West Fulton to Old Cemetery Road

WestFultonOldCemeteryRdJul2014_05camera32gps_pictalltrailseverytrailcaltopomapmyhikeOn Wednesday, July 30th I wanted to go back to Schoharie County and complete the Long Path section from Doney Hollow to West Fulton. I had left off at Old Cemetery Road but starting there would mean driving on the state forest roads. The roads in the area seemed a little “primitive” so I planned to park in the hamlet of West Fulton and hike to where I had stopped and back. The weather forecast was so good but I had to be back for twilight track. 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 Barakaboom 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. I did not see the picnic area mentioned in the description so I turned right on Patria Road. After crossing the bridge, I turned around and parked on the side of the road where the Long Path turns left to go through a field. I let Sheila out of the car and put her on her leash, got my gear ready to go and started our hike at 10:05 AM. We walked back to the four corners and continued straight ahead on Sawyer Hollow Road. We walked along the road gaining some elevation as we went. At about 1.3 miles we passed a fishing access for Panther Creek and at 1.4 miles the Long Path turned left to descend through a field to Panther Creek. The grass had been mowed to form a wide path down to the creek. Once we got near the creek the trail turned to the right and I let Sheila off her leash and got out my poles. We walked along a rather muddy trail for about .1 miles and then crossed the creek on a bridge. The bridge was old but sturdy and built high enough above the creek that it must have withstood many storms.

WestFultonOldCemeteryRdJul2014_34We were walking through hardwood forest and soon began to climb and then climb steeply. The trail ran close to a small creek with a good volume of water. Over the next .72 miles we would gain 710 feet with the trail grade average over 17%. I could immediately hear that the water in the creek was flowing over some rocks by the sound it was making. I walked over to where I could see the stream, which is not even marked on some maps, and found that when I looked upstream I could see several cascades and waterfalls. We continued walking up the trail to the first water fall where I stopped to take some pictures. I had intended to hike this section of trail as fast as we could but I have a weakness for waterfalls. I soon lost count of the number of waterfalls and, although I did not stop at every one, the number of pictures that I took. It seemed that each one was nicer than the previous and if it wasn’t nicer it was different. Although the description I read mentioned these cascades they were much better in person than in words. As we neared the top of the climb and the last water fall, I stopped to take a few shots and found a stone structure in the streambed. I could see that a waterwheel had been mounted here. It was probably on overshot wheel that powered a gristmill. As we continued on the trail, we crossed Rossman Hill Road at 2.4 miles. On the other side of the road the trail became wet in places but soon I could see a pond up ahead. The trail continued to be wet and was a little indistinct but we made it to the shore of Looking Glass Pond without too much problem. There were two people fishing on the shore of the pond since it is accessible from Rossman Hill Road. We were 2.5 miles into the hike when we stopped so that I could take some pictures of the pond. The water level seemed low and the pond was surrounded by dead trees. We made a hard left and entered an evergreen forest.

WestFultonOldCemeteryRdJul2014_39A sign at Rossman Hill Road ahd indicated that the lean-to was about a mile from the road. We were headed that way over relatively level ground. There were still some muddy patches and some roots to step over but this piece of trail made for pretty easy travel. Shortly after the pond we came to a road marked as Morey Road on some maps and Old Cemetery Road on others. The trail continued almost straight ahead but we turned left to investigate the Rossman Hill Cemetery. The cemetery was overgrown with high grass but there was some evidence that someone had visited recently as the grass was matted down and several graves had flowers in vases. Many of the stones were too worn to read but the ones that were legible showed that no one had been buried in the cemetery since the late 1800’s. We walked a little further down the road since I wanted to see if I could locate the site of the Methodist Church which had been disbanded in 1930. The description was correct when it stated that no trace remained. we walked back to the Long Path to continue our hike. As we rounded a turn in the trail the lean-to was right before us. It seemed to be in good shape but I did not see a privy and the spring was further down the trail. I took a few shots and then we continued on toward our destination which was only .8 miles away in a straight line. Knowing trails seldom take the shortest route I wondered how much we would wander to get there.

WestFultonOldCemeteryRdJul2014_42After the lean-to the trail began to head south which annoyed me since I knew we needed to go southeast. It seemed to be following some of the woods roads in the state forest but then suddenly veered off to traverse some very wet and muddy ground. We passed through or walked along a number of stone walls some of which were quite high. Sheila decided to jump up on one to get a good look around so I took her picture. I checked my GPS to find that we seemed to be going too far south but then at 3.8 miles we turned east. The trail started to descend a little more steeply to a stream where there was no bridge. The water level was low and we easily crossed and climbed the far bank. Through the trees I could see a road. As we continued to descend and approached the road there was another cemetery. This one was smaller and probably older than the one on Rossman Hill. I could not clearly read any of the grave markers. To me these cemeteries are part of the history of the region but I find it sad that they are all but abandoned with no one to care or care for them. We walked down to the road and turned left to walk to where the trail entered the woods since I wanted to be sure we had made the connection with the hike from the previous day. At 12:10 PM about 4.3 miles into the hike, we turned around to retrace our route back to the car. I knew it should take less time as I did not intend to stop to investigate or take pictures and the trip back was more downhill. We set a good pace on the way back. As we passed the pond, the two people were still enjoying their day. Soon we were on the steep descent to Panther Creek. The noise of the water in the stream was so alluring I almost walk over to take a look. I resisted the temptation and by 1:10 Pm we had hiked 6.6 miles are were back at the bridge over Panther Creek. We walked along the edge of the creek and up through the field. I put my poles away and put Sheila on her leash. The road walk back seemed short and we were back at the car by 1:45 PM having hiked 8.2 miles in a little over 3.5 hours. The vertical gain was 1390 feet with 300 feet of this being the first road walk and 700 more feet coming on the ascent up Rossman Hill. I had thought I would also be able to hike from Creamery Road to Doney Hollow to connect two section of trail but it was a little too lake to accomplish this goal