Monday, March 16, 2009

Hiking, Snowshoeing - Taconic Crest Trail

Today was a twice-rescheduled Schenectady ADK hike on another section of the Taconic Crest Trail, in pursuit of the winter patch offered by the Taconic Hiking Club. The section we did today was about 7 miles long, with 1859' of cumulative elevation gain, and over 2500' of cumulative elevation loss. We started atop the ridge at Petersburg Pass, and headed south to descend via the Southeast Hollow Access Trail, where we had pre-positioned a car. Along the way, we would cross 2 major summits and numerous other "bumps" along the ridge. There was still close to a foot of snow on the northern slopes, while other areas had no snow at all. It was a beautiful sunny day in the 50s.

Our first stop was Mount Raimer, former site of the Taconic Trails Ski Area, long since closed. Details about that area and many others are available at the New England Lost Ski Areas Project web site. Remnants of the old ski lift and trails are still visible, and there's a nice view toward the northern Taconics.

Descending one of the old ski trails, we headed for Berlin Pass.

Just before reaching the pass, there's a nice view of Berlin Mountain across the pass. That would be our lunch stop.

The summit of Berlin Mountain once had a fire tower, and is now a wide open meadow with near-360-degree views. At 2798', it's the highest point on the trail and also in Rensselaer County, NY. To the east is the massive ridge of Mount Greylock (3491'), the highest point in the state of Massachusetts.

Leaving Berlin Mountain, the trail crosses to the Massachusetts side of the ridge, and remains there until the descent into Southeast Hollow, back on the New York side. The trail passes through a dense pine forest and crosses several more "bumps" before reaching that descent.

The descent drops almost 900' in under 2 miles, following a stream down the Hollow. It had been a long day, and we were all happy to see the car.

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