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One in and one outside the Blue Line...

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  • One in and one outside the Blue Line...

    A recent theme of my hiking weekends has been one hike inside the blue line and one elsewhere. Here's the two short hikes I took this past weekend. I was still "resting" my foot but I went around ten miles between these two outings at a noticeably quicker pace that my last few hikes and suffered no ill effects. Looking good to stretch back out a little after Labor Day.

    Saturday 8/26 - Corinth Reservoir
    A short 45-mile drive from Albany is the Corinth Reservoir. It's just up the road a few miles from Spruce Mountain. There's a roomy trailhead just off Rte 10 and a nice network of trails to choose from. I did a clockwise loop starting up Old Town Road to the Bald Mountain Trail south to the Wilson Pass Trail to the red overlook trail to the Redmond's Overlook. Old Town road is wide, rough, and rocky with lots of loose stone but the rest of the trails are quite pleasant and very well marked. Along the Wilson Pass Trail you'll find some old growth trees that are just spectacular. From the trailhead to the overlook is around 850 feet of cumulative elevation gain and is a quick and easy hike. The view from the overlook is nice enough and worth the short climb. There's a frayed and faded American flag at the spot a few feet from the totally unnecessary cairn marking the overlook. On the descent I retraced my steps down the red trail then hooked back up with Old Town Road. Heading north on the road you come to the Wilson Farm historic site. It's basically the foundation of a small old farmhouse with a few rusted artifacts scattered about but worth the stop to step back in time and imagine some local history. I continued down Old Town Road back to the junction with the Bald Mountain Trail but this time went north which leads to the Corinth Reservoir. Very scenic little area. From the bridge/ spillway it's a only few minute walk back to the parking area. There are some other trails in the area as well and a beaver pond at the far edge of the property. I've seen dozens of beaver ponds over the years so I didn't feel the need to tack that onto my day. The trails I took were an easy 4.2 mile loop. I may go back this winter for snowshoeing in this area. It's such a quick drive from Albany that it's perfect for a short day out with just a little bit of climbing.

    Start here just off Rte 10...


    The very rocky Old Town Road. The rest of the trails are not ankle twisters like this...


    The two old growth trees along the Wilson Pass Trail. Sorry... they were too big to fit into frame...




    The tattered flag at Redmond's Overlook. Been seeing a lot of ratty old flags recently.


    View from Redmond's Overlook...


    Wilson Farm...


    Corinth Reservoir...




    These laminated signs marked the trails and roads at every junction...


  • #2
    Sunday 8/27 - Spruce Hill, MA
    I headed east out of Troy late Sunday morning for another 45-mile drive - this time to Spruce Hill just east of North Adams, Massachusetts. The trailhead is located on Rte 2 just about a mile past the hairpin turn. If you've never been in the area the hairpin turn is impossible to miss as a landmark. There's a scenic overlook and a restaurant right there. Anyway, Spruce Hill is part of the Hoosac Range and there's a very nice trail leading there. From the parking area it's a short climb to the ridgeline where you come to junction with two options: left "Via Sunset Rock" or right "Direct" to stay on the main trail. I went left and came to a viewpoint at a ledge that I assumed was Sunset Rock. The view was nice but just a prelude to what panoramas opened up later in the hike. Shortly after the ledge the two trails merge back together and I kept scanning the forest for the "vernal pool" that was labeled on the trail map but was unable to find it. I ran into a guy who hikes the trail regularly and he said the pools were all dried up. Oh well. Continuing on you come to a sign pointing left (east) to a "Vista" nearby. I walked the 75-100 yards down the herdpath to a sliver of a view through some trees. It was a waste of effort as there wasn't much to see. I returned to the main trail and continued south. About five minutes further along you have to walk under some utility lines spanning the trail about seven or eight feet off the ground. Not sure if they were power lines or phone lines but I was stunned by them being there at all whatever they were. Just a minute or so after that you reach a narrow clearing where some large power lines are located. Directly under this spot is where the Hoosac Tunnel makes it way through the mountain hundreds of feet below. About 0.15 miles past there you reach a spot along the trail with a grass clearing to your right. If you walk fifty or so yards along a faint herdpath into the clearing you are treated to an excellent view. I snapped some pics standing amid the dozens of jumping grasshoppers and pressed on. Another quarter mile later you've reach the summit. Oddly the trail to the summit which branches off the main trail is not marked. I turned off the main trail when I reached different markings on the trees and assumed I was now descending the south side of the mountain. Anyway, a hundred yards later or so and you are on the summit. Wow!! What a view! Commanding view of Mount Greylock, Fitch, and Williams across the valley as well as all of the surrounding mountains. About a 270* panorama. Just fantastic and well worth the hike. Having done almost no research on this hike I wasn't expecting the view. What a nice payoff. Snapped some pics, nibbled on some snacks, sipped some water, and went back the way I came. The descent was uneventful. The ridge line has some ups and downs so the cumulative ele gain for the hike was about 1050 feet over the 5.8 mile round trip. Knocked that off in about 2:15 total. It's easy going and can be done much faster if you really have a mind to.

    Great weekend out. Slept in both days and still got some hiking done. The weather was superb. No humidity and temps in the low 70's. What a lovely few days to be in the woods. I'm running low on these kind of hikes so back up into the heart of the Adirondacks soon.

    Trailhead on Rte 2...


    Only saw one of these on the trail. White & Red paint blazes on the trees marked the way instead...

    View from Sunset Rock...


    View from the vista. meh...


    Utility lines spanning the trail. Can anybody identify what they might be?


    View from the clearing before the summit...


    Summit...


    Panorama from summit of Spruce Hill...


    Closer view of Mt Greylock (left), Fitch (center), and Williams (right)...


    one last view from Spruce Hill...

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