Mohawk Valley Alpiners Hiking Club

located in the Central Mohawk Valley of Upstate New York


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Wolf Pond Hike

Posted by kathy miles on August 13, 2018 at 11:50 AM Comments comments (0)

Event 1133

August 11, 2018

Wolf pond

11 members attending

The forecast three days earlier called for the day to be, I quote, "dull and dreary." Fortunately, as usual, it was well off the mark. We started out in a very comfortable mid 60's with cloud cover, but breaks of sun occasionally poked through. The trail was kind to our feet, being softer than the usual rocky Adirondack trail with lots of beautiful green mosses and ferns. The fungi were in evidence, with colors ranging from yellow to pink, purple, orange and even two chocolate brown ones with Indian pipes in white contrast. It was while looking at these a yelp erupted from the leader as a snake slithered across in front of her. We reached the lean-to which still looks new and pristine, checked out the view, had a snack, and then continued on the path to the best place to see the high peaks. We headed to the outlet of the pond, and one by one crossed the three logs that were much shakier then I remembered. On the other side a faint trail led to a place on the shore where we identified Redfield, Skylight, Marcy, Haystack, Basin, and Saddleback in the distance. We spent some time taking photos and just appreciating the view, then headed back to the lean-to for lunch and the Alpiner toast. On the way back, Kathy wondered whether there was more uphill on the way out or on the way in... Why does it always seem like it's uphill both ways? And as it turned out, the ascent was pretty evenly divided because of the rolling terrain. On the way home we encountered rain that with Alpiner luck had held off until the hike was well over.

Full Moon Paddle

Posted by kathy miles on August 3, 2018 at 9:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Event #1132

Northville’s Little Lake Moonlight Paddle

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Attended by 7 members and 5 guests

After a week of showers and clouds and an uncertain forecast, the stars were aligned (and even the moon) to give us a spectacular night for the annual full moon paddle. Although this is the fifth year for some of us, it is the second year as an official Mohawk Valley Alpiner’s event.

A picnic in Northville’s Waterfront Park was shared by most of the paddlers, with an added attraction of entertainment provided by Sacandaga Musical Theater who were performing songs from “On Broadway”, a musical revue. After fortifying ourselves with the delicious variety of food, we headed for the launch site by the spillway where a few more members of the group joined us. We began to decorate our boats creatively with various battery operated colored lights and even a blinking red spotlight which I think was supposed to be the patrol boat, keeping us in line. As the decorating was completed, we prepared to launch. Our youngest assistant paddler was 5 year old Asher, who kept Grandmother Sharon on a steady course. We had one guest who was on his first kayak adventure and I’m sure it won’t be his last (way to go Phil, it’s easier to learn in the dark). Glenn was anticipating his first full moon paddle. There was one large canoe, decorated with four sets of lights, which looked like a barge on the water after dark, a Hornbeck and the others were kayaks. A non-paddler who met up with us in the park volunteered to take pictures of us at the Water Street bridge at 9:00. We met her there and tried to get the boats in formation, which proved to not be easy.

We slowly headed back where we knew the moon would soon appear above the trees and to our surprise, Piper jumped ship in the middle of the lake, possibly to see if the boat next to hers had better treats. We cheered as the moon appeared on schedule, continuing to paddle and visit in the glow of it. Soon it was time to reluctantly head back to shore, not wanting to give up on this magical night but knowing some had a distance to travel to get home. We undecorated our boats, loaded them up and vowed to do it again next year. We are so blessed to have this calm little lake to paddle on.


Square Falls Shorty

Posted by kathy miles on July 22, 2018 at 3:25 PM Comments comments (0)

Wednesday, August 11, 2018

12 members and one guest attending

The 13 hikers set out on the “easy” trail to beautiful Square Falls for a picnic and a swim. To my surprise this trail has not be well used or maintained since I was there two years ago. We had several places where the group had to do a little bushwhacking on this hot muggy day.


Arriving at the falls some headed for a swim while others started with lunch. After our traditional toast we walked upstream a bit to to see if there was another falls.


We returned to the path and we walked out easily and stoped at another lovely swimming spot. The best part of the unmaintained trail we did not find any litter. Not a single Bud Light can!

North Lake & Ice Cave Mt.

Posted by kathy miles on July 14, 2018 at 10:05 AM Comments comments (0)

Ice Cave Mountain/North Lake Paddle

Event #1130

July 7, 2018

6 members attending

Ice Cave Mountain does not give up her secrets very easily. Regardless, 6 hearty Alpiners were willing to take on the challenge, to discover what her secrets are.

We parked our vehicles at one of the large parking areas on the J.P. Lewis Conservation Easement lands, and did a short portage/bushwhack down to North Lake. From there, we had a gentle paddle across the lake, spooking a duck or two, and into the bay of Ice Cave Creek. Once at the mouth of the creek, we landed our crafts, and pulled them to shore, tucking them amongst the tall weeds.

Next was a short bushwhack up along Ice Cave Creek, to where it meets the "Loop Road". We then followed the road up, roughly a mile and a half, to where the true "trail" to Ice Cave Mountain begins. Luckily, the temperatures overnight had been in the 40's, and that numbed the deer flies quite a bit (though they would shortly be awakening from their slumber).

Following the flagged herd path, we headed up the side of the mountain. Somewhat gentle at first, but then sharply increasing in slope. The trail itself isn't long, but the steepness more than makes up for it. Before long, the terrain evened out, meaning we had reached the flat plateau summit of the mountain. A short distance later, we were standing at the chasm and mouth of the main ice cave. We poked around a bit, looking down into the 50' - 60' drop of this gash at the top of the mountain, and ice could be seen at the very bottom.

Then we ventured on a side path, which led a little bit down the mountain, and over to a large balancing rock, that seemed to defy the laws of physics in how it stayed perched on the side of the mountain. Most of us agreed, that the rock itself was more spectacular than the "Ice Cave".

After a group photo in front of the main Ice Cave, and a bushwhack over to the side of the mountain to get a view to the West, we started back down the trail. About two-thirds of the way down, we ventured off trail, and did a bushwhack along a route that Pooniel and Scott had scoped out earlier in the week. About a half mile later, we arrived at what is called the "lower" ice cave, which is truly a cave that slices into the side of the mountain, at the base of some impressive rock cliffs. We sat in front of there, passing around snacks, and toasting with a communion of Vanilla and Regular Dr. Migillicuddy's, all the while enjoying the cool air conditioning emanating from deep within the Ice Cave.

Having gotten a bit of respite from our cooling off, we then marched back down to the lake via the same route we came up. The sun was beating down now, and the deer flies had come out in full force. Before we knew it though, we were back at the lake, and in our boats, where the breeze helped to keep them at bay.

We then paddled over to a small island, for a swim by some, and then paddled around the lake for about another hour. Since the day was starting to get late, and most all of us had a long drive home, we decided it best to call it a day.

Once we were on shore, as if to protest us leaving, two Loons began a strange ritual of beating the water with their wings and cruising up and down the lake in front of us. It was a strange, but very cool sight to behold.


Vrooman's Nose Shorty

Posted by kathy miles on June 26, 2018 at 10:00 AM Comments comments (0)


Wednesday June 20,2018

Shorty Event No. 117

14 members and 1 guest attending

Vromans Nose seems to be one of those hikes that has somewhat universal

appeal. The altitude gain offers a bit of a challenge ending with a spectacular

view of the Schoharie Valley. There is also the added interest of the historical

names and initials carved on the “Dance Floor”.

Our day was perfect with blue skies and a bit of a breeze. The temperature was

quite warm but not overbearing. We all made it to the summit to view e

Peregrine falcon in flight and a rather obnoxious drone searching for the nest.

Two NYS researchers were also on a quest for the falcons and perhaps took the

opportunity to discourage the drone controller after they finished their hike to

the summit.

We all enjoyed a delicious lunch at the Carrot Barn…..and picked up some

Special treats such as fresh asparagus and bread.


Stony Pond to Irishtown

Posted by kathy miles on June 21, 2018 at 8:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Stony Pond to Irishtown

Event 1128

June 16, 2018

5 members attending


What could be better than a walk in the woods with nice friends on a beautiful day? Answer: Adding a "tour by Marie" at the end! But that comes later...After spotting a car at Irishtown, we started our hike under partly cloudy skies and a comfortable temperature. We hadn't gone far when Marie suggested we take a side trip to the pond we could see from the trail. Later we found out the name is 29th Pond, and there was a canoe on shore that we decided was used to get to a small camp at the other end of the pond. When we reached Stony Pond, Jim was the first to spot the loon in the distance. After a dicey rock-hopping, tree-grabbing, log wobbling crossing of the only tricky spot, Lucy said that's why she likes through hikes. We wouldn't have to go over that again! But everyone made it with dry feet, and it was clear sailing from there, thanks to the hard work of six Foothillers who cleared the trail earlier in the week. We spotted two more loons as we skirted the shores of Little Sherman and then stopped for lunch at the informal campsite on Big Sherman Pond. Lady slippers were still in bloom, and we spotted some interesting fungi as well. Near the end of the hike we could hear Falls Brook cascading towards the big drop that results in an amazing waterfall. Thinking our adventure at an end, we piled into Marie's car to retrieve mine. But now that Marie held us captive she wanted to show us the Minerva town park and beach along the way. What a find! It's a well-kept little gem that we were all impressed with. The brand new Stewart's below North Creek was another revelation, and Marie steered us to the pictures of the huge rocks that had to be removed to prepare the site. Thanks to the Alpiners who made this day so enjoyable.


Huyck Preserve

Posted by kathy miles on June 15, 2018 at 9:05 PM Comments comments (0)

Alpiner Shorty hike at Huyck Preserve.June 14,2018.

3 members attending


After a hike to beautiful Rensselaerville Falls we decided the wind was too strong to launch our boats. So we explored the trails around Myosotis and Lincoln Ponds. Beautiful well maintained trails to marshes and varying types of forrest. Many stone walls outlining old farm fields.

The trail had three color ribbons marking the trail. We learned that there will be a trail run walk tomorrow and the ribbons mark different races.


We talked to some of the research staff and learned a little bit about the studies currently taking place. Spruce trees are wired to study how the tree knows to send extra nutrients to damaged parts of the tree. A young woman we met was researching endangered carrion beetles!


Great Swamp Conservancy hike

Posted by kathy miles on June 11, 2018 at 7:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

8 members and one guest attending

Great Swamp Conservancy Hike



It was a cool morning to start off and one of those hikes where you put on and took off layers multiple times throughout the day. We started out on the West side of the conservancy. The East side was a buzz with school children, so we left that side to them! The trail system is mostly flat and mowed, which makes for easy walking. Our first stop was at the heron rookery. While the trail to the rookery itself was closed due to nesting, we were able to get great views in several spots. There were many nests and we could see the herons in them. We didn’t see much in the way of other birds in the swamp area, but bluebirds and swallows occupied the multiple bluebird boxes along the trail system. We then headed for the woodland trail. Luckily we only had to maneuver around one large muddy area to get there; but as the true Alpiners we are, it didn’t stop us! The trail through the woods was nice and had benches along the way where you could stop and sit for a while if you chose. We headed back to the main conversancy building and sat in the sun at the picnic tables for our lunch break. After lunch we hit the East side trails. That trail system takes you by several small ponds on the way to the 900’ boardwalk. The boardwalk winds through a flooded area. Beautiful irises, ferns, sedges were abundant but what really amazed us were the maple trees growing in the flooded area. Generally they don’t survive in that type of environment, yet here they were. The flora in this area was quite stunning and we decided rather than continue on the loop we headed back down the boardwalk for another look. Our next stop was at the museum. The museum is small but has a nice collection of arrowheads found locally. Just being installed was a new exhibit - mammoth tusks. Very cool. The exhibit is on loan and will be there for about a year. We then headed for the Anne V. Pickard Wildlife Overlook which has a nice view of an extensive wetland. If you go, you need a good set of binoculars as this wetland is quite a distance from the overlook. Our final stop was at Zems Ice Crean stand. We Alpiners love our ice cream so it was the perfect end to a perfect hike


Pine Bush Preserve

Posted by kathy miles on May 24, 2018 at 11:00 AM Comments comments (0)

May 23 was a beautiful warm and breezy day - perfect for visiting the Albany Pine Bush Preserve. We headed into the Karner Barrens to hike 2 1/2 miles through pitch pine - scrub oak forest. Our first stop was the overlook dune to view the Helderberg escarpment. A stop at a pond rewarded some with Baltimore Oriole sightings. We saw several areas recently burned through land management. The endangered and protected Karner Blue butterflies were spotted. Their larva only eat the wild blue lupine. Many have been planted throughout the preserve. Several participants checked out the Discovery Center, which is small, but educational on the things that make the Pine Bush rare, significant and distinct.

7 Alpiners and 3 guests attending

Ithaca Waterfalls overnight trip

Posted by kathy miles on May 22, 2018 at 4:15 PM Comments comments (0)

May 16-17, 2018

11 members and 2 guests attending

After parking we walked a couple of blocks to the trail to Cascadilla Falls (nine waterfalls and many stairs). We hiked up to college town at Cornell for lunch. We went to the very popular Ithaca Bagel Shop. Good service in a place filled with college students. We saw students sitting in the gorge reading books. One girl had walked across the creek and hung her hammock. Next some of us checked out Ithaca Falls below the old Ithaca gun factory. We returned to Buttermilk Falls State Park where we hiked the gorge trail and returned on the rim trail, 1.5miles. Eleven beautiful falls, one after another. More stairs. We returned to the hotels. The downtown group had a hotel room party and later went to Moosewood Restaurant. As usual Sue had us in stitches. The other group had dinner at a steak house.

The next day after breakfast we met at Taughannock Falls State Park. The gorge trail was closed to remove loose rocks along the cliffs. We drove to the overlook and walked a portion of the rim trail above and both sides of the falls. From there we followed Barb and Jack on back roads to the Ithaca Beer Company tap room for lunch. We had a surprise; Laura’s brother stopped in for a visit.

Most of the group continued to Robert H. Treman State Park where we has a short hike to the beautiful Treman Falls, then drove to the upper park to hike to the overlook of Lucifer Falls. We headed home and some stopped for ice cream in Ithaca. The Kathys headed off to a winery.