Friday, September 4, 2009

Alander Mountain, Part 1

I was still sore and hobbling from Wednesday's hike up Mount Frissell but had only one more day of vacation left so on Friday, I hiked up Alander Mountain near Bash Bish Falls and Taconic State Park. It begins near the Mount Washington Reservation headquarters in Massachusetts. I left with Seamus and Fergus early in the morning so we could take our time and enjoy the views.

The trail begins in a field filled with lowbush blueberries and blackberries which have been kept mowed but continue to produce berries anyway. Here's the pooches at the beginning of the trail:

And past some of the biggest ferns I've ever seen in my life:

This hike was less rigorous than the previous one and, at least at the beginning, we had lots of reasonably level walking:

We crossed several lovely brooks at the beginning of the hike, one of which had a small waterfall:

Seamus got a drink of water and his feet cooled:

A hand hewed log with a railing gave us a bit of adventure. Seamus got nervous and his back legs slipped off the log - and then his front legs. He didn't fall into the creek, though. He just waited patiently for me to rescue him:

Here's the aforementioned infamous dog-eating log bridge. The brook was beautiful:

This was right near the waterfall, just downstream from the log bridge and close to an old stone foundation, presumably for an old mill:

We climbed gradually for miles and then came upon this old cabin. I used to think it was someone's old hunting camp but decided that it must have been the caretaker's cabin from back when there was a fire tower on Alander Mountain:

Now it's used for campers and hikers to sleep in. The dogs and I went inside to check it out:

Immediately after leaving the cabin, the trail ascends very steeply up a rock face to Alander Mountain. As we emerged from the scrub oak cover, this magnificent view unfolded:

Toward the south, the Taconic Mountains roll across the landscape:

Toward the west, New York's Columbia County farmland is beautiful. Toward the southwest, one can see the Catskill Mountains:

I found myself a flat rock on which to recline, but the two dogs decided the mountaintop was a grand place to run and play:

Both Seamus and Fergus ran back and forth across the ridge. Seamus soon got tired and slowed down but Fergus kept going full speed until he tripped over a rock and did a complete back flip. And even that only slowed him down momentarily:

I believe these are the Adirondack Mountains to the northwest:

Many scrub oaks on the top of the mountain, few of them tall enough to obscure the view:

The Taconic Mountain range looks soft and carpeted from a distance but is often rocky, steep and treacherous to hike:

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