Weather for the week of August 31st

The forecast for the week of August 31st began with a call for rain and thunderstorms on Sunday for Livingston Manor which did not materialize. The storms did strike areas to the north and south. Monday and Tuesday may see passing showers and thunderstorms throughout the area but the weather pattern is very unstable. Temperatures will be in the low to mid 80′s. The forecast for Wednesday calls for clearing skies with slightly lower temperatures. Thursday and Friday appear to be mostly sunny with temperatures again increasing into the 80′s. Presently there is a possibility of afternoon thunderstorms on Saturday. Remember, the weather forecast is only a prediction and always contains percentages. Be prepared and have a plan for the most likely and least likely forecast! Are you prepared to stay out overnight on a trail? Conditions in the morning can change drastically by afternoon. Conditions at the trailhead do not always reflect the conditions on the peaks! Variable trail and weather conditions are a hallmark of these mountains. BE CAREFUL AND BE PREPARED!

Beaver Dam Road to Ryan Road

BeaverDamRdRyanRdAug2014_004camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Friday, August 29th I wanted to go back to Albany County to hike part of the Long Path section from East Berne to the northern end of Thacher Park. Cindy wanted to go with me so I decided to hike the section in the middle which traversed some of the more interesting sections of John Boyd Thacher State Park including the Indian Ladder Trail. My plan was to park on Beaver Dam Road at the southern boundary of the park and hike to the northern end of the Indian Ladder Trail and then return to the car. This would give me two easily accessible places to park to complete the last two sections of the “official” Long Path. By hiking this section it would cut out enough mileage that I felt I could complete the final two sections in one day. I had taken three days off from hiking as I had developed a rather large blood blister on my right heel but this seemed to be getting better and I was looking forward to the hike. I made a right and drove about 6 miles to East Berne and made a left onto Route 157A. In 2.5 miles I turned right on Braver Dam Road and drove about 1.3 miles to where the Long Path crossed the road at the southern boundary of Thacher Park just passed a gated woods road. I parked on the left side of the road where there was room for several cars. We took off our jackets as the day was sunny and getting warmer and got the rest of our gear ready. I decided not to bring poles as I intended to keep Shiela on her leash most of the day in the park. We were ready to hike by 10:45 AM and headed into the woods to the trail. Thacher Park has its own trail system and the Long Path is co-aligned with these trails. I had a park trail map and a trail description form the NYNJTC site so I was confident we would find our way. I also knew that the blazes in the park were in good shape and that they were probably all we would need. A blue trail parallels Beaver Dam Road and the aqua blazes indicate a left turn so we followed. I remembered walking on this open trail through the pines the last time I was at the park. Within a few hundred feet the trail turned right onto a woods road and continued to follow a series of woods roads downhill until about .9 miles where we made a sharp right turn.

BeaverDamRdRyanRdAug2014_040As we walked along the trail it became obvious to me that I had reversed the entire orientation of the park in my mind. I remember thinking the last time I was in the park that the spot we had parked was the farthest NORTHERN point. I don’t know how I did this but the feeling stuck with me. After the right turn, we were headed east and walking over a small hill. There were several streams along the way but they were almost dry. At 1.5 miles we made an almost 180 degree turn and started to walk north. We passed behind the maintenance sheds and near the Knowles Flats picnic area before crossing Thacher Park Road (Route 157) at 1.7 miles. After crossing the road we were at the overlook with incredible views to the north and east. What was even more incredible is that there were only two cars at the far end of the parking area. The day was mostly clear with blue skies and a few white clouds. There was some haze in the distance but Albany was clearly visible. Several vultures floated on the air current but Sheila was more interested in the pigeons walking on the grass on the other side of the fence! We stopped to take many pictures from different angles and different places as we walked along the lookout from one end to the other. It was clear to both of us that the pictures would be nice but that being there was priceless. We moved on and started to follow the well-packed trail along the edge of the escarpment. Sheila was doing well as I asked her to move aside as the few people we met walked passed. There were limited views through the bushes but we had already seen the best. We soon broke out into an open field near the Minelot parking area and continued along the escarpment to the southern end of the Indian Ladder Trail at about 2.3 miles. The walking had been so easy and the distance so short that we both decided we would continue to walk north to the next parking area near Ryan Road. We decided to leave the Indian Ladder Trail for the return trip.

BeaverDamRdRyanRdAug2014_046As we continued to walk along the edge of the escarpment, we continued to see the aqua blazes even though the park map indicated the Long Path follow the Indian Ladder Trail below. The Indian Ladder Trail closes in the early fall so it is the optional route. On our way north we crossed two streams. One had barely a trickle of water and the other was dry. This was disappointing as we knew this meant there would be no waterfalls on the trail below. We passed the northern end of the Indian Ladder Trail at 2.75 miles and continued to follow the blazes to a parking area and across the main entrance road and booth. When we got to the other side there was an open area and it was hard to spot where the blazes led. Cindy went right and I headed left and I soon found the blazes as the trail entered the trees. We were no on more of a trail than woods road but it was still easy to follow with only a few muddy spots. Along the way we could glimpse several more parking lots and picnic areas on the right and were impressed with how much space the park had to offer. At 3.1 miles we came out of the trees, walked along Hailes Cave Road and then re-entered the woods. At 3.4 miles we crossed an access road by a large pavilion and decided to walk out and across Hailes Cave Road. There was a nice picnic area here and some goods views but nothing we hadn’t seen before. I took a few shots and then we retraced our steps to the Long path to continue our hike. I had been allowing Sheila off her leash on the trail since no one else was hiking. We passed through a field and as we entered the woods the signs warned of fissures in the woods and on the trail ahead. I decided to put Sheila on her leash to be safe. The area around the park lies primarily on a limestone bedrock which is easily eroded by acid in the water. We did see several fissures along and across the trail but only one was very large.

BeaverDamRdRyanRdAug2014_065At 4 miles we made a right onto a woods road and passed from the state park into land owned by the Open Spaces Institute. To the left was a large open area with a woods road but we turned right. and began our steepest ascent of the day as the trail switchbacked up to the ridge. At 4.2 miles we made a sharp left following the blazes and at 4.35 miles came to the yellow blazed trail that led out to Ryan Road. I felt great! My foot wasn’t bothering me and I was willing to continue but Cindy wanted to turn around and that was OK with me. We had cut over 4 miles off of the remaining 11 miles which meant I could finish the remainder in two hikes in one day. We turned around at 12:45 PM and retraced our route back to the northern end of the Indian Ladder Trail where we turned left at 5.7 miles to take the lower trail. Sheila had no problem walking down the stairs and the trail was every bit as impressive as I remembered. We stopped to take pictures many times. The limestone is rich in Devonian fossils but I resisted the urge to disturb the limestone to find some. There were now more people on the trail but most were polite and we passed each other without problems. We stopped to inspect some of the “caves” and underground streams. When we got to Minelot Falls there was only a few drops of water coming over the escarpment. A little farther along there was an overhang where we had stopped with Sheba and I ahd taken a picture of Sheba and Cindy. We stopped there to take pictures of Sheila and Cindy and Cindy took some of me with Sheila. The moment was bittersweet for me as I still miss Sheba and am sure I always will. The rest of the hike went quickly as we did not stop much even as we passed through the overlook. We were back at the car by 2:45 PM having hiked 8.7 miles in just under 4 hours. We had 1610 vertical feet but there were no significant climbs. We had stopped for about 25 minutes for pictures although it seemed like more time than that.

Willsie Road to East Berne

WillsieRdEastBerneAug2014_01camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Monday, August 25th I wanted to go back to Albany County to finish the Long Path section from Switz Kill to East Berne. I planned to park where I had ended the last hike on Willsie Road. I had looked at the maps and knew that we could hike back on the roads to make a loop rather than and out and back. The weather forecast was good with no rain in sight and temperatures in the high 70′s. I left Livingston Manor just after 7:30 AM. I got Sheila in the car and we headed up the Beaverkill Road to the Barkaboom Road. At the end of the road I turned right on BWS 10 and took it to Route 28 in Margaretville. We turned right and then left to follow Route 30 through Margaretville, Roxbury, Grand Gorge and North Blenheim. In Middleburgh I turned right to head east on Route 145 to Cotton Hill Road just outside of town. I turned left on Cotton Hill Road and drove 8.3 miles to Route 443, the Helderburg Trail. I made a left and drove 1.3 miles to Switz Kill Road (CR-1) where I turned right and followed it 4.6 miles to Willise Road where I turned left. Continue reading

Gifford Hollow to Willsie Road

GiffordHollowWillsieRdAug2014_01camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Sunday, August 24th we had just finished a 9.2 mile hike from Fawn Lake to Gifford Hollow. It was only 1:30 PM when we finished and I decided to drive to the spot where we turned around at Gifford Hollow Road and Switz Kill Road to hike the first part of the next section of the Long Path. The drive was actually shorter than I thought and we were parked and ready to hike at 1:50 PM. We started by walking south on Switz Kill Road for about .7 miles. I was glad that the walk was uphill as I preferred the downhill at the end. We had started to walk so quickly that I had not let my GPS unit “find” us. The results was that the unit showed us wandering all over the place rather than following the road. I stopped and allowed it to get our position knowing that I would have to correct the track at home. We turned left onto Willsie Road which was flat momentarily and then began to climb gently up a hill. Continue reading

Fawn Lake to Gifford Hollow

FawnLakeGiffordHollowAug2014_04camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Sunday, August 24th I wanted to go back to Albany County to finish the Long Path section from the Albany County Line to the Switz Kill. I planned to park where I had ended the last hike at Fawn Lake which is rather remote. The weather forecast was good with no rain in sight and temperatures only in the 70′s. I left Livingston Manor just before 8:00 AM. I got Sheila in the car and we headed up the Beaverkill Road to the Barkaboom Road. At the end of the road I turned right on BWS 10 and took it to Route 28 in Margaretville. We turned right and then left to follow Route 30 through Margaretville, Roxbury, Grand Gorge and North Blenheim. In Middleburgh I turned right to head east on Route 145 to Huntersland Road just out side of town. I turned left on Huntersland Road and drove 5.5 miles and made a left on High Point Road. When High Point Road met Sickle Hill Road after 3.8 miles, I turned right and followed Sickle Hill Road for 1.6 miles to Fawn Lake Road. I turned right on Fawn Lake Road on drove to the parking lot at the end of the road near Fawn Lake. Continue reading

Weather for the week of August 24th

The forecast for the week of August 24th begins with a prediction for Sunday of clouds in the morning giving way to sunny skies. The forecast for the rest of the week shows fog in the mornings and partly sunny skies until Wednesday. Wednesday should be the hottest day with temperatures reaching into the high 80′s. From Thursday to Saturday look for sunny skies with temperatures in the low 70′s. Labor Day weekend looks good for picnics and parties with a possibility of a brief thunderstorm on Sunday and one in the late afternoon on Monday. Remember, the weather forecast is only a prediction and always contains percentages. Be prepared and have a plan for the most likely and least likely forecast! Are you prepared to stay out overnight on a trail? Conditions in the morning can change drastically by afternoon. Conditions at the trailhead do not always reflect the conditions on the peaks! Variable trail and weather conditions are a hallmark of these mountains. BE CAREFUL AND BE PREPARED!

Albany County Line to Fawn Lake

AlbanyLineFawnLakeAug2014_01camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Tuesday, August 19th I wanted to go back to Schoharie County and Albany County line to start the Long Path section from the Albany County Line to the Switz Kill. I planned to park where I had ended the last hike on Lawton Hollow Road near the shale pit on the county line. The weather forecast was good with no rain in sight and temperatures only in the low 70′s. I left Livingston Manor just before 7:30 AM. I got Sheila in the car and we headed up the Beaverkill Road to the Barkaboom Road. At the end of the road I turned right on BWS 10 and took it to Route 28 in Margaretville. We turned right and then left to follow Route 30 through Margaretville, Roxbury, Grand Gorge and North Blenheim. In Middleburgh I turned right to head east on Route 145 to Huntersland Road just out side of town. I turned left on Huntersland Road and drove 2.7 miles and made a left on Lawton Hollow Road. After driving 3.9 miles on Lawton Hollow Road, I pulled over to the left side of the road where there was a shale pit and room for several cars. Just passed this spot on the right was a “Welcome to Albany County” sign. Continue reading

Minnewaska Family Ramble

MinnewaskaAug2014_29camera32On Sunday, August 18th Cindy and I had planned to meet Kurt and Ariana to hike at Minnewaska State Park at 10:00 AM and then eat later at the Mountain Brauhaus. We left Livingston Manor at 9:00 AM and left behind a sad dog who always likes to hike. On the way we called Karl and Kathleen to see our grandson Luke was after his recent run-in with some furniture and subsequent stitches. We happened to mention that we were going to hike and Karl said that he would meet us with grandson Bryce, 3 years old, and granddaughter Lily, 16 months old. We met Kurt and Ariana and waited for Karl to arrive. Just after 11:00 AM we were parked at the lower parking area at Minnewaska and ready to hike. Karl had Lily in a backpack and the rest of us were walking. We walked out the access road and passed the gatehouse. Our destination was the bottom of Awosting Falls on the Peters Kill. Continue reading

Weather for the week of August 17th

The forecast for the week of August 17th begins with a prediction for Sunday of clouds in the morning giving way to sunny skies. Monday to Thursday show sunny skies with increasing humidity and temperatures in the mid-70′s. Thunderstorms may roll in Thursday afternoon and carry over to Friday. Some showers may be present on Saturday but sunny skies will predominate. Remember, the weather forecast is only a prediction and always contains percentages. Be prepared and have a plan for the most likely and least likely forecast! Are you prepared to stay out overnight on a trail? Conditions in the morning can change drastically by afternoon. Conditions at the trailhead do not always reflect the conditions on the peaks! Variable trail and weather conditions are a hallmark of these mountains. BE CAREFUL AND BE PREPARED!

Treadlemire Road to Albany County Line

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On Saturday, August 16th I wanted to go back to Schoharie County and finish the Long Path section from Middleburgh to the Albany County Line. I planned to park where I had ended the last hike on Treadlemire Road. I had planned to do this on Friday but spent most of the early morning searching for an rescuing an injured logger. The weather forecast was good with no rain in sight and temperatures only in the low 70′s. When I awoke in the morning it was 47 degrees in Livingston Manor with a heavy fog. I decided to go anyway although I wanted to have some decent conditions for photography since the trail description promised at least three “spectacular” viewpoints. I wanted to leave Livingston Manor early and did manage to get out before 8:00 AM. I got Sheila in the car and we headed up the Beaverkill Road to the Barkaboom Road. At the end of the road I turned right on BWS 10 and took it to Route 28 in Margaretville. We turned right and then left to follow Route 30 through Margaretville, Roxbury, Grand Gorge, North Blenheim and Middleburgh. Just over the Route 30 bridge in Middleburgh, I turned right on Route 145 and followed it to the other side of town where I turned left on Cotton Hill Road. Continue reading