in this area but may be routed thru the SF in the future. Parked on Rouge (aka Rogue) Harbor Rd a liitle NE of Lyon Lake (private) & skied up an old road (a few blue flagging markers) to the N which switchbacks uphill (a fun run out). Climbed over 600' in 1.7 miles to a ledge with view across the Rondout valley to the Shawangunk ridge incl. Mohonk's Sky Top Tower. Blueberry in open areas, mountain laurel in the woods. Continued N steeply downhill, crossed an open stream & turned back. Explored some state land S of Rouge Rd. Temp in 40s, very good skiing with sugar snow, 0-15", some bare spots & rocks showing. Elevations 600' to 1,250'. 6.5 miles, 3.5 hours.
- Mar 23 - LAPLAND LAKE. Skied mostly on "more" & "most difficult" trails. W Branch Stony Creek. Woods Lake. Saw a reindeer. Hardpack groomed with powder surface - good skiing, fun downhills. 10 miles, 3.2 hours.
- Mar 22 - MAGIC MOUNTAIN in Londonderry VT. A great uphill policy: free if you climb to the top, ski down, get a free ride up on the chairlift, ski down again. Skinned up to the top - 1,700' in 1.7 miles in a little over an hour - nice views to northern VT & to NH on this sunny but windy day . Going down was not so easy for me on touring gear - conditions were hard ice with some powdered shavings in spots, boilerplate to the sides. Skipped a 2nd run from the top. Instead yoyoed on an easy slope to practice my skills. 4.5 miles, 4 hours.
- Mar 18 - BLACK CREEK from Lake Desolation State Forest. Plenty of hard snow, slightly icy surface but with some give to it still allowed for decent control & fair to good skiing. Mostly off-trail (nothing marked). Skiing down the creek was fun. Passed thru several vlies. 8.5 miles, 5.3 hours.
- Mar 16 - PA'S (aka WINDING) FALLS. Bog River Ski Trail.
- Mar 15&16 - RAQUETTE RIVER lean-to camping.
- Mar 15 - UPPER HUDSON RIVER SKI TRAIL, Newcomb.
- Mar 11 - BOTHERATION POND LOOP from Barton Mines Rd.
- Mar 9 - MERCK FOREST. Mount Antone.
- Mar 8 - MERCK FOREST. Gallop Peak.
- Mar 6 - MOHAWK RIVER from Lock 7 boat launch.
- Mar 4 - PALMERTOWN RANGE, Moreau SP.
- Mar 2 - CHARLESTON STATE FOREST
- Mar 1 - GROFF CREEK & ABNER BROOK
- Feb 28 - REIST PRESERVE
- Feb 25 - HALFWAY BROOK
- Feb 23 - HOLLYHOCK HOLLOW SANCTUARY
- Feb 22 - HOFFMAN NOTCH.
- Feb 21 - MOHAWK RIVER STATE PARK
- Feb 18 - BIRCH BROOK TRAIL. Petersburgh Pass, Taconic Crest Trail, 1,100' drop on BBT to Upper Loop, Lower Loop, Rosenburg Center, Hoosic River.
- Feb 16 - PEOPLES STATE FOREST in CT.
- Feb 15 - PEOPLES STATE FOREST in CT.
- Feb 11 - RAYMOND BROOK & RABBIT POND
- Feb 8 - THACHER PARK
- Feb 4 - GREENPORT CONSERVATION AREA.
- Feb 1 -
- Jan 30 - SCHENECTADY MUNI GOLF COURSE. Just 5 minutes from the store. Breaking in a new pair of Fischer BCX 675 boots
- my old ones are usable but showing some wear. Excellent skiing
on up to 6" of powder on thin icy or crunchy base; snowing all the time I
was out. 1.2 hours.
- Jan 28 - PARTRIDGE RUN WMA from
Sickle Hill Rd (CR 13). Did all the Nordic ski trails.
Started down Beaver Rd ~0.3 miles to 2nd R. Climbed to over 2,000'
el passing a couple of ponds. Spur to old cemetery at Bradt
Hollow Rd. Crossed road, trail runs concurrently with snowmobile
trail dropping down (Long Path also joins part way down) then
climbing. R on Long Path. Best to cross beaver pond to L of
trail to avoid thin spots under dense softwoods. Crossed High
Point Rd to keyhole loop (counterclockwise). Back to Beaver Rd
along S route passing another pond. Down along Beaver Rd then up
back to start. 8" of snow, half crunchy base, half powder - very
good skiing; a bit grabby when I tried some turns off-trail (there are
some nice areas of open hardwoods). Several deer, vole. 9.5
miles, 6.2 hours.
- Jan 26 - LITTLE POND AREA from
Little Pond trailhead on Rt.9 in Woodford VT. Headed N up the
usual path between snowmobile trails which had recently been skied -
tracks had firmed up & had a hint of iciness - good skiing.
After 2 miles took a L on snowmobile trail going uphill (recently
groomed to smooth icy hardpack) then R into the Glastenbury
Wilderness. After passing an unmarked trail on the L I climbed on
the "short-cut" off-trail route toward the AT/LT following some ski
tracks. Stopped for lunch in the hardwoods here. Back the
same way. 5 miles, 2.7 hours.
- Jan 25 - ESSEX CHAIN LAKES from
Newcomb. Chain Lakes Rd North leaves Goodnow Rd for 1.3 miles
then R thru gate. At 2.5 miles from start took R on another good
dirt road (seen as double broken line on USGS map). Sixth Lake
seen on L, rolling trail, Fifth Lake on L. Much evidence of
logging. Stopped on NW shore of Fifth for lunch - good sun &
little wind, comfortable despite temp barely in double digits.
Good view of Vanderwhacker Mtn. On to the culvert between Fifth
& Fourth Lakes passing a new accessible outhouse. Stopped at
campsite #2 on Sixth. All trails had some snowmobile use - ranger
said it was illegal for sleds to go N of the lakes; out of tracks there
was 6" of powder on hard icy base - very good skiing. Easy
terrain. Temp in single digits at start & finish.
Several snowmobiles came out of Polaris Club camps. 10.85 miles,
- Jan 21 - GREEN MOUNTAIN NF from
Rt.8 south of Searsburg. Parked opposite a cemetery & the
Searsburg Wind Farm (2,500' el). Headed W on an old road, some
obstructions, harder to follow the further we went. L on
snowmobile trail down to a T junction, took a R for a while then R again
off-trail down to a tributary of Yaw Pond Brook. Upstream to a
beaver pond then more uphill skirting a long blowdown area (suspect a
microburst) generally thru semi-open hardwoods with some
hobblebush. Came out on the snowmobile trail just 200' S of where
we had entered it earlier. Took the snowmobile trail N to height
of land then off-trail E down to a beaver meadow then S until we hit our
earlier tracks. 6.6 miles, 5 hours. Good skiing on 1-3"
powder on crunchy base, bushwhacking was easy as we only sunk in
- Jan 19 - FALL STREAM.
MLK Day. Snowmobile trail (saw 5) around Fawn Lake to Willis
Vly. Off-trail alongside the vly's outlet for 0.8 miles to Fall
Stream, some obstructions. Lake Pleasant area did not get the rain
last night that areas to the S got & we had 8" of powder on good
base. 8.8 miles, 4.7 hours.
- Jan 18 - NORTHVILLE-PLACID TRAIL
thru ski from Upper Benson (Godfrey Rd) to Benson Rd. New parking
area on Benson Rd is on the S side 4.7 miles from Rt.30 - despite that I
still skied to the old new (of last winter) parking turnout on the N
side of the road 4.5 miles from Rt.30 - NPT markers that were there last
winter have been removed near this end. From the hunting camp at
the end of Godfrey Rd the trail is now marked with yellow markers &
is no longer part of the NPT. 1.75 miles to the bridge over the N
Branch W Stony Creek & picked up the new section going E.
Lunch at Abner Brook then 280' climb over a hill (1,700' el) then fun
150' downhill run. Excellent conditions for the most part with
4"-6" powder on hard icy base. On the harder side of
intermediate. Some exposed rocks later in the trip - needs 2' of
snow in the Woods Lake area to cover up the rocks in the
softwoods. Light rain for last hour, heavier rain & freezing
rain on drive home. 9.4 miles, 7 hours (had some slower skiers in
the group today). See 2014 edition of Discover the Southern Adirondacks by Ingersoll for description & map of this new section.
- Jan 14 - AIKEN WILDERNESS from
Woodford State Park. Parking area is just E of the park entrance
on the N side of Rt.9. A new trail (blue paint blazes) leads from
the S of the parking area back to Rt.9 opposite the park entrance.
Skied across Adams Reservoir. A path leads from the back of
Campsite 64 down (crossing over the park's blue trail) to the 1st meadow
(watch out for exposed rocks at the bottom of the hill). Crossed 2
ponds & picked up the old Dewey Road & took it S climbing a
series of hills (fun on the way back, I did them twice). After
height of land the old road drops with some hobblebush interfering
passing another beaver pond on the L. Climbed up to the Tin Can
which is wedged waist high in a tree. Continued SE on the old road
then dropped SW to a beaver pond, the 1st of the 3 Sisters shown at the
bottom of this map.
After a relaxed lunch-stop dropped to a large meadow then a short
distance to the 3rd Sister which looks like the beavers have let some
water out of their dam. On the way back took a side-trip from the
Tin Can W then NW dropping down (fun!) thru open woods to the "W"-shaped
pond in the Beaver Meadows area. Don't expect any markers or
signs, the Tin Can is all you get. Excellent conditions with 4-8"
of light powder on good base. Mostly sunny yet some light snow
fell during the 1st half of the trip - a beautiful day! 8.3 miles,
- Jan 12 - HAYES CREEK
from Rts.30&8. Started from the E end of Old Rt.8 at the
closed bridge. Old Rt. 8 stays close to the Sacandaga River
passing many rapids, scenic Austin Falls & some flatwater (saw a
beaver on our way back). After about 1.5 miles we took a R before
Robbs Creek on a maze of logging roads which we thought could be Robbs
Creek Rd because the NatGeo #744 map shows (incorrectly) the road
starting on the E side of the creek (now that I'm home I see 2 other
maps show it correctly on the W side of the creek). The slash on
the logging roads made skiing extra difficult. Found a good spot
to cross the creek & continued on Robbs Creek Rd. After
passing a 1 mile marker & a good bridge over Robbs Creek we took a R
on a 4WD road, Hayes Creek on our R. The 4WD road pulls L away
from the creek but we took a R on an old road (no markers) that
continues alongside the creek. Soon leave the Speculator Tree Farm
& enter state land & the Siamese Ponds Wilderness Area.
The old road supposedly crosses the creek & continues on the other
side but we saw no sign of it. Continued upstream mostly on the stream
ice. Bushwhacked uphill to the SE but unable to find any sign of
the path to Hayes Flow. Easy terrain if you take the right
route. Good skiing on 3" of powder on decent base; a bit sticky
with temp approaching freezing. 8.4 miles, 4.3 hours.
- Jan 11 - CLOCKMILL POND from
Rt.10. Lightly used snowmobile trail passes Kennels Pond &
Rock Lake. Rolling intermediate terrain. Did not see the
path to CP so bushwhacked over & came out at a small vly to the W of
CP. Staying close to the outlet stream we soon were on CP &
its convoluted shoreline. Whacked over to Rock Lake then picked up
the trail again for the return. Passed 2 sleds who came in to
clear the trail, until then we had broken trail all the way. 5"
powder on a firm base made for excellent skiing. 8.2 miles, 4.7
- Jan 7 - ROCKWOOD STATE FOREST, halfway
between Johnstown & Caroga Lake. Designated xc ski trails on
wide woods roads with a variety of terrain. Very good skiing with
2" fresh powder on hard base, maybe 5-6" total. I generally ski
the trails S of Rt.29. Care needed on steeper hills, still some
debris (I removed some of it). Temp dropping thru the teens, 11F
when I finished. Excellent map in ECOS Ski & Snowshoe Tips. 2.3 hours.
- Jan 5 - ELM LAKE from
Rtes. 8&30 in Speculator. Old Rt. 8 is plowed a short
distance to the power station at Christine Falls on the Sacandaga
River. Never far from rapids on the river, after ~1 mile we took a
L on Fly Creek Rd, a dirt road that is a snowmobile (saw none today)
trail in winter. Now in the Speculator Tree Farm
we pass a couple of camps then slowly gain elevation. Drop down
to a junction. L past gate on road to Elm Lake. The Kunjamuk
River is seen for a short time. Elm Lake, a widening of the KR,
is a popular paddling destination - interesting seeing it in
winter. Novice skiing. 1" fresh powder on firm base made for
good skiing, except for a few icy spots where the wind had blown the
snow off. Temp dropping thru the teens. 11.5 miles, 4.75
- Jan 4 - LITTLE POND from
Rt.9 in Woodford VT. Snow, freezing rain & rain
overnight. Good skiing on 2"-3" wet snow with a bit of iciness
(8-10" total, solid base) which got better as the day wore on with temp
reaching the low 40s. Headed over to the unofficial trail between
snowmobile trails, bisecting the area between FR 275 & FR 272.
The southern end is on a very old woods road, the rest is less
obvious. 3 streams were difficult to cross but with temp above
freezing I didn't mind getting my skis wet. L on snowmobile trail for a
short distance then R & bushwhacked down to the pond. Clouds
hid the higher peaks around the peaceful pond which is in the
Glastenbury Wilderness. From the campsite at the pond's W end
climbed the trail back to the snowmobile trail on FR 275 (untracked by
humans) & looped back to the start. Between the powerline
& Rt.9 a portion is plowed & I had to ski along the side of the
dirt road. Woodford Snobusters advise snowmobilers to stay off the trails - good for skiers. 5.2 miles, 3.2 hours.
- Jan 1 - FOREST ROAD 73 from
Heartwellville VT. First stopped on Rt.8 across from the cemetary
below the Searsburg Wind Farm (2,500'+ el.) & attempted to ski an
old woods road W but it was somewhat washed out & too steep for the
conditions today so gave up on that idea after skiing under 0.2 miles,
tough ski back to the car. Drove over to Heartwellville. FR
73 is a snowmobile (saw none) trail in winter, el. 1,800'+ at
start. Had half inch of powder on hard icy base - fair
skiing. Slowly gained 350' in 2.5 miles crossing the W Br
Deerfield River & Reservoir Brook on good bridges. Lunched at a
small beaver meadow to the N on Reservoir Brook at the S edge of the
Aiken Wilderness. On the way back took a side-trip up the Yaw Pond
Brook trail which was in tough shape but the brook was quite
photogenic. Downhills on FR 73 are novice/easy intermediate but
really fast today. Temp in lower 20s. 5.3 miles, 3.1
ECOS SKI & SNOWSHOE TIPS - a book of 50 cross country ski & snowshoe maps of the greater Capital Region, updated in 2011, in stock - $14.95.
.Dec 14 - PHAROAH LAKE from
end of plowing on Pharoah Lake Rd off Beaver Pond Rd. 1.1 miles
to bridge & raised boardwalk over Mill Brook, some blowdown &
wet spots along the way. Soon after the brook there was a lot of
blowdown - best to whack on SE side. Clearer trail the rest of the
way. Side-trip L just before the bridge over Pharoah Lake Outlet
to campsite with very nice view across a flow of Pharoah Mtn's cliffy W
side. Crossing the outlet on a good bridge the wide trail then
passes a lovely stretch thru hemlock woods & view of the flow to the
L. Took trail on S side of the lake to lunch at leanto #1 with
its view across the lake to Treadway Mtn. Still some open water on
the lake. Continued past double-wide leanto #2 a short distance
before turning back. Temp in mid 30s, over a foot of snow, only
sunk in 2 or 3 inches - very good skiing. Lots of snow on trees
starting to melt. Easy intermediate to the lake, intermediate on S
side trail. 10.1 miles (I did some of route twice), 5.6 hours.
Dec 25 - MOHAWK RIVER walk
from Ferry Rd, Vischer Ferry. Walked the old towpath W to the
Lock 7 dam - lots of water going over the dam after recent rains. Gore-Tex Gaiters in stock: $49.95.Dec 29 - GARNET HILL. 15k
groomed, reduced $10 trail fee - good fast skiing. Temp in
mid-20s. Used my S-Bound 88s & worked on my teles. Up to
6" hard snow off-trail. We need new snow to make bc conditions
good again. Nearby 13th Lake iced over, open water near
outlet, cool sounds as temp was dropping. Dec 27 - Snow depths - Lake Placid 6", North Creek 5", Wheelerville 2".
Dec 28 - FOREST ROAD 273 from
Rt.9 in Woodford VT, elevation ~2,100'. The snowmobile (saw none)
trail climbs moderately gaining a quick 150', crosses some trails of
the Prospect Mtn Nordic Ski Center
then slowly drops over 200' (novice). The road condition worsens
(a good thing for skiers) after about 3 miles & snowmobile use drops
off greatly. Lots of recent moose tracks & scat then I see
the guilty party, scrambled for my camera but the moose headed off thru
the woods, I followed its tracks for a while. Some wet spots but
easily avoided. Stamford Stream seen to the R, a bridge over it
leads shortly to the AT/LT. Continued for a bit on FR 273 with
meadow to the R but trail had more wet spots here so turned
around. ~8" avg hardpack, soft surface since temp had been above
freezing for over 24 hours (rain overnight). Good skiing.
Used my rock skis but good skis would have been ok. 8.1 miles, 3.5
Dec 24 (early) - Rain: bah humbug! Snow depths - Lake Placid 9.5", Indian Lake 9", North Creek 8", Wheelerville 5".Dec 21 - HELL HOLLOW BROOK from
Little Pond trailhead on Rt.9 in Woodford VT. Last autumn trip of
the year. Green Mountain NF & Glastenbury Wilderness.
Snowmobile trail to past the powerline. Unmarked path into the
wilderness area to the brook, past 3 beaver meadows/ponds & down to
bridge (closed?) that takes the AT/LT across the brook. Up then
down (& out of the wilderness area) on unmarked old logging road
around the W side of 2,726' hill (E of Maple Hill). Looped back
partly off-trail, partly on powerline snowmobile trail & partly on
another trail. Mostly excellent skiing with well over a foot of
snow, 3" powder on slightly crusty base. Elevations in
2,300'-2,600' range. Shark? 6 miles, 3.8 hours. How Werner Paddles tests their whitewater paddles: video.Dec 15 - HUYCK PRESERVE.
Wheeler-Watson trail to Partridge Path trails. Surprised to find
minimal use since the storm 5 days ago - trail broken to Loop 1 but we
ended having to break trail on Loops ! & 2, slowed us down.
Yoyoed a couple of times at glade on SW part of Loop 2. Steep drop
thru open woods to Loop 3, glad to see some old ski tracks there.
Cut Loop 3 short by skiing down the powerline. Hilly terrain,
1,600' to 1,900' elevation. 15" dense snow, temp in mid 30s,
somewhat sticky & had to reapply Maxiglide a couple of times.
Billions of snow fleas (springtails) - don't remember ever seeing them in December before, usually a late winter phenomenon. 6.3 miles, 4.8 hours.
Dec 12 - THACHER STATE PARK from
Paint Mine Picnic Area. Parking lots well-plowed - no other
visitors before 10am. 15"-20" total, powder on crunchy base - very
good skiing, trails lightly broken out, lots of bent-over trees.
Steady uphill S & Long Path to Beaver Dam Rd. Blue trail is
flat near the road but expect some good hills away from the road.
W3 Trail then R on red with good downhill then L on LP/Nature Trail,
flat thru Knowles Flats then down to bridge. Wander off-trail a
bit to get best views of cascades & waterfalls on Mine Lot
Creek. 1.5 hours.
Dec 11 - MOHAWK RIVER STATE PARK from
Lock 7 boat launch in Niskayuna. The lagoon at the boat launch is
iced over (just in case you were thinking of paddling). A quickie
before work. Up to 10" of snow, thin under hemlocks, top snow is
nice powder but there is wet snow below; some wet spots & lots of
snow-laden overhanging branches. OK skiing on Bedspring Loop &
Lock View Ridge. 9" at Adirondack Paddle'n'Pole - higher amounts
of snow can be found in the Helderbergs & Catskills.
Dec 8 - BALM OF GILEAD MOU