I selected this section of NCT over others on deck because a friend told me, based on all the painted trees he saw on a recent hike, that it appears a timber harvest is planned in this area. I figured the trail would be more scenic if we got there before the lumbering started. There were some recent skid trails all torn up, but no active harvesting. With the mild El Nino winter, we had very little snow this year, so the skid trails were a mess, but the overall mission was successful.
The day started chilly, lots of funky ice everywhere, but it wasn't bitter cold. It warmed up a bit, so the mud was nicely squishy for the return trip. To reduce trail erosion, we walk through the mud, rather than around; this policy naturally appeals to kids. I had to extract Frankie from his mud encrusted snowpants before we could get back in the car. If there was a prize for muddiest pants, this kid was a shoo-in. Buying good gear for him really pays off though! I was worried the mud might be too much for the washer to handle, so decided to rinse the worst off in the utility sink. For both his mittens and snowpants, I just slid my hands inside and scrubbed them against each other under steamy running water. It took a while but my hands stayed completely dry, even under such abuse. Comfy kids will be happy outside longer and be ready for bigger adventures. Plus, any quality gear that's in good shape when Frankie outgrows it will go to Alden eventually. Win-win!
|Rabbit from Winnie the Pooh's 100 Acre Woods joined us for this hike|
|Frankie made it his mission to stomp all the ice in the trail ("to help spring come")|
|winter harvesting didn't offer much protection to the forest floor this year|
|helping a stick ford a stream|
|approaching the register|
|Frankie signed his name in the log book|
|throwing rocks in the water from "Frankie Island"|
|have we graduated to logs? mercy!|
|staring in awe at the "interstate trail" sign|
|having a snack|
|the only road crossing on this hike is a seasonal dirt road|
|visiting with Loggy again on the way back|
|back to the trailhead on Shackham Road|
|NYSDEC map of Morgan Hill State Forest. We parked along Shackham Road and hiked to Spruce Pond (and back).|