Sterling Lake

Sterling Lake, Sterling Forest (2/24/2008)

This lollipop hike was the most enjoyable hike of the year, so far. It snowed at least 6" in Manhattan two days earlier (Friday, 2/24) and Sterling Forest certainly got more than that. This ~4-mile lollipop hike ordinarily would have taken us 2-2.5 hours to complete. But given the 8"+ of powdery snow on all the trails, it ended up taking us over 3.5 hours. And it was very tiring! It was a gorgeous day. Hence, we encountered one guy on cross country skis, another guy in snow shoes and at least nine other hikers in just hiking boots like us (Yaktrax were useless today).

We started at the Frank Lautenberg Visitor's Center on Old Forge Road (the parking lot was thoroughly plowed), taking the blue-blazed Sterling Lake loop counter-clockwise. We next made a right onto a connector trail blazed with orange triangles, taking us (after 0.3 miles) to the orange-blazed Pine Meadow trail. We turned left on it and headed north. At the next trail junction we made a left onto the yellow-blazed Sterling Valley Loop trail and headed southeast toward Sterling Lake. At the fork for the Sterling Lake Loop trail (the left path follows the lake on the east side, the right path follows the lake on the west side), we decided to make a right so that we could eat lunch at the northern tip of Sterling Lake. It was fabulous! After lunch we tracked back to the fork and took the eastern leg of the Sterling Lake trail back to the vistor center.

(Click on the thumbnail to bring up a bigger image in a pop-up window)

Starting outside the visitor's center

View east of a Sterling Forest mountain

Trail passes behind a business of some sort

Well-trodden path!

Runs parallel to Long Meadow Road (Route 84) for a small stretch


Enough nails in this tiny blaze?

On the connector trail


Something not white!

Rocks totally buried

Can you find Laura?

Southern trailhead of Pine Meadow trail

On the gate

Slow going in the powdery snow

Me taking the next photo [Photo by Laura]

Signs of much activity since the snow fell

Looking east at powerline cut

Trees weighted down by snow


"Caution Hill"! What hill?

Group of four hikers

Snow falling from trees

[Photo by Laura]


Stream on Sterling Valley Loop trail


Heading south on Sterling Valley Loop trail

No one's swimming today!

Powerline cut looking west

First view of Sterling Lake from northern tip

Laura on the tip

Only partially frozen

View south from northern tip with drainage pipes

Sterling Forest Fire tower

Found our lunch spot!

Laura clearing our seats

What a view!

Antlers of a sunken tree

We ate on the frozen lake

View south from lunch spot


Back to the east shore leg

Snow falling near Laura

Sterling Lake from on high

Another view from eastern leg of loop trail


Macro shot of tiny fungus

Taking a break

Fragment of hornet's nest covered with snow

Frank Lautenberg Visitor's Center

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