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    Edward Bitner reviewed Lake Bonita Loop

    18 days ago

    Nice easy walk around the lake. Good for families with small children.

    Edward Bitner completed Lake Bonita Loop

    18 days ago

    Edward Bitner saved Lake Bonita Loop

    18 days ago

    Edward Bitner reviewed Poke-O-Moonshine Trail

    over 1 year ago

    I did this trail on 8/27/17 as the first one of two that day. The other was Hurricane. This is an enjoyable trail that would be great for families to do. The trail is wide and well marked. It is either easy or moderate, depending on your experience and conditioning. It was my first hike since April and it was not strenuous.

    Edward Bitner reviewed Hurricane Mountain Trail Northern Approach

    over 1 year ago

    I did this as part of a double header today. First I did Poke-O-Moonshine. In hindsight I should have done this first, although if I did I am not sure I would have done both. I did the longer route. The first third seemed as easy as P-O-M but then you cross the bridge and all bets are off. It was steep and seemed to last forever. There is a nice lookout just below the tower. There were 3 or 4 trees over the upper portion that could make it difficult for some people. Also although the trail is relatively easy to follow the DEC must be running low on markers, they were few and far between.

    The tower was open and the views from the base and in the tower are absolutely amazing. Made the pain and strain worth it.

    I met a hiker on the trail who is getting ready to celebrate their 90th birthday. It is things like that that make these hikes satisfying. I can only hope that I can have that kind of longevity.

    Edward Bitner saved Poke-O-Moonshine Trail

    over 1 year ago

    Edward Bitner completed Poke-O-Moonshine Trail

    over 1 year ago

    Edward Bitner reviewed Poke-O-Moonshine Trail

    over 1 year ago

    This is a great hike for families. I did the 4.8 mile route. It is wide and well maintained. It took 1:10 minutes to go up and that was stopping for photos at the lean to and first rock overlook. The views are awesome. The tower is locked but that doesn't dampen the views. If you want a comfortable hike to great views this is it.

    Edward Bitner saved Vanderwhacker Mountain

    over 1 year ago

    Edward Bitner reviewed Vanderwhacker Mountain

    over 1 year ago

    Arrived at the route 28 turnoff to find the dirt road to the trail head a mix of ice and snow. I drove in about 200 yards but then backed out to the main road. I had never been on the road and with other reviews saying it was iffy under normal conditions I wasn't chancing being late for the grandkids annual Easter egg hunt at my house. Parking on the main road made the total distance 11.4 miles.

    It was difficult to walk the 3.2 miles to the trailhead. Once on the trail it was a comfortable hike to the ranger cabin. From that point it is a strenuous hike to the tower. I did not climb the tower because time did not permit if I wanted to have a happy wife on Easter. Overall the distance on snow and ice made this more challenging than I wanted for my first spring 2017 hike but I would rate this intermediate from the designated parking area.

    Edward Bitner completed Vanderwhacker Mountain

    over 1 year ago

    Edward Bitner saved Pillsbury Mountain

    about 2 years ago

    Edward Bitner saved Owl's Head Mountain Trail

    about 2 years ago

    Edward Bitner reviewed Pillsbury Mountain

    about 2 years ago

    The only thing missing was the fire tower. It's there but as stated by some others it is in need of refurbishment. There was a good 40-50 mph wind at the top and I climbed up about two thirds of the tower way and took some pictures. I don't scare easily but the missing wire and the wind combined to keep me from going all the way to the cab. Either way the views are amazing.

    I read on some other sites that the three unpaved roads to the trailhead keep some people from doing this hike. One of the websites said the third road was the worst. Some work must have been done because although it is single lane it was well graded and stoned and I was able to drive right to the trailhead. The second road was the worse of the three in my opinion but I easily made it.

    This is what you should expect from a 1500 foot elevation gain in a mile and a half. It isn't something for the whole family but the trail does attempt to use the contour of the mountain to take some of the sting out of it. Also the false summit surprised me, I didn't look at a map prior to and when I got to the first plateau and saw there was more climb left, especially after having done Owls Head in the morning, I was a little deflated but pushed on.

    Overall great views at the top and you have to work to get there. Don't be afraid of the access roads. They are easily passable and this hike is worth it.

    Edward Bitner completed Pillsbury Mountain

    about 2 years ago

    Edward Bitner reviewed Owl's Head Mountain Trail

    about 2 years ago

    This would make a nice family hike. It has some length at 6.2 miles but if it wasn't for the portion after the observer cabin site I would rate it as easy.

    There are a number of trees across the trail. It doesn't impede hiking but it needs some work for this seasons snowmobilers. Also the wooden walking planks and bridges need some work. The first few are nice but later there are many that are rotted out.

    The view from the tower is awesome. This is a hike worth taking.

    Edward Bitner completed Owl's Head Mountain Trail

    about 2 years ago

    Edward Bitner reviewed Blue Mountain Trail

    about 2 years ago

    This hike provides everything you could want in a short 2 mile climb. The bottom is gentle and rocky. That gives way to a steeper climb at the halfway point. The steeper section is on mostly flat stone. The stones were damp with recently fallen leaves on them. They weren't to slippery with the right shoes but I can imagine that they could be if you were not wearing hiking shoes. I also imagine that as it gets colder overnight the climb could be considerable harder.

    Unfortunately it was a foggy day so there was no view from the top when I arrived at 9:15. I always appreciate the views from atop a mountain but I also appreciate the beauty of nature and serenity along the entire route. If there had been visibility I would have probably given this 5 stars.

    I think this makes a great family hike. It isn't too technical and the trail is easy to follow.

    Edward Bitner reviewed Gore Mountain via Schaefer Trail

    about 2 years ago

    The total distance on this app says 10.1. The sign at the trailhead says 5.8, which would make it 11.6. Not sure which is correct. Total time out and back for me was just under 5 hours and that included 30 minutes at the top.

    I would agree with classifying as moderate. The first 3 - 4 miles is a gentle gain in elevation. It isn't until after the Ives dam that it becomes taxing. Even after that about half is on a service road to the summit. Although the steepest part being on the road certainly makes it easier than most.

    There are nice views after you hit the service road and I enjoyed lunch on the flat at the warming building just below the fire tower. Unfortunately the fire tower was closed. No view at the tower with access secured.

    This is a nice walk in the woods with nice views up high. The service road finish along with a closed tower make it a 4 for me.

    Edward Bitner saved Hadley Mountain Trail

    about 2 years ago

    Edward Bitner saved Spier Mountain Trail

    about 2 years ago

    Edward Bitner saved Spruce Mountain Firetower

    about 2 years ago

    Edward Bitner saved Snowy Mountain Trail

    about 2 years ago

    Edward Bitner reviewed Snowy Mountain Trail

    about 2 years ago

    I was a little reluctant to try this hike since the info said for very experienced hikers. I don't know what experienced is but I am not. I have done two other fire towers in the past month ( Hadley and Spruce Mountain). Other than that I have done hikes local to Saratoga Springs.

    I am 51, don't smoke and consider my cardio to be good. I have no pulmonary issues. I reached the tower in 2.5 hours. Total time on the mountain was 5 hours with 30 - 45 minutes on top. The nice thing about this hike is the bottom half is relatively flat. That gives you a warmup and let's your legs recover from the steep descent. I like the climb more than the descent and my legs were weary once I got through the steepest part. By the time I returned to the car they had recovered.

    FYI there is an out house just off the parking lot. I found it useful.

    Edward Bitner completed Snowy Mountain Trail

    about 2 years ago

    Edward Bitner reviewed Bee Trail Loop Trail

    over 2 years ago

    This is primarily a mountain bike trail. It appears to be maintained by the SMBA (Saratoga Mountain Bike Association). It also crosses into Skidmore Research Area. The trail is apparently a combination with the Black Diamond trail. The site says both combined are 7 miles. I stayed on the main loop because it isn't well marked to show you the full trail. The main loop is only 3 to 3.5 miles. There are plenty of crossovers but I stayed off of them since they are narrow and appear to be there to add technical areas for the bikers. The "hard" rating must be related to the biking as this trail meanders through flat forest and provides nothing more than a leisurely walk.

    Edward Bitner completed Bee Trail Loop Trail

    over 2 years ago

    Edward Bitner reviewed Hadley Mountain Trail

    over 2 years ago

    Arrived at the trailhead around 2:30 pm. There were plenty of people on the trail but it didn't feel congested. It was a nice sunny day with low 70 temps.

    The trail is well marked and wide enough to handle the number of people on the mountain. It is a rather steep rise and is rocky. The flat rock on the lower portion of the trail is interesting.

    The view, as expected is awesome. A nice view of the Sacandaga. I nice clear day that offered endless miles of beautiful scenery.

    I

    Edward Bitner completed Hadley Mountain Trail

    over 2 years ago

    Edward Bitner reviewed Spruce Mountain Firetower

    over 2 years ago

    I am beginner level as I have only been trail hiking for the past two months. Most of my time has been spent on Spier Falls. I am a 50 year old non-smoker. My physical fitness is average but my cardio is above average. Not to promote only to inform I carry a Camelbak Rim Runner 22 pack, I use trekking poles and currently wear Oboz Scapegoat hiking shoes. Now to the trail.

    I thoroughly enjoyed this hike. The trail is well marked, wide, and uses the natural benches well to take some of the bite out of the assent. It took me 40 minutes to climb. I prefer to keep moving and work up a lather. My stops were brief only to slow my breathing. As I stated there is a good mix of switchbacks that make the climb manageable.

    I rate climbs by the satisfaction gained for the effort expended. The effort expended was moderate and the reward was amazing. When you get to the tower don't hesitate to climb it. As expected the view from a fire tower is amazing.

    During my hike there was a good news story. On my way down I passed two people looking for a dog that got lost the day before. When I returned to the parking area the dog was there and was reunited with its owner.

    I was the first to arrive at 7:30 am. When I left there were approximately 10 people on the trail. The trail can easily accommodated more.

    Edward Bitner completed Spruce Mountain Firetower

    over 2 years ago