Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Hiking, Ski Trail Scouting, and 3 (of 5) Geocaches - Tibbits State Forest

Today was another nice November day, so Holly and I headed off to Tibbits State Forest, in Rensselaer County, to walk a 4-mile loop there and evaluate its suitability for cross-country skiing. It's listed in the Ski Tips booklet, published by ECOS, that I'm helping to revise, and though we'd walked there before, we weren't looking at it from a skier's point of view. There are also nearly 20 geocaches scattered throughout this forest, so we picked a few of those to look for as well. We oranged up really well, though deer season doesn't open until Saturday, and set off to explore this place.

First, the trails. There are two old roads that diverge from the parking area, both marked with red markers. At their farthest point, a blue-marked "foot-traffic only" trail connects their two ends, forming a loop. We hiked the loop clockwise, and the more southeasterly of the two roads was perfectly skiable, though a long gentle uphill slog. The blue hiking trail, though narrow and winding, with a few hills, would mostly be skiable by an intermediate skier. But then we came to a drop off the ridge that would be difficult in this direction for even an expert skier. Soon after that, we met the end of the other red-marked road, and the next bit of that was also a very steep downhill. Once it leveled out, the rest of the way back to the car would be a very nice ski. I plan to try skiing this in the opposite direction this winter, skiing UP the steepest parts, and then gliding down the more gentle easterly road. Stay tuned here for details of that adventure as winter sets in.

Along the way, we managed to find 3 of the 5 geocaches that we looked for. I'm tempted to say the other two were missing, and some other reports at lend credence to that belief for these two caches.

It was yet another nice day to be out in the woods.

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