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Explore your local terrain if you get an opportunity; you might be
surprised with what you find.  Took my black lab up to Thatcher State Park
which sits 1,000 feet higher than the Hudson Valley and western Albany
county is actually very hilly...but more of the western NY hilly as
opposed to Adirondack hilly.  Wandering around in the 12-18 inch snowpack
(as opposed to 6-8 at my house not 15 minutes away) was hard work with a
pretty heavy crust.  We toured around on skinny XC skis for two hours
scoping out various lines that I can't wait to get back up there and test
out the new AT bindings on.  It might not sound like much, but there are
plenty of 200-500 vertical foot options which could keep me busy for a
little while.  I eyed a couple very nice power lines that run up to 600
vertical feet and those might be fun some day.  Plenty of open looking
hardwoods all over the place up there in western Albany county above the
1,000 foot elevation line, I just need to figure out how to get there and
how not to get shot at for trespassing.  I did see one sign that someone
had made and posted on some trees around their fields that say they have
no problem firing warning shots at trespassers (this is rural Albany
county as well).

My dog loved it.  The weather was excellent and she loves to run all over
the place; every time she'd leave the packed trail, she'd sink in to her
stomach and end up wallowing in the snow.  It ain't the Colorado Rockies
and I'm sure she is envious of a certain listers dog but she had a blast.

I posted a report because I realized that even though the terrain nearby
me isn't huge, it is still a lot of fun.  I'd urge everyone to get out and
explore your local backyard.  I know a few of the listers take advantage
of their backyard terrain frequently even if it isn't the stuff of dreams
(Sharon and Dana come to mind)...it can still be a lot more fun than you
envisioned.  I've been up to Thatcher quite a few times (The 6 inches of
fresh on May 18, 2002 was quite an experience) and everytime it blows my
mind that there are so many people sitting in the Hudson Valley only 15
minutes away that have no idea what they have out their own doors.

I'm going to scope out some more lines tomorrow in solitude instead of
battling the crowds at Gore...I need to find a way to get down the 60-100
foot cliffs under the Thatcher Park escarpment because there looks like
there is a really sweet hardwood glade that drops the remaining 600
vertical feet into the Hudson Valley.

Get out and explore.

-Scott

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