the park was nearly empty which seemed unusual for a perfect saturday in summer. in order to get to the berry pond preserve trails you need to hike through the rec center's maze of hiking/cross country ski/snowshoe system. there are blue trail markers to help you find your way through but there are a few tricky intersections where we lost our way. luckily all of the trails tend to intersect so we found the trail register within 20 minutes.
we chose to take the full loop which includes climbing to the height of land and the two scenic overlooks, and walking around berry pond itself. the hike up to the scenic overlooks was more strenuous than we expected. some sections were very steep and you gain (then lose) 1,000 feet.
|the view looking northeast to lake george|
|the view looking southwest to butler pond|
after descending the "mountain" the trail quickly leads to berry pond which is a stunning example of an active beaver pond with multiple dams and lodges. great blue heron nests can also be seen in the tall dead trees throughout the pond. unfortunately our plan to hike around the pond was thwarted by the beavers plans. a dam was created near the far end of the pond which flooded the trail and makes it impassable. regardless, it was fascinating to see all of the chewed and downed trees, and all the other clear evidence of beaver activity.
|this is just one example of the beaver chew.|
|here is where the beavers decided that the trail around the pond ends.|
|great blue heron nest|