Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Hiking - Three Hikes in One

This morning Holly and I set out to hike Mount Everett, in Massachusetts, and Beebe Hill, a small New York fire tower summit on the way home from Everett. We wound up adding a short side trip to Sunset Rock, an overlook of the Hoosic Valley, just on the New York Side of the border. All told, we hiked about 5-6 miles for the total of the three destinations.

Mount Everett, MA
Mount Everett State Reservation is only about 90 minutes from home, and includes Mount Everett and a small picnic area adjacent to trails around Guilder Pond. The hike up Mount Everett is only about 0.75 miles each way from the parking area, following a piece of the Appalachian Trail. It was a fairly hazy morning once the fog lifted, and the views were in many directions, but not as good as they would have been on a clearer day. We could see Washining Lake in Connecticut, about 10 miles to the southeast.

Back at the car, we ate lunch in the picnic area next to Guilder Pond before continuing on to Beebe Hill.

Sunset Rock
Having seen the trailhead sign for Sunset Rock on our way up and over the Taconic Ridge into Massachusetts, and the mileage shown being only 0.6 miles each way with very little climbing, we decided to give it a try on the way back to New York. It was a short walk on the South Taconic Trail, a very narrow footpath that was sometimes like walking through a tunnel of vegetation.

The rock is on the west side of the ridge, and the view is to the west (duh!), but still pretty hazy and not all that spectacular, since it was midday, not sunset. We headed back to the car to continue on to Beebe Hill, about 12 miles to the north.

Beebe Hill
Beebe Hill State Forest is near Austerlitz, NY, and still has a fire tower from the days when these were still used for fire detection and suppression. Today, the tower still stands, and the summit buildings are all maintained by a group of local volunteers. It's a very attractive summit, and the fire tower provides a 360-degree view of the surrounding hills.

From the tower, we could barely see the buildings of downtown Albany in the distance, about 25 miles to the west. On a clearer day, views here would be superb, and it was only about a 1-mile climb. We'll definitely keep this one in mind, since it's only about an hour from home.

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