Lake George

Lake George
Lake George - from Tongue Mtn Range - 11/11/2011

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Pilot Knob Preserve - 9/27/11

The days are getting shorter now, and it's getting harder to squeeze in an outdoor activity on a week night before it gets dark.  On Monday night, I was in Fort Ann, NY at my trailhead at 6 PM.  This trail was the Pilot Knob Preserve, owned and maintained by the Lake George Land Conservancy (LGLC).  In case you haven't heard of the LGLC, they own a number of magnificent properties in the Lake George area.  Be sure to visit their website for full trail descriptions and maps.

There were two cars in the parking lot when I arrived.  It was somewhat overcast, so I knew there wasn't going to be a nice sunset, but sometimes the cloud formations are just as interesting to watch at dusk.  I had grabbed my gear from the house for a short trail run.  This included a small rear pack with water, a granola bar, my GPS, a headlamp, extra batteries and my car keys.  The Pilot Knob trails feature a gazebo on a high grassy plateau overlooking Lake George and a cascading waterfall further back in the woods.

Looking Sw towards Assembly Point and Lake George Village

The official name of the preserve is the Lynn LaMontagne Schumann Preserve at Pilot Knob and it contains 223 acres.  The blue trail starts at the trailhead at an approximate elevation of 370'.  The trail rises fairly steeply on a somewhat rocky trail for just over a half mile to a clearing and gazebo at about 1000 feet.  From here, there is an outstanding view westward and south and north from Lake George village past Bolton Landing and up through the Tongue Mountain range.  Assembly Point, Cleverdale and Long Island are clearly visible below.  This would be a great short climb to see a fantastic sunset on the right night.  The gazebo has a built-in sitting bench and a "deck" extending from it.  A nice spot for a picnic as well.

Looking west with Cleverdale in the foreground, Long Island in the background and Assembly Point on the left

On this night, I began my trail run shortly after 6 PM and was at the gazebo by about 6:20.  I stopped for a view minutes to look at the view and then continued on the blue trail another mile and a half to the waterfall. 

Looking south from The gazebo

Looking NW from the gazebo

 At this point, it was starting to get a little dark.  The trail loops around the top of the falls.  I almost ran into a porcupine who had crossed my path and was beginning to climb a tree.  I continued around the loop and returned to the gazebo around 7 PM.  The sun had set and I could now see all the lights below.  This was just as pretty as the view earlier.  I switched on my headlamp and finished my run to the base, arriving about 7:15.  From the gazebo, there is also an orange trail that follows the remains of a former driveway back to to the trailhead.  I did not take that on this night.

These signs are near the gazebo.  On may way back thru it was getting dark

A few pictures at dusk

Here is my route

Keep this preserve in mind when you've got a couple hours for a picnic, or you want to get a nice view for relatively modest effort.  You won't be disappointed! 

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