Today, I led a ski trip for Schenectady ADK to Clapper Hollow State Forest, in southwestern Schoharie County. It seems like a faraway place, but with I-88, it only takes an hour to get there, and at over 2,100 feet in elevation, the snow can be superb.
Another group had skied here earlier in the week, and I had gathered some intelligence from them about trails that would be pre-broken for us. As it turned out, one of those people joined us today for a return trip. Our goal was a lean-to on a small pond, where we'd have lunch, check the time, and decide what to do next. Overall, we were only looking for 2-3 hours of skiing total for this early in everybody's season.
We left the cars, and skied trails 4-1-5-1-6, approaching the leanto from the north at about the 3.2-mile mark, where we stopped for a nice lunch break. Then came the real fun. One nice thing about this place is that the start of the day is a long uphill climb to a relatively flat hilltop, and then the run back to the cars is a long sweet mostly gentle downhill.
We retraced our tracks, but opted to skip #4 on the way out, to stay within the comfort zones of some present, and exited by the longer gentler #1 instead.
The trails here are all numbered and easy to follow, provided you have a map like the one above, available in the ECOS publication Ski and Snowshoe Tips, available at several local bookstores in the Capital District. It's also very easy to get turned around, especially without such a map.
The snow was great, and we had a good group, so this was a very enjoyable day. More playing in this ephemeral snow will surely follow in the days to come.