Saturday, January 3, 2009

XC Skiing, Snowshoeing - Featherstonehaugh State Forest

In the coming week, I'll be leading one of my moonlight snowshoe trips in Featherstonehaugh SF for Schenectady ADK. There's going to be some logging in the forest this winter, so I needed to scout it out and see if this trip can still be run. On the map below, ski trails are in yellow and the snowmobile trail is in pink.

First, we drove up Tidball Road to the site of the skidder landing for the cut timber (the eastern "B" on the map). A NYSDEC Forest Ranger was just getting ready to head into the woods and check out the operation, so we chatted for a few minutes. She told me the logging had started about a week ago, and some large logs could already be seen piled next to the road at the skidder landing site. We decided to first go across Lake Road to the other section of the forest and ski those trails, then come back and snowshoe around the portion to be logged and determine the feasibility of next week's trip. That area includes everything to the east of a line from the upper "P" south to the boundary line, and includes most of the main ski loop.

The trails across Lake Road were covered with about 10-12" of unbroken powder, and it was a tough slog breaking trail all the way around those loops. Even the mild downhills were slow. After about 45 minutes, we decided to head back to the logging area and explore it on snowshoes.

We bushwhacked in from the parking area ("P" at the right of the map) to the main ski trail, following an unofficial trail of purple duct tape on trees. Many other people were out either skiing or snowshoeing in this section, and the main ski trails were well-broken. We only came across one trace of logging, and that was because we had stumbled on the main skid road, near where it met the ski trail. We headed north alongside the ski trail from there, then bushwhacked back east to the snowmobile trail and the car at a point where the trail turns west and crosses a wet area. We saw no other evidence of logging in this whole section, aside from the fact that many trees were marked with paint to be cut.

Looks like next week's trip is a go. If logging has progressed, we can always go across Lake Road to the other trails if necessary. Now all we need is a clear night...

No comments:

Post a Comment