Friday, March 16, 2012

Hiking - Pilot Knob Ridge Preserve

Yesterday was supposed to be mostly sunny in the afternoon, with highs in the 50s, so Holly and I planned to get out for a hike. We chose the Pilot Knob Ridge Preserve on the east side of Lake George, where there are nice views of the lake and a waterfall a mile back in the woods. A large house was once built here, adversely impacting the views for everyone below, but was subsequently torn down, leaving only a gazebo sitting in the clearing on the ridge. See the link above for the full story.

Arriving at the trailhead, a light rain was falling, completely contradicting every forecast we'd heard. After eating lunch in the car, the rain stopped, so we set off up the steep climb to the gazebo, 0.6 miles and 650 feet above. There's a very nice view of the lake from here for that small amount of effort, murky though it was on this day.

After a brief stop at the gazebo, we followed another trail up and down along an old road to the waterfall, a little over a mile each way. There were occasional sprinkles along the way, but nothing requiring raingear.

In terms of scale, that's another person in the center of the picture, part way up the falls.

Although the upper falls was the main attraction here, another cascade and a steep-walled gorge below the falls captured my attention.

Circling around and crossing the stream at the top of the falls, we headed back to the gazebo, where the skies were now intermittently clearing to the north. Instead of returning down via the short steep route, we followed the old driveway down several switchbacks and reconnected with the main trail a short distance from the car.

Once home, we were surprised to find that the distance we'd covered was 4.5 miles rather than the 3 we'd expected, and the elevation had been considerably more than we remembered from an earlier trip 7-8 years ago.

As we drove home, the skies darkened and the predicted afternoon thunderstorms began to roll in. It hadn't been a perfect day, but we were glad we'd squeezed in this hike instead of giving up on the weather earlier in the day.

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