Review of recent hike
|Having decided to do a somewhat less challenging hike this weekend, my hiking partner and I chose the Hand Hollow Conservation Area Loop. Offering an approximate 3.5 mile loop meandering through the woods with few ascents and descents the Hand Hollow Loop fit the bill.
Along the the length of the trail were many hoof prints and sure enough, only 10 minutes in, we startled a doe and fawn along the treeline. They quickly and effortlessly jogged off upon seeing us.
There are a couple of very cool features this hike offers. One is the small lake (large pond?) the trail edges around. The lake was pretty, the sun having broken through the overcast sky and reflecting off the sparkling ice. Several ice fishers were at the far end with their blue hut, a nice contrast to the white and gray surroundings. There is an awesome beaver lodge in the lake/pond only around twenty feet from the trail. On the edge of the trail, near the water's edge, are two trees which the furry critters have been busily gnawing. Both trees look like they will soon be chewed through and felled. Father along, on a side loop, there is a large gazebo. With built in benches and a dirt floor clear of snow. it made a great place to stop and have a bite, warm drink and quick break.
I rated this hike with three stars rather than four due to the description calling this hike a loop. It's more like a couple of small loops off the main trail that circle back to meet it a bit farther on. They were less than a quarter mile each and really offered nothing much to the hike. One of the loops was around the trailhead parking area.
That being said, It is a nice, gentle trail with a couple of up and downs of short distances. It seems well maintained,clear and easy to follow, even wide in some spots. A simple, mediocre more of a walk in the woods than a hike.
A couple final notes - The parking area was empty when we arrived and is extremely muddy. We only met one other hiker during our time here. The trails were frozen early in the day when we arrived around 8:30AM. The warm sun softens them up toward the afternoon but spikes and trekking poles were a necessity until then.