Sunday, September 18, 2022

Adirondack Park - Auger Falls and Kane Mountain Trails, Northampton Beach Campground and Southern Adirondacks Base Camp/Balsam Inn (New York)

Adirondack Park is a huge 6.1 million acre park in upstate New York managed by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.  52% of the land within park boundaries is privately owned and 102 towns and villages intersperse the park.   

My oldest and I tent camped Friday night at Northampton Beach Campground, a large (223 sites) campground adjacent to 29 mile long Great Sacandaga Lake.   This was a nice campground but unfortunately our visit was marred by loud and intoxicated neighbors that stayed up past 2 am playing music and shouting.  We originally planned on staying there Saturday night as well but made different plans through HipCamp after Friday's incident.

After setting up camp, we hiked the nearby 1.3 mile Auger Falls Trail.  The trail runs along the Sacandaga River as it descends through a narrow gorge.  This was a beautiful hike on well maintained trails and we saw only a handful of people on the trail.

We spent most of Saturday with family from Albany and then moved to our new campground, the Southern Adirondacks Base Camp.  I found the location on HipCamp and was glad that I did.   The site is located behind the historic Balsam Inn in the town of Arietta and consists of an open field adjacent to woods.  There are tables and chairs, a shower, a sink for washing dishes, indoor bathrooms, a large fire pit, and WiFi.
The owner of the property was incredibly helpful and accommodating, and gave us a tour of the inn and pub while we were there.   Given our lack of sleep the night before, I decided to forego camping for the night and instead upgraded to a room in the inn for each of us.  

The Balsam Inn is located above the pub, but the rooms are well insulated from the noise of the pub.   Once the pub closed it was completely silent through the night.  Each of the rooms is tastefully decorated and have extremely comfortable beds.   There is a shared bath and a well stocked continental breakfast is provided.   I highly recommend both the campground and inn if you are in the area.
Sunday morning we hiked Kane Mountain, a 1.6 mile round trip hike through woodlands up to a fire tower with expansive views.  

Overall this was a great trip. My only regret was not having more time to explore the area around the Balsam Inn as there were many trails in the area.  We are both looking forward to returning to this area in the future. 

Friday, September 16, 2022

Green Mountain National Forest, Vermont (Winhall Brook Campground, Grout Pond Loop Trail, and Branch Pond Trail)

I left work on Thursday and drove to Winhall Brook Campground in Vermont.  I'm spending the weekend in upstate New York with family and left a day early to break up the long drive. 

Winhall Brook is managed by the Army Corps of Engineers and is an excellent campground.  This is the second time I've stayed here, although this trip I arrived after dark and left before daylight.  

I woke early Friday and headed to the Grout Pond Recreation Area in the Green Mountain National Forest, arriving in time to watch the sunrise.  I hiked the 2.7 mile Pond Loop Trail, spotting a moose in the southeast corner of the pond.  Here is a video of the moose.

I then hiked the 1.75 mile Branch Pond Trail in the Lye Brook Wilderness before heading to New York.  

Sunday, September 11, 2022

Trenton Community Trail (Trenton)

I solo hiked the 2.75 mile Trenton Community Trail this afternoon.   I had the preserve to myself despite the nice weather. 

Katahdin Stream Falls and Daicey Pond Campground (Baxter State Park)

This weekend marked the 3rd year in a row that friends and I helped to coordinate and support my workplace's annual Katahdin hike at Baxter State Park.

We spent Friday night cabin glamping at Daicey Pond in Baxter State Park.  Our rustic cabin slept four on single beds in two separate rooms.  There was a pit toilet nearby and no electricity or water.  Being in the park and the views of Katahdin from Daicey Pond made it well worth it.  

On Saturday morning we hiked to Katahdin Stream Falls along the Hunt Trail with the group that was summiting.  We bid them fair well at the bridge and headed back to Katahdin Stream Campground (we had rented a site for Saturday night for the group to celebrate their accomplishment and eat dinner.) 

Later that afternoon I ventured back up the trail to provide "last mile" support to the returning hikers in the form of water, Gatorade and snacks.  Here is a map of my where both of hikes were. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Lake Wood and Fawn Pond (Acadia National Park)

Recently I came across an excellent blog about abandoned trails in Acadia and decided to explore such a trail after work today.

Lake Wood is not exactly abandoned; the park includes it on it's website as a place to swim in the park and it has a parking lot and relatively clean pit toilet.   Most park maps do not highlight the pond, however, and there is no mention of trails in the area.  

The excellent Avenza mapping app was useful as it provides historical topographic maps among it's collection of maps.  A 1942 USGS map clearly shows a trail in this area leading to Fawn Pond.  
From the parking lot I followed a carriage road sized gravel path to the beach at Lake Wood.  I continued past the beach to a well worn but unmarked trail following the pond's shoreline.  
The trail led to a rock ledge overlooking the pond.   Past that point the trail became narrower and appeared less traveled but was still easy to follow.  The trail then met with a wider trail leading away from Lake Wood towards Fawn Pond.  
I arrived at Fawn Pond a short while later and was amazed at how peaceful and quiet it was.  I spent a few minutes watching a beaver swim around.  I would have loved to spend more time there but darkness was setting in.

The total roundtrip hiking distance was 1.6 miles.  

Saturday, September 3, 2022

Hancock County Camping and Hiking Trip (Lamoine State Park, Simon Trail Preserve and Blue Horizons Preserve)

My son and I did an overnight camping trip at Lamoine State Park, during which I hiked while he climbed at Volta Climbing Gym.   

Simon Trail Preserve (Lamoine)

The Simon Trail is a 1.2 mile long trail on 70 acres of land protected by easement by the Frenchman's Bay Conservancy.  

I visited the Simon Trail Friday after dropping my son off at Volta.  This was a nice, relatively easy walk through a pine forest blanketed with ferns and mosses.  I was the only person at the preserve.

Lamoine State Park

Lamoine State Park is a 55 acre oceanfront park offering camping, fishing and a boat ramp. The park is a short distance from Mount Desert Island.

After hiking and climbing we set up camp at the park.  We had a quiet night with good weather.  

Blue Horizons Preserve (Mount Desert Island)

Located on the western side of Mount Desert Island, the Maine Coast Heritage Trust's 82-acre Blue Horizons Preserve features small meadows surrounded by a maturing spruce forest and bordered with a sweeping cobble beach. 

This was a beautiful 1.5 mile hike and again I had the preserve to myself Saturday morning.  To be able to hike two locations near Acadia on Labor Day weekend without seeing another person was amazing.   


Saturday, August 27, 2022

Turtle Ridge Loop Trail, Nahmakanta Public Lands (North Maine Woods)

Southwest of Baxter State Park within the North Maine Woods lies the 43,000 acre Namakanta Public Lands.   The remote preserve features miles of forested hiking trails, secluded lakes with undeveloped shorelines, and low mountains that provide views of Katahdin, Baxter and the surrounding forests.  

I hiked 6 miles of the Turtle Ridge Loop Trail today.  The trail climbs steadily with several rock outcroppings overlooking Baxter.  It then drops and passes within view of Henderson Pond.   It descends to Hedgehog Pond, where the option exists to extend the hike past Sing Sing Pond and up Turtle Ridge.  Due to time constraints I elected instead to circle back and complete the remaining 1.1 mile as it passed Rabbit Pond.   

This is a beautiful hike through a variety of habitats.  There was extensive evidence of bear and moose on the trail, and I saw a very large moose on Jo Mary Road while driving to the trailhead.

The only downside to hike was having to pay $11 per person to enter the North Maine Woods, but it was definitely worth it.