Saturday, January 9, 2010

Hiking - Taconic Crest Trail

Today, I led a snowshoe hike on the Taconic Crest Trail for the Schenectady Chapter of ADK. We were expecting a day that was cold (which we got - low teens), high winds and extreme windchills (which weren't as bad as advertised), and 16-20 inches of unbroken snow (there was only 10-15"). We covered 5.34 miles beginning on the Tower Mountain Road access, and ending at Potter Mountain Road to the north. We started out cold, but the nearly 600-foot climb to the ridge warmed us up in a hurry.

Along the way, skies cleared as we approached the Berry Pond Recreation Area atop the ridge in Massachusetts.

It was windy and exposed here, so we didn't linger long. We were now above a well-defined new snow level visible on the trees below and around the pond.

Leaving Berry Pond, we were passed by several dozen snowshoe racers participating in a 5-mile race on a portion of the TCT. Some were much slower (and older and larger) than others. At the point where their route diverged from ours, we ate a quick standup lunch and continued on.

The sky was growing clearer by the minute, and the contrast of white snow-encrusted trees against the deep blue sky was striking at times.

As we turned northeast along the final ridge, the winds began to increase, and we were glad to be finishing early before they got any worse. We reached the pre-spotted car after about 4.5 hours on the trail, and stopped at a Stewart's shop on the way home for refreshments after a beautiful day outside.

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