Ahh, springtime. When the land transforms from a bland, dreary brown and gray, to a vibrant green. Birds begin to sing, the spring peepers are, well, peeping, and… Oh come on! What the hell is this? More snow?! We just had like 5 Nor’Easters. Welcome to New York, where the spring is winter, summer is spring, autumn is summer, and winter is autumn. Our first spring hike should have been through the woods, the ground muddied from the melted snow, green buds emerging from the trees. But no. We walked through approximately two to eight inches of snow. Who are we to complain? There’s no complaining when you get a chance to be outside, enjoying the land regardless of Mother Nature being a bitch and dumping a winter’s worth of snow in March.
We chose these trails for this hike because of our familiarity with them, and knowing that there could possibly be icy, slippery conditions we would have to contend with. We began our journey on the Appalachian Trail, directly across from Canopus Lake on Route 301. The trail here starts out going down a little hill with some stone steps, and follows a ridgeline atop a ravine. The trail is narrow here, made even narrower with the snow. Luckily for us, someone had pretty much gone over the same trails as us so the snow was fairly packed down, and made it easier to walk. You continue along the trail for about a mile, where you come to the junction with the blue blazed Three Lakes Trail.
At the junction, we went right, straight keeps you on the AT, left takes you on Three Lakes Trail for a mile or so to Route 301 again. Going right, you walk for a bit and come upon Hidden Lake to your right. Stop, look, enjoy the views, and maybe you will spot some beavers at work (We haven’t spotted any. Ever.) You will come to another junction with the yellow blazed Old Mine Railbed Trail, don’t go down that yet, you might be tempted to see more of the lake, but you will come back that way. I promise. Keep following the blue blazes, about another mile or so, and you will walk through the remnants of the John Allen homestead, and up to the John Allen Pond. Someone named John Allen must have lived there at some point. When you get to the pond, repeat the steps you did at Hidden Lake (Stop, look, enjoy the views, and maybe you will spot some beavers at work (We haven’t spotted any. Ever.)) Continue along, approach the waterfall where the damn dam has been breached, take photos, cross the stream, which at times can be like a raging river, walk up the hill, and join up with Sunken Mine Road. Turn right on Sunken Mine, walk some distance, and find the trailhead for the yellow blazed Old Mine Railbed.
This is where everything got interesting on our hike. We started around 10:30AM, it was still cold and the snow was pretty hard. When we began the Old Mine Railbed, there wasn’t much snow as the sun hits that hillside pretty strongly and melted a lot. We were cruising along. Then it started to warm up some. We got back to areas that still had a good amount of snow. It was getting harder to walk through it, so we started slowing down. We crossed paths with a cross-country skier who looked like she was having a miserable time. 10 minutes later I was having a miserable time. My hips were killing me. I usually lead (unless there are snakes, than Jackie leads) but I was lagging behind Jackie considerably. Each step was like knives being twisted in my hips. Our goal was to meet up with the Three Lakes Trail, and take that all the way back to 301, and walk 301 to the car, essentially make a figure eight. I couldn’t do it, we got back on the AT, and remember what I said earlier about complaining? I was wrong. Complain. It won’t do you any good, but complain anyways. I trailed behind Jackie like a whining 4-year-old behind his mother in a shopping mall. I was begging her to carry me, drag me, push me over the cliff into the ravine. What was that noise?! CARS!! We’re close, with the last of my energy I managed to hobble my way up the hill to the car. I was barely able to lift my legs into the car, but I did it!
Here it is, two days later, and I am almost fully recovered. I have no idea what happened, it wasn’t that long of a walk, but somehow walking through the snow destroyed my hips. Regardless of what happened, I would do it all over again. Except this time Jackie might actually push me over the cliff.
See the map of the hike here