Thursday, March 1, 2012

Part 1 - Beebe Hill On A Mild Sunday

It certainly had been a mild winter, and a recent Sunday dawned clear, bright and warmer than ever. I went to the gym and then decided that I absolutely had to get outdoors and do some hiking. But it was late, so I drove south to Austerlitz, New York for my favorite mini-hike of all, Beebe Hill. I parked the car and let the dogs out. The trail began alongside beautiful Barrett Pond, which still had a coating of ice:

There'd clearly been beavers harvesting small trees around the edges of Barrett Pond:

And the paths which the beavers used to drag their small trees down to the pond were also clearly seen. Daphne and Clover used one as a path to the water's edge:

I got very nervous when Clover ran out onto the ice. Daphne followed, slipping briefly into the open water near the shore:

But when 130 pound Seamus also ran out onto the ice, slipping and sliding, I called them all sternly back to dry land. I didn't know how much weight that ice could hold:

We started up the service road, passing by the turn-off to Turkey Hill and Harvey Mountain. But when I noticed a turn-off for the Upper Loop Horse Path (which would take us to the fire tower), I turned right and began the uphill slog. The dogs were still excited and running like happy fools. I had to holler now and then to keep them from getting too far away from me:

They're good about coming back when called, all excited and expecting praise and petting (which they get):

The trail appeared to have been an old dirt road and had ancient stone walls alongside it. We went up and up and up toward the fire tower. I saw a small pond off to the left which is brimming with Wood Frogs in the spring. I want to be sure to hike here again when the Wood Frogs are mating. It's a sight (and sound!) not to be missed!:

Daphne had gotten herself wet when she slipped into the icy waters of Barrett Pond, but was rapidly drying out in the sun. She and Clover were buddies, running and playing as we traversed the trail uphill toward the fire tower:

Being such a lovely Sunday afternoon, there were other people hiking Beebe Hill. But we never saw anyone on this part of the trail. We had it all to ourselves and it was lovely:

A Red Oak had fallen across the trail and been chainsawed into firewood sized pieces by the rangers. I called the dogs back and had them pose for a group photo. Heaven knows it isn't easy getting them to hold still as a group for more than a few seconds:

And then we continued our upward climb. There wasn't much slippery mud because this trail was so infrequently hiked. It looked liked I'd made a smart choice of trails. We'd already made it almost to the top since this was such a short hike. But I'll post more tomorrow:

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