Clarence Fahnestock Memorial State Park, Putnam County, New York

I drove north on the Taconic and turned west on Route 301, parking at the southern end of Canopus Lake.

12:10 p.m.: I hiked north on the white-blazed Appalachian Trail, where in the course of a few minutes I met nine hikers, in five groups, heading south. I thought it would be one of those days in which I had no solitude, but my encounters with others waned after that.

Fahnestock State Park, NY

Starting the hike

12:23 p.m.: After 0.5 miles, I turned left (west) onto the blue-blazed Fahnestock Trail.

Intersection of Appalachian Trail and Fahnestock Trail, Fahnestock State Park, NY

Intersection of Appalachian Trail and Fahnestock Trail

12:39 p.m.:  It was a hot and humid day, so when I came to a large bare rock, I took the opportunity to rest a few minutes and enjoy a Clif bar.

Bare Rock on Fahnestock Trail, Fahnestock State Park, NY

Bare rock

12:57 p.m.: I appreciated the fact that most of my hike was on footpaths, rather than on old woods roads.

Fahnestock Trail, Fahnestock State Park, NY

Fahnestock Trail

1:00 p.m.: There were a number of trees across the trails, but I don’t know if they fell recently (such as during last Sunday’s Hurricane Irene) or if they’ve been down a long time. I think I duck-walked under these two. In another case I was able to step over one, and in one case I sat on the tree and then swung my legs to the other side.

Fallen Trees on Fahnestock Trail, Fahnestock State Park, NY

Fallen trees

1:05 p.m.: After another 0.9 miles, the blue trail turned north and was joined (briefly) by the red-blazed Charcoal Burners trail.

1:12 p.m.:  The trails then passed by Beaver Pond:

Beaver Pond, Fahnestock State Park, NY

Beaver Pond

1:16 p.m.: After 0.3 miles, the red trail continued north, but I stayed with the blue trail, which now turned west once again.

1:33 p.m.: Mossy rocks:

Mossy Rocks at Fahnestock State Park, NY

Mossy rocks

1:51 p.m.: The trail curved, first turning north-northwest, and then southwest. The trail then passed by a large pond which the map does not name. Trees screened most of the pond from the trail, however. Here, a low stone wall afforded some contrast.

Stone Wall at Fahnestock State Park, NY

Stone wall

2:02 p.m.: After 1.7 miles, the blue trail reached an intersection with the yellow-blazed Perkins Trail. I continued on the yellow trail, which continued to the southwest. There is some private property in the middle of Fahnestock, and signs warned hikers to keep to the trails.

2:14 p.m.: After 0.5 miles, the yellow trail crossed Glynwood Road and reentered the woods, where this brand new bridge (with a dead tree wedged against it) crossed Clove Creek.

Bridge over Clove Creek, near Glynwood Road, Fahnestock State Park, NY

Bridge over Clove Creek, near Glynwood Road

2:45 p.m.: The yellow trail then ran alongside the creek for a while. I stopped along the way for a late lunch.

Clove Creek, beside Perkins Trail, Fahnestock State Park, NY

Clove Creek, beside Perkins Trail

2:57 p.m.: An old stone wall:

Stone wall on Perkins Trail, Fahnestock State Park, NY

Stone wall

After 0.6 miles of running parallel to the creek, the trail turned south, away from the creek. The trail then doubled back toward the northeast.

3:21 p.m.: After another 0.7 miles, I came to a scenic view identified on the map, a bare rock that afforded a nice view of the countryside. The heat and humidity was again bothering me, so I rested here for a few minutes.

Bare rock on Perkins Trail, Fahnestock State Park, NY

Bare rock

3:39 p.m.: The trail then led to a clearing, with the trail pretty much continuing straight through the clearing and through a gap in the trees on the far side.

Clearing, Perkins Trail, Fahnestock State Park, NY


3:40 p.m.: Another stone wall:

Stone wall, Perkins Trail, Fahnestock State Park, NY

Stone wall

3:48 p.m.: After about another 0.6 miles, the trail led to another clearing, and another starred scenic view. This was not a single point, but an entire cleared hilltop that afforded a nice view to the north.

Scenic view from Perkins Trail, Fahnestock State Park, NY

Scenic view

3:49 p.m.: Just beyond the second clearing was a gated fence, with blazes indicating a turn to the right.

Gate to farmland, Fahnestock State Park, NY

Gate to farmland

A closer look at the tillers:

Tillers in a Field, Fahnestock State Park, NY

Tillers in a field

I first turned right in front of the fence, but after about 0.1 miles the path became too overgrown to follow. I backtracked to the gate and discovered that there was a yellow blaze on the inside of the gate, so I decided that I was supposed to hike inside the fence instead of outside of it. The map just showed that I was to hike south about 0.2 miles. I hiked south, and noted one or two blazes on fenceposts as I hiked, though I didn’t see very many of those blazes.

4:05 p.m.: After a while I didn’t see any blazes at all, but I continued following the fence until it ended. At that point, I saw a very impressive (and thick) stone wall. Obviously, if one clears a field, one has to do something with all the rocks.

Stone Wall, Fahnestock State Park, NY

Stone wall

Unfortunately, I didn’t know where to go from here. There were no blazes. The map showed that the yellow trail was supposed to turn left (east), but from what point? I had been following a fence bordering a huge field with ankle-high grass. I was probably supposed to turn east at some point, but I hadn’t seen any blazes on the fence post indicating a turn to the east, or any path through the ankle-high grass indicating a path.

So as I stood at the southern end of the field, this was the view toward the east. No blazes there.

Edge of field, Fahnestock State Park, NY

Edge of field

To the south, an open gate led to an unmarked trail. I wasn’t terribly concerned about being “lost,” because the map showed that I was at the most 0.3 miles from a road, and I believed that if I found a trail to the east that I would soon encounter the road. I also knew that I could cross the open field to the east and find the road, but I didn’t like the idea of doing that, especially in an area that was private property.Not having much choice, I continued through the open gate onto the unmarked trail (which also did not show on my map).

4:13 p.m.: The trail turned east, the direction I wanted, and soon led to this horse corral.

Horse Corral, Near Fahnestock State Park, NY

Horse corral

As I walked by the corral, I saw a fence with a dirt road behind it, which I realized was the road shown on the map. I found a gate and let myself out and onto the road. Now the only problem was that I had wanted the yellow trail, which led to the east and back to Route 301, whereas the road led to the south-southwest and Route 301, taking me about 0.8 miles in the wrong direction. I had little choice in the matter, though.

I followed the road, which led me to Stonecrop Gardens, a public garden. I walked through the parking lot and continued following the road to Route 301. What should have been a 1.4 mile walk back to my car was now a 2.1 mile walk, because of the unplanned detour.

5:05 p.m.: Made it back to my car, after a 5-hour hike of about 9 miles.

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