Once again I felt I needed a short hike and a scenic view for the benefit of my mind and spirit. I'd been to Beebe Hill only this spring, but I happened to know that Harvey Mountain was very near to it and had the biggest patch of Lowbush Blueberries I'd ever seen in my life. And, I suspected, they'd be ripening right about now.
So I piled Seamus, Fergus, Daphne and Clover into the car and headed down to Columbia County. Soon after turning off of the highway, I stopped to snap this lovely scene from my car window:
These are the Taconic Mountains, and many of their hiking trails are exceedingly rugged and steep. Harvey Mountain (and Beebe Hill also) are notable exceptions. They are both easy and scenic. Still in my car, I could see more Taconic peaks just beyond the mountain pass:
I couldn't be sure, but I suspected that this friendly green giant was Harvey Mountain and we'd soon be up there eating blueberries:
It's only a few minutes from the highway to the trail head. Well, actually, I've discovered a service road which is much more pleasant than the designated trail. So I parked near the gravel road and headed up hill with the dogs:
There's a locked gate at the bottom of the hill, so a hiker doesn't need to worry about motorized vehicles. In fact, I've never seen another hiker on this trail, at least not until this hike. I passed a woman and her Labrador Retriever just as we began our hike:
So we began our ascent and the dogs were all excited, especially little Clover. She was once again running too far ahead and refusing to come when called. I could tell that this would be another learning experience for both her and me:
The walk up this service road is so smooth and pleasant that it's almost wrong to call it a hike. The scenery is beautiful, the bird songs are plentiful and the sunlight which penetrates down to the edges of the service road makes for lots of flowers in bloom:
I saw a new and bizarre fungus which looked like popcorn I made a very small attempt to identify it on the internet, but quickly decided to appreciate its beauty and just call it "Popcorn Fungus:"
Fergus' moods are changeable. He wants to run ahead sometimes, but other times only wants to tag along by my heels. At this point he was slightly ahead of me and moving at just the right speed:
The beginning of the hike is quite woodsy and in places the forest cover is quite dense. The dogs ran a bit, but mostly stayed on the open trail without much running off into the forest. For that I was very grateful:
And growing in shady places near the road were lots of ferns and mosses. This mossy patch was covered with fruiting bodies/spore capsules:
The dogs and I continued up Harvey Mountain. But our adventure was just beginning and I took lots of pictures, so I'll post more in the days to come: