Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Hiking - Fall colors at the Berry Pond Preserve

The Berry Pond Preserve, a property of the Lake George Land Conservancy, opened to the public in 2008, adjacent to the Village of Lake George Recreation Center Trails. There are two trails in this preserve, a blue trail that climbs steeply to an unnamed summit, and a red trail to Berry Pond itself. Today, Holly and I walked them both.

We wound our way through the Rec Center XC ski trails, following the blue markers to lead us on to the Preserve. This part was a bit confusing, mostly due to an over- or under-application of the two-markers-for-a-turn trail marking convention. Eventually, we entered the Preserve and climbed steeply to the ridge, where we found a spectacular view of Lake George below. This was a great lunch spot.

Continuing on to the second, south-facing, view nearby, looking into the sun muted the colors somewhat, but it was interesting nonetheless.

Leaving the summit, we descended down an old logging road to the junction of the Blue and Red trails near Berry Pond. Reaching the pond, there were eye-popping fall colors everywhere across the glassy surface.

As we walked the loop around the pond, there was evidence of beaver activity at every turn. We saw at least two lodges, and stumps everywhere. At the south end of the pond, there was also a small heron rookery, though we didn't see any actual herons today.

Now heading back to the car, we were amazed at how much we were descending along the red trail back to its eastern junction with the blue. Retracing our route along the blue trail, we noticed a waterfall we'd failed to see on the way in. There's a leanto at this location, facing the waterfall, a nice place for a break.

We returned to the car and tried to figure out a good ice cream stop. After two end-of-season-we're-closed failures, we wound up at Stewart's in Corinth on the way home. Later, totaling up the mileage and elevation, we had covered about 5.3 miles and almost 1,500 feet of climbing, convincing us we'd earned that ice cream stop.

This was a nice hike with a little bit of everything - views, fall colors, wildlife, and a waterfall. We'll probably be doing this one again.

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