Saturday, March 28, 2015

Abandoned Artist Cottage in Ballston Lake

Abandoned Artist Cottage in Ballston Lake

I have always been curious about this quaint little cottage visible from Lakehill Road and ventured close to get a better look.

I snapped a short movie of the now disheveled interior.  Such a shame -- it looked like such a classy little "cabin in the woods".

I next scooted up to the north of Ballston Lake and walked on out on the fishing pier. Although the lake was frozen, I gingerly stepped off the end of the pier and proved it was mushy and incapable of supporting me :-)

The Jim Tedisco Fitness Trail

I next drove up to Ballston Spa to hike the Rail Trail in Town. I have posted the short trek in my Rail Trails Blog >

More About the Artist and Cottage

Indian Kill - What Was I Thinking?

Indian Kill Nature Preserve 

I was up visiting my parents for a short weekend and had to get outdoors for a bit (cabin fever!). It was cloudy and gray and very unexpectedly snowing but I ventured out anyway...

It's a toss up whether I was brazenly courageous or a foolhardy idiot for this trek--in retrospect - it was INSANE!! Who would of thought this relatively easily park to hike in would be so ridiculously dangerous on this day?! Oh well - nothing like a good adventure to remember when I am in my rocking chair...

The Trek In

As mentioned, the weather was very crappy - cloudy, dull and dray with a light but constant snowfall.
 I took a short detour at the start and saw a tepee...
 And getting down these slippery steps were a little tricky,
 Once over the dam...
 ...scaling this climb looked easy but it was solid ice under a thin layer of snow so I took a couple tumbles before I learned my lesson!
 As always, the forest has it charms...

 Didn't venture down this trail but loved the view thru the trees...
After a seemingly long trek over often icy ups and downs, I arrived at this picturesque spot. I spoke to the folks who told me the last little trek down to the water's edge was way too icy to attempt unless I (1) slide on my butt; or (2) hike up over the next hill and wind my way down from the other side.
I decided to climb up and soon found myself at the back of the Woodlin Club but still needed to trek much further to find the easy descent back to the spot...
 So I just trekked back down how I came and watched the folks stumble and struggle to get out of the spot. It turned out it was a Boy Scout hike! We spend some time talking and I ventured close enough for this shot before heading back...

My Return
I took the route back closer to the river thinking it would be easier - one butt slide to descend to this trail wasn't too bad (so far!)

Super Short Video
The Red Trail turned into the Blue Trail and slowly got a little crazier due to the extremely slippery conditions. It didn't look that bad but right beyond the pine tree (see photo below) was another 10ft short ascent of sheer ice. Leaning way down and carefully holding on to stumps and trees got me thru that one...

 ...but the final challenge was soon to come.  An approximately 30ft ascent with roots here and there looked doable but I ended up having to slither up on my stomach and pull myself up by any root I could hold onto. The last stretch was the worse as there were no roots and only ice!! - I had to slither along inch by inch and felt at any moment I might slip and end up sliding down the whole ascent. Yikes - I kid you not - this was a toughphie!
Phew - I made it -- snowy clothes but no broken legs!
 What could get worse - How about getting lost in this blowdown!


I ended up at the back of the Sanatorium! Wow - I was always curious about this place so at least now I finally got my curiosity satisfied! It is a beautiful series of buildings.

All in all, quite an adventure for simple ol' Indian Kill. That was my morning adventure but I was still longing for more so I ventured out in the afternoon as well. Check out my afternoon trek(s) >

Further Info

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Snowshoeing at Wilton and Trumbull

Six inches of snow on the 2nd day of spring! Yikes! I went snowshoeing instead (altho' I was jonesin' to bike).

Wilton Woods

I went in from the north parking lot I and hiked on the Blue south to the Red. I got a little disoriented on the Red when I could no longer find the blazes and I ended up on the White. I came back via the Yellow.

Virgin Snow!
Looks like candy...
Bizzarre Tree "Wart"
On my return - the de-viginized view :-)
The sun was out now as well...

Trumbull (Pequonnock Valley)

After a Meatball Grinder for lunch at Giove's Pizza Kitchen, I parked at the Dog Park and snowshoed in on the Red. Once on the Red, there were ample signs that the Fat Bikes had already blazed the trails in the morning. The melt was already starting and the tread was getting mushy and water often dripped from the trees.

I snowshoed thru the Central Maze and came back via the Yellow  - the slab rock trail thru the hemlocks. I didn't see a soul except for one trail runner.
Fat Bikes preceded me...
Snow Berm!
Ther'es always a special vibe here! :-)

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Mianus - Bike It? Nope - Hike It

I finally got my full suspension bike back from the shop on Friday and I was jonesin' for a ride. The bike has been in the shop since August - before I went to Vermont!!!

I didn't expect much in the way of good riding but I thought the fire roads at Mianus would be decent.... WRONG!! It was ice melt and slush and a total bummer to ride. I lasted a couple of hundred feet and turned around.  I went for a hike instead.

I hiked the Treetops Loop (Riverwalk, Indian Rock and Laurel) and didn't encounter a soul until the last stretch out on the Fire Road. It was slippery but navigable but the cloudy grayness of the day made it a bit dull.  Fortunately, having a FitBit kept me motived :-) Steps... Get more Steps was the mantra for today...

Spring Melt - The River was flowing fast and hard...

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Bike and Hike - Snow Glow!

The weather was supposed to suck - Cloudy and Cold was the prediction but once again - luckily the weatherman was wrong! It was beautiful and "warmer than expected" and a great day to be out in the Park. The Valley is like church to me so a little spiritual uplift is always a good thing - the snow was aglow with sparking goodness .:-)

Mountain Biking

The trails were packed and super fun to ride. I ran it to Steve and Bill on the Blue (and later Mike B in the parking lot).

From Whitney, I rode the White and Blue south to the Serengeti but bailed after the Boardwalk/Bridge as the going got a little rough.
Rest Area - courtesy of the snow trail gnomes - Thank You! 
"John's Bridge"
Bike Stand
"Love Is Blue"


I took a break/interlude for lunch and drove up to Newtown to snap a few photos for my upcoming Railroad History Presentation and then came back and hiked in from the Daniels Farm lot. None of  these trails were "bike ready"... 
On the Red - the twisted trees remind me of Middle Earth along this section.
Where are the hobbits? :-)
Cliffside - Rt 25 Looking north
Half Selfie - Cliffside Looking south over Rt 25
The Descent to the stream on the Red sure looks a lot different with the thick blanket of snow!
Damn - Time for a new pair of hiking boots!