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Posts Tagged ‘CATS’

The Wildway Overlook Trail — featured in Brian Mann’s audio postcard  — is a relatively new path that’s been built and opened by an organization called Champlain Area Trails, or CATS.

It’s a non-profit group based in Westport that formed two years ago after local hikers and land conservation advocates grew impatient with the scarcity of trails in one of the most gorgeous parts of the Adirondacks.

Brian Mann spoke with Chris Maron, executive director of CATS. Maron says organizers quickly learned that they had a lot of great trails already in place that just needed more publicity.  Click here to listen to the interview.

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Get your pencils sharpened, your laptops powered, and your cameras ready, Champlain Area Trails (CATS) will soon launch its first Travel Writing Contest. It’s your chance to write about your travels in New York’s central Champlain Valley—to share your favorite experiences on the Champlain Area Trails–whether it’s hiking, walking, skiing, snowshoeing, birding, tracking, picnicking, or a little bit of each. Also tell us about other great recreational, cultural, or gastronomical adventures you enjoyed in the Champlain Valley. Perhaps you paddled on the Boquet River? Took in a play at the Depot Theatre? Biked along scenic back roads? Dined on delicious food at a family-owned cafe? Or savored fresh produce at a local farm? The Valley’s the limit, so start exploring!

Entrants may submit works in two categories: Writing (800- to 1,200-word article with two to four photos) and Multimedia (audio, video, slideshow). First-place winners will receive a $500 cash prize and online publication in our CATS Destination Guide. There will also be goodies for the runners-up. Full details will be announced in August, but it’s not too early to start jotting down your special memories at the places and trails in New York’s central Champlain Valley. (via Champlain Area Trails.)

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by Dennis Aprill, Press-Republican, link to original post

There are a number of mountains, actually little nubs, that rise near the shore of Lake Champlain, and they are often overlooked by serious mountain climbers out to conquer the ultimate 46.

However, size is relative, and when you consider these lower peaks rise 900 feet above the big lake, they provide some excellent views for the casual hiker.

One such mountain is South Boquet in the Town of Essex. On Wednesday, April 21, fellow writer Elizabeth Lee and I hiked to its top on a relatively new trail created by Champlain Area Trails, or CATS, a group of volunteers out to improve foot travel opportunities in Essex County.

It had the makings of a warm day, with highs predicted in the 70s. I hoped to do the hike early, before dark clouds or mist rolled in to obscure the vista. The trailhead is 0.7 mile down Brookfield Road from where it cuts off right from Jersey Street. There is no formal parking area, so look carefully for the green and white CATS signs nailed to trees on the left (if you are coming from the north).

The trail goes immediately uphill, and we passed through a young hardwood forest with a couple of large shagbark hickories, spared from the last logging cut. It is, by my Tech-O watch measuring device, 1.1 miles to the lookout, almost all uphill on a well-marked trail. Though there is ascent, it is not the back-breaking climb of the Central Adirondacks.

Along the way, Elizabeth pointed out some early flowers: hepatica, spring beauties and shadbush. After a half-hour, we were at the lookout, and it was easy to see why this diminutive mountain will, because of the ease of the climb, become a favorite of elderly climbers and those with younger children.

To the east, the Green Mountains spread out before us, with Camelback clearly identifiable. In the foreground was Lake Champlain, a little fuzzy due to the hazy conditions, but Whallons Bay points were clear to pick out. Split Rock stood to the southeast, and even farther south was Coon Mountain, one of my favorite climbs. Coon is still popular because, at 1,000 feet, it too offers great views for little energy expended. The opening here is not a full 360 degrees, but I did catch a glimpse of the Adirondacks to the west.

Champlain Area Trails is a volunteer organization that creates and maintains trails, many on private lands open to the public for hiking, bird watching and cross-country skiing.

After maybe 45 minutes spent at the lookout, Elizabeth and I hiked down to our vehicles, convinced South Boquet Mountain was definitely a hike worth taking that day.

Field Notes

To get to the trailhead from Northway Exit 32, take Jersey Street from the off-ramp east about 5 miles to Brookfield Road, then go down Brookfield 0.7 mile to the CATS markers on the left.

Check out the CATS website www.champlainareatrails.com for more details on this hike and others. Volunteers are always needed.

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