I had some time off last week, which for me means fishing and hiking this time of year. Rain had swollen trout streams, which made it tough to find waters that were fishable. It was a slow week of fishing, with one good outing, one so-so outing and two bad ones. Summer heat and lot water as well as predation from merganser ducks has clearly still had an impact on wild trout populations on many of our local streams.
Thankfully the weekend weather was nice, so my wife and I could hit some trails. We try to find places where we won't be battling crowds, and over the past week or two have found some nice spots where we only saw a handful of other people.
We had a great sunset hike on Stewart's Ledge in Fort Ann, overlooking Lake George. It's an easy trail up and down, 20 minutes or so each way, about a mile, accessed from the Buck Mountain Trailhead off Pilot Knob road.
There is no marked trail, but a good herd path that many seem to know about. There was one other group there for what turned out to be a spectacular sunset overlooking the lake.
The day before we took a ride over to a Vermont state park known as Taconic Mountains Ramble, a former estate that was donated to the state in recent years. It has a nice network of easy and moderate trails with some great views of the Taconics and Adirondacks, little more than an hour east of Glens Falls.
The weekend before we took a trip to Redmond Overlook in Corinth, which is part of the town of Corinth's recreation network off county Route 10 around its reservoirs. We put about 5 miles into a walk around the property, getting lost at one point on the way down as excavation has seemed to break part of a trail along Hickok Brook.
All three are good hikes for those who have kids who want to tackle some trails.
On Monday we tried to take a trip to a Nature Conservancy property known as Helen Buckner Memorial Preserve just east of Whitehall, overlooking Lake Champlain. But the road to the trailhead along the Poultney River was cut off by flooding, so we turned around and decided to go to the Saddles State Forest in Whitehall instead.
The Saddles is a frustrating state-owned property. There is no marked trail, and a loop to the top that I followed years ago seems to have been obscured as an adjacent landowner put up posted signs.
Many who try to hike to the top follow an old four-wheeler/logging trail which leads off state land and then back on to Clear Pond, and you have to do some bushwhacking to make your way to the actual ledge views, or hope you stumble onto the herd path that at one point was part of a loop. The map on the DEC website says there is an information kiosk at the trailhead, but there is not.
Unfortunately, the black flies have been bad, and we are in that tough period where black fly and mosquito season overlaps. The Saddles trails are very wet and buggy, and I found a couple of ticks on me during the jaunt.
Deet and Grillo's Essentials kept them at bay for a while, but the little buggers always seem to find the spots that are missed.
-- Don Lehman