Schenectady County High Point Trip Report

Date: July 9, 2000
Author: Dan Case

Spot elevation 1 mile SE of Braman Corners (1,456 ft)
and 1 area 600 ft farther south (1450+ ft)

From the Partridge Run WMA we worked our way into Schoharie County on NY 145 and then, at Middleburgh, NY 30. If coming down I-88 you will want to exit at NY 30A and go south a mile or two, towards Schoharie. Just north of that village 30 forks off sharply to the left. Take it up the hill, over I-88 and into Schenectady County. Go down past the US 20 junction (you will see the HP ridge from here) and up and around again.

The "Dare Road" shown on the Duanesburg quad seemed like the shortest route up the ridge, but we found it has been closed off past the little turnoff a quarter-mile up from McGuire School Road (well, not closed off so much as allowed to fall into disrepair to the point that it's not passable anymore). So we continued up 30 to Braman Corners, around the ridge. Take the right turn onto Herrick Road opposite the church and cemetery (left if heading southbound).

After a fun, rollercoaster-like ascent up a mile to the ridgetop, we kept our eyes peeled for the leveling out and the little turn that marks the beginning of the descent, right at the "BM Hawes" shown on the map. (We later searched for this but did not find it. At this time of year, with all the rain we've been having, it's probably well-hidden under vegetation if it still exists).

This jog in the road boasts an abandoned barn on the west side and the equally abandoned farmhouse to the east. We parked in the latter's drive. The hedgerow behind it is the narrow 1,450'+ contour. Duly we braved the rain and wet meadow grass, following what paths we could along it to its highest point, a few hundred feet behind the house. Even through the rain we could tell that this area would boast magnificent views over that section of the Schoharie Valley.

To the north, however, the 1,456' area had a copse of trees, and definitely seemed higher. It also was behind a house with one car parked in the drive. After the last walk, I didn't feel like asking a homeowner for permission in these conditions. We also weren't sure if anyone was actually home. (If anyone else feels like trying, the mailbox gave the address as 1035 Herrick Road. I was unable to find any telephone listings, however.)

Looking at the map again, however, we noticed an unimproved road half a mile to the east that touched on that contour area from the other side. Might it be passable? We drove down to the T-intersection on the map with what was once Dare Road, but now seems to have been renamed Skyline Drive (doubtless with a nod to local real estate agents). Turning left and following it down the corresponding half-mile, we were rewarded with a Hillman Road to the left at the appropriate point.

This was a gravel road that followed the course laid out on the map past several homes and farms. After the last of these, it continued between two fields, however it became dicier and we stopped at the low point when it got too muddy to go on. We walked the rest of the way uphill. It stopped dead at the back field line a couple of hundred feet behind where we parked.

However, in the whole trip's soggiest moment, Dave found a place to crawl through the western hedge and we both ventured through. The high ground was halfway along on the edge of the field. There might have been some other candidates in the adjoining woods but the underbrush was too thick to be inviting. We couldn't see the house or Herrick Road from here either, but the more I look at the map the surer I am that we were at the very least within that 1,450' area.