Wednesday, February 25, 2009

XC Skiing - Featherstonehaugh State Forest

Next week I have another Schenectady ADK Full-Moon Snowshoe Outing on the calendar, so I needed to get out and take a look at the progress of the logging operation at Featherstonehaugh. The news is not good. The hashed area below is now impacted to some degree by downed trees, skid roads, and general mess. That lines up pretty well with the map of the two stands whose timber was sold, so that should be about the extent of the logged area.

I originally parked at the corner of Tidball and Lake, at the middle (P) on the map, to follow the unofficial "purple duct tape" trail into the ski trail. This quickly became less than desirable, so I went back to the car and drove up to the ski trail entrance at the SE corner of the forest. That entrance is now also fully involved in the logging operation as a secondary staging area. So, I next moved the car to the junction of Hardin Road, at the left center of the map, and skied in the loops on the other side of Lake Road to the road crossing. From there, I went both ways along the trail until I ran into more mess. With chainsaw and skidder noise in the near distance, I saw no point in continuing, so headed back out.

To make it "interesting", I decided to bushwhack through the trailless western part of the forest back to the car. I'd always wondered why no trails had been laid out in that area. Now I know. It's extremely thick and thorny, and was one hell of a nasty bushwhack, especially on skis. I finally popped out on Lake Road south of the car and skied north along it back to Hardin Road.

If we get a clear night next week, it looks like we'll be snowshoeing on the west side of the road. I'm officially finished with the torn up eastern half for this season.

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