On 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
On 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. The trip out was all downhill and everybody was full of energy. Lily kept standing up in the backpack to see what was going on. When we got to the falls, the site of a recent Bear Grylls episode, we were a little disappointed. There was barely any water running over the falls and the pool below was showing the effects. We walked down to the streambed and I took some shots while the kids played by the water. We left to walk back up the path to the top of the falls as some others arrived. On the way back up we met more people coming down and two dogs. The dogs were friendly and the kids liked petting them. I decided we would try to hike up to the lake and see how the kids did on the long uphill. The trail curves back and forth but everyone seemed to be in good spirits as we ascended over 400 feet.
When we got to the lake, Bryce and Ariana were excited and I stopped to take some pictures. We walked to the left around the lake. I dropped down to several viewpoints to get some shots without trees or bushes in the way. As we started around the lake we came upon a Science Center. It was staffed and had interesting activities for the children. Kurt and I continued around the lake as I wanted to get as far as the gazebo. We stopped at several places to take pictures and actually walked a little farther than the gazebo. We did notice that the skies were getting dark so we headed back to the Science Center which was just closing for lunch. We began the trek back down the hill. Bryce was going strong and even Lily walked part of the way. Downhill was easier but our distance was creeping up around 3 miles. The parking areas near the lake were filling up as more and more people arrived on a beautiful day. Once we were back at the parking are, we got everyone ion the right vehicle and headed to the Brauhaus for lunch. We had to wait almost and hour for lunch but the staff provided some “toys” for the kids and served their meals first. Everyone had an enjoyable day and I must admit it was the best 3 miles I have hiked in a long time!
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!
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. After about 3 miles, I made a left on Treadlemire Road and drove just less than a mile to the parking area on the right. By 9:40 AM we were ready to hike and walked out the back of the parking area on a woods road. After a very short distance, we turned left and walked up a trail between two rocks with very interesting sedimentary layers. Within .3 miles we walked up a steep but short hill and arrived at the Cotton Hill lean-to. I looked for the “views to northern Schoharie County” as stated in the trail description but the trees blocked all the views and probably had for some time. I kicked myself for believing the trail descriptions which have proven to be wrong so many times!
After the lean-to, we started a descent and I realized that since we had started at the parking area at over 2000 feet the descent would be a long one. Of course, we would have to walk back up the hill at the end of the hike. We were following a nice combination of trail and woods roads and I was glad that the blazes were for the out part well placed and visible as there were numerous other paths and roads that crossed the trail. At 1.2 miles we hit what appeared to be a DEC access road which we followed out to Cotton Hill Road. The trail crossed the road and continued to descend briefly to a bridge across a stream. We had now descended over 700 feet from our starting point and had covered about 2 miles. We were now heading south but climbing on a woods road. Near the top of the hill at about 2.4 miles the trail turned off the road to the right and began an even steeper climb. It soon leveled off and then began to descend. At 2.7 miles we were on a woods road and made a sharp left before breaking out into an open area. Perhaps the highlight of the day was the PortaJon that was sitting out in the middle of nowhere! I was going to check inside but the sign indicated it was occupied. Even through this area the blazes were clear and we continued south. We continued to walk on the woods road along the western side of Canady Hill until about 3.5 miles where the trail turned sharply left and began a steep ascent. For some time I had noticed signs of active logging in the area and it was very noticeable on the ascent. The trail description said that we would “climb over the hill” which I took to mean over the summit but the trail took us well to the southwest of the top.
As we started to crest the hill I began to hear a series of dull thuds. Once we were over the top we began to descend on a woods road eventually coming to an open field. The “thuds” were now obviously gunfire most probably from a semiautomatic shotgun. The trail description talked about a “spectacular view” but there was no view. The gunfire continued and changed to the price of a high-powered rifle. I knew that his most likely came from a firing range but it was still making me nervous. I knew we were on private land and the situation reminded me that private landowners can do what they want with their own land! The trail leveled out and we were soon in an area that the trail description advised was “very wet”. They got this one right. Sheila and I found some high ground and the aqua blazes and we soon made it to Canady Hill Road. The gunfire continued and I consulted my GPS and cell phone to choose an alternate return route. We had just hiked 4 miles and had about 1.5 miles to go to our destination where we could turn around. I estimated that walking the roads to avoid the gunfire would be at least 9 miles and perhaps more. I put off the decision until later. I stowed my poles and put Sheila on her leash as we turned right on Canady Hill Road and then made a quick left on Lawton Hollow Road.
The road immediately descended and then started to ascend again. The trail description mentioned “views” to both the north and south but there were no views. I don’t know who writes these descriptions but they are not accurate. At 5.4 miles there was a gravel pit on the left with a few spaces for parking and just passed this a sign for the Albany County Line. We stopped briefly to get a drink and a snack and the turned around at 12:05 PM to begin our return trip. We walked back on Lawton Hollow Road to Canady Hill Road where we turned right. When we got to the point where we would have to turn onto the private land I listened and could hear no gunfire. I got out my poles, released Sheila and we crossed the half mile to the brow of Canady Hill in record time. Once we were over the top of the hill I breathed more easily. As we started down the steep descent back to the woods road, I heard the roar of approaching machinery which I assumed was a log skidder or truck. We continued our descent and never saw the source of the noise. We turned right on the woods road and started back toward Cotton Hill Road. This part of the hike was mostly downhill and we were at the road at 1:30 PM having covered 9 miles. I had thought about walking the roads from there back to the car but decided the shortest, most direct route was the best. We crossed the road and started our 1.5 mile ascent to the top of Cotton Hill. We passed the lean-to and started down the final bit of trail to the car when I began to hear gunfire again. We hurried down the woods road taking it all the way back to the parking area. I was glad to get back to the car at 2:25 PM having covered 11 miles in 4 hours and 45 minutes with a vertical gain along the way of 2360 feet. I* was disappointed that the trail description was 0 for 3 on views and that I had not had the opportunity to take any pictures.
On Friday, August 15th 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. At 2:00 AM the fire siren sounded and soon after that the ambulance pager went off. We were off to search and rescue a lost logger. When we arrived on the road closest to the logging area, I found out that the logger had been located by family and friends but no emergency personnel had made it to their location. I jumped into the first ATV/UTV with my medical equipment and we stared up the heavily rutted and very muddy logging road. Within less than a half mile the vehicle was stuck but at the same time we met the son of the logger who would lead me to his position. I grabbed my equipment and we started up the road. I was glad I had put on a hiking jacket and hiking boots and had brought along two different headlamps. As I followed the son up the road I stepped off into the woods several times since it was easier than walking on the logging road. The trail was all uphill but the son told me it was only a little more than a mile. We continued to hike and I knew we were well passed a mile. After taking a few turns we could hear the log skidder still running and we located the logger. He was lying on the ground and although his vital signs seemed good for his predicament he was in bad shape. A friend was with him and had started a fire/ I was able to use his cell phone to communicate with the control center. It seemed like hours before the a six-wheeled Polaris Ranger made it to the scene. The fire-fighters, another EMT and I backboarded the patient and put him in a Stokes basket for the trip down to the road. The driver of the ATV told me it was at least 3 miles and I believed him. The trip out seemed to take forever but the driver did a fantastic job under terrible road conditions. Several other ATVS had become stuck
and all but one had been cleared from the road. We transported the patient to our local hospital with the help of a paramedic unit. He was later transferred to a trauma center to better treat his serious injuries. We returned to base from the hospital and cleaned up the ambulance. I returned home at 6:45 AM and decided that I had hiked enough for one day!
On Thursday, August 14th I wanted to go back to Schoharie County and start the Long Path section from Middleburgh to the Albany County Line. I planned to park where I had ended the last hike in the Rotary Park in Middleburgh. Cindy and I had actually hiked a portion of this section when we walked along the Middleburgh Cliffs almost 5 years ago. The weather forecast was good with no rain in sight and temperatures only in the low 70′s. 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 and North Blenheim, By 9:30 Am I was pulling into the Rotary Park near the Route 30 bridge over Schoharie Creek. I got my equipment ready by stowing my poles and putting Sheila on her leash for the walk through the streets of Middleburgh to “The Cliffs”. We crossed the Route 30 bridge and turned right on Main Street (Route 145 east) and walked about .6 miles until Straub Lane appeared on the left. We turned left on Strain lane and continued to follow it until it became MT Path. We continued to follow the aqua blazes walking toward the ridge in front of us. The blazes led us behind the last house and up a faint road toward a shale pit and a steep bank. The trail continue up the steep bank and started to climb to the top of the cliffs. The blazes were very clear and the trail was cleared. Soon we were on a dirt trail that was still ascending to a rock outcrop. At this point there was a narrow passage between the rocks which required a big first step and then some upper body strength to get through the upper part of the passage. I was a little worried about Sheila but she found another way around, came down through the crack and then went back up! There was a nice viewpoint at the top so I stopped to take a few pictures of Middleburgh and Vromnas Nose. We continued to walk along the cliffs on a nice wide woods road which continued to ascend. We stopped several times so that I could take some pictures. The conditions were good and the plain laid out below impressive.
At about 2.2 miles we turned west and then north again as the blazes continued to follow ell-established wood roads. Other roads and paths crossed at different points but the blazes were always clear. After reaching a high point at 3.2 miles we turned from north to ESE onto a trail and off the woods road to descend to “The Gorge”. At some point I looked at my GPS unit and it was “frozen”. No button I pushed would work even the OFF switch so I removed the batteries. After replacing the batteries, the unit seemed to work fine but I had missed about .2 miles of the trail! We continued to descend eventually picking up another woods road and at 3.9 miles crossed “The Gorge”. There was a pretty good sized ravine but the stream was almost dry. At 4 miles we made a right turn on woods road and started toward the northeast. The description I had mentioned a “stump fence” and some farm machinery but I didn’t see them. We crossed Durfee Road at 4.8 miles and began a slight ascent. At 4.9 miles we made another right turn and started to walk southeast. Just after the 5 mile point we turned left on another woods road and found an old well on the right side of the trail. This was constructed in the 1930′s so that fire fighters could fill there “Indian tanks” from this water source. Around 5.5 miles we turned onto a trail which paralleled a streambed. We walked the trail through some hemlocks and passed a house on the right before coming to Treadlemire Road at 5.9 miles.
I had already decided to walk the roads back to Middleburgh but thought it would be a good idea to turn left on Treadlemire Road and walk to the parking area where I wanted to begin the last section of the hike. I gave Sheila a drink and got one myself along with a snack. We turned left and walked up the hill for about .5 miles until we got to the parking area. At this point it was 12:30 PM and we turned around and walked back down Treadlemire Road for .9 miles to Cotton Hill Road. Along the way we passed a pond and I decided to take a few shots as there were telephone poles in the middle of the pond. As I put my camera away, several ducks flew from the cover around the pond onto the water. Sheila was very good but I could see she wanted to jump in after them. When I took the leash to start back on the road, she strained a little bit to see if she could get to the edge of the water. We turned right on Cotton Hill Road and started our long downhill walk back to Route 145 into Middleburgh. The road was paved and we set a quick pace. There were several short climbs along the way but mostly the trip to Route 145 was 3 miles of descent totaling almost 1200 feet! At Route 145 we turned right and walked 1.1 miles back through Middleburgh to where my car was parked at the Rotary Park. We had covered 11.5 miles in 4 hours and 15 minutes with a total climb of 2370 feet. I decided to head into Schoharie which is only 5 miles away to visit the bookstore at the Old Stone Fort. The drive seemed to go very quickly and I was soon driving through the town but did not see the building I was seeking. I continued through the village and just as the road curved to the left I saw a sign for “The Stone Fort” straight ahead. I drove up the street, found the building and turned around to park in front. It was constructed as a Dutch Reformed Church and became one of three forts that helped protect colonists during the Revolutionary War. I found some books that I wanted but vowed to return with Cindy to tour the museum and the other six buildings.
On Monday, August 11th I wanted to go back to Schoharie County and finish the Long Path section from West Fulton to Middleburgh. I planned to park where I had ended the last hike in a small parking area on an access road at the northern end of Patri State Forest. Since I had walked out over the roads I knew they were passable and I knew right where the parking area was located. The weather forecast was good with no rain in sight but I was concerned since the temperatures were forecast to be in the 80′s and this section had some road walkong. I wanted to leave Livingston Manor early but somehow didn’t get started until about 8:30 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 and Grand Gorge. After passing through North Blenheim, I kept a watch for West Fulton Road on the left. I turned left on West Fulton Road and drove about 3 miles to the four corners in West Fulton. Continue reading
The forecast for the week of August 10th begins with a prediction of sunny skies with a few clouds for both Sunday and Monday. No rain is in the forecast and temperatures will be in the low 80′s. Thunderstorms are forecast to roll into the region on Tuesday afternoon and stay around through Wednesday with temperatures only in the low 70′s. The sun returns for the rest of the week with only a slight possibility of rain on Saturday afternoon. Temperatures will rise from the high 60′s on Thursday to the mid 70′s 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!
On Friday, August 8th I wanted to go back to Schoharie County and start the Long Path section from West Fulton to Middleburgh. I planned to park in the hamlet of West Fulton on Patria Road and hike to the small parking area on the state land off Snow Ridge Road. The weather forecast was good with no rain in sight. I wanted to leave Livingston Manor early but somehow didn’t get started until about 8:30 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 and Grand Gorge. Continue reading
On Tuesday, August 5th, Lisa, Cindy and I had planned to hike to the Rock Rift Fire Tower. I wrote down the exact latitude and longitude of the tower just in case we needed it. I also studied some maps and found the woods road and trail that was used for access to the tower. When the tower was planned the Conservation Department purchased a strip of land from Route 10 to near the top of Tower Mountain where they planned to erect the tower. On the maps the road seemed to be about .25 miles west of Fish Brook. Since our last trip to the tower, Rick Roberts and a finger Lakes Trail crew had constructed a trail to the tower using the old road and existing woods road. Continue reading