On Thursday, July 24th I had planned to hike a section of the Long Path starting at Mine Kill Falls and heading north. After hiking the day before, I did not know if Cindy would feel like coming but she said she was interested so we decided to go. We wanted to get an early start but it always seems something interferes. After taking care of some issues, we were able to leave Livingston Manor just before 9:00 AM. headed to Roscoe on Route 17. From Roscoe we went north on Route 206 to the Pepacton reservoir and turned right when we got to the T at Route 30. We followed Route 30 to the Dunraven Bridge and then took BWS 10 to Route 28 near Margaretville. We turned right and then left to follow Route 30 through Margaretville, Roxbury and Grand Gorge. In about 6 miles we were at the entrance to Mine Kill Falls and turned right to park in the parking area. This was the first time we had been at these falls in the morning and I expected the light to be much better than in the afternoon. There were no other cars in the lot as we walked down the wooden stairs to the overlook platform. The light was coming from behind us as we took pictures of the falls under the bridge and the falls directly below us. The interesting patterns cut by the water overtime are probably better seen in person. We walked back up to the top of the stairs and then turned left to walk to the base of the falls. This part of the trail is also part of the Long Path. We walked to the plunge pool at the bottom of the falls and again had good lighting for pictures. As we started to photograph the sun came out from behind the clouds and was a little too bright. The amount of water going over the falls seemed small since I thought it would be augmented by the recent rain. After taking our pictures we walked back uphill to the car to begin the main part of the hike. We had already hiked .85 miles and spent about half an hour around the falls. The distances in the following description are minus the .85 miles we spent walking around the falls.
The Long Path has been rerouted to cross the Mine Kill on the Route 30 bridge as the crossing downstream proved to be unreliable. We walked out the entrance road for the park to Route 30 and turned right to cross the bridge. Just after the bridge the Long Path descended a steep bank on the right side of the road and I was sorry I had decided to leave my poles in the car. I let Sheila off her leash so that she could explore. The trail began to descend through some evergreens and paralleled the Mine Kill for about .5 miles. We hit a low point and the trail then started to turn ENE and away from the creek. We began to ascend gaining about 250 feet over the next .4 miles. We broke out of the woods at the main access road into the Mine Kill State Park. The Long Path continued along a path mowed in the grass and paralleled Route 30. The markings were pretty easy to follow. The park seems to be well-used and is installing a disk golf course to complement the pool, ball fields and courts. At 1.2 miles the Long Path turned right and headed downhill a little toward the soccer fields and picnic grove. We headed to the left toward a break in the trees which turned out to be a woods road where we turned left at 1.4 miles. The path was clearly labeled and blazed. Walking this path was easy on the feet and we soon came out of the trees to an open field with a series of cedar trees. The trees had been planted and protected by fencing to allow the deer to forage but not destroy the trees. The sun was out but a slight breeze was blowing. We walked slightly up hill through the field to the Visitor’s Center for the Blenheim-Gilboa Power Project. We were about 2.1 miles into the hike when we passed the solar array and windmill. We waked over to the flagpole and found a beautiful view down the Schoharie Valley and into the lower reservoir. Water is pumped from the lower to the upper reservoir during off peak hours. During high demand hours the water is released and turns turbines to generate power. From the flagpole we walked in back of the Visitor’s Center and then headed a little left to walk in front of Lansing Manor. I took some pictures before continuing on the Long Path heading north.
As we left Lansing Manor, the blazes became harder to spot but we soon saw that the idea was to walk around the edge of the “lawns” to a break in the woods. There were paint blazes but we had to really strain to see them. At 2.6 miles we entered the woods and the trail changed dramatically. The Long Path began to drop dramatically and it was obvious the trail was not much used or maintained. At 2.8 miles we began to fight our way through weeds and briars to a microwave tower. Just passed this point there was a nice lookout to the dam on the reservoir. I stopped to take a few more pictures before continuing the descent through the woods. I guess the blazes were clear enough as we found our way without too much problem. At 3.45 miles we came to the New York Power Authority North Access Road where there was a small parking area. I had thought we might turn around here or walk the road out to route 30. I consulted my GPS and found it was only a short distance on the trail to Route 30 and I suggested we hike the trail to the road and then use the road to return at least part way. We crossed the road and headed to the left. Soon we could see the blazes that indicated we should cross the road and head down another steep bank as the trail neared Schoharie Creek again. There was a jumble of weeds and vines but these had been cut back and we were soon very near the creek. We walked about .4 miles with the trail sandwiched between the road and the creek. At 3.9 miles the Long Path climbed to the road on a set of stairs. We turned right at the top and walked the outside of the guard1rail until we got to Route 30 where we turned left to walk the shoulder.
What was not completely clear from the GPS was that Route 30 ascends from the North Access Road almost all the way to Lansing Manor. We were now also completely exposed to the sun. Sheila actually walks very nicely on her leash and gives me a slight pull up the hills. As we approached Lansing Manor, I suggested we walk down to the trail and follow it over to Mine Kill State Park so that we could avoid the traffic on Route 30. As we turned into Lansing Manor, we had been hiking uphill for about 1.6 miles. We turned left to walk down the entrance road to the trail about 5.7 miles into the hike. Cindy took a brief rest on a bench under the trees while we got and drink and while I took some pictures of the geese on a small pond. After the break we headed back to the trail that we had used earlier in the morning to get back to Mine Kill. At the park we walked out passed the pool to the main entrance road to Route 30. We turned left on Route 30 and hiked the last .7 miles back to the car. We arrived back in the parking area at a few minutes after 2:00 PM. We had hiked a total of ,8.8 miles in 4 hours with a verbal gain of 1460 feet.