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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Nutten Hook and River St Park(Hudson Valley)

Just too darn nice out not to take a hike today.  The drive alone is cleansing after a full day at work.  Started heading south of Nassau on Route 203 and pulled off to admire some of the fall colors at the St. Mary's Cemetery on the very outskirts of the village.  A great man from my childhood was laid to rest here so Pastor Norkus is always in my thoughts when I drive by.  He was the pastor for a very small church in East Nassau that molded me and many other close family and friends growing up.  It is hard to believe it's been over sixteen years since he passed away back in 1997.

Headed further south to Stuyvesant to visit Nutten Hook State Unique Area.  Access is off of Ferry Rd via Route 9J.  There is a large parking area for boating and fishing and a smaller pull off further up the road which provides walking access to a kiosk and foot trail.  The trail can be easy to miss as there are no markings or signs directing you from the road.  Fortunately, there are trail markings in the woods once you find the path.  The area is actually a part of the Stockport Flats.
 The trail above follows the Federal Footpath, an historic trail used by workers to travel from the ferry to the ice house.  The only means for crossing the river was by ferry until the 19th century and this was actually the eastern terminus of a ferry service that ran from Coxsackie to Nutten Hook.  The trail is only about a half mile and leads to a clearing and a beach.  Views north and west of the river are outstanding from the beach area.
 Back at the clearing, there are DEC interpretive signs offering a little information on the R & M Scott Ice House which stands only feet away.  The building dates back to c.1885  and was one of the largest indepedently-owned ice houses on the Hudson River.  It's ruins are now on the National Register of Historic Places  Even in decay, it is one of the most intact ice houses remaining today.  During the 19th century and even into the early 20th century ice harvesting was a major industry, especially in the Hudson Valley.  As many as 135 ice houses lined the Hudson by the 1880's and that number climbed to 200 by the turn of the century.  Ice was harvested in the winter and essentially refrigerated in the ice houses during the warmer months.  Blocks of ice, covered by sawdust, could last up to three years.  This remarkable efficiency proved to be a very profitable venture.
 The Robert & Wilson Ice House stood six stories high and 300 feet long by 200 feet wide.  At capacity, it could hold nearly 53,000 tons of ice.  Today, the interior is grown over with weeds and plants.  The brick walls are almost entirely intact however.

 Views west across the river towards Coxsackie

 Fall colors near the knob at Nutten Hook.

It was still early so on my way back to town, I drove through the quaint village of Valatie and stopped by the Kinderhook Creek.  At the corner of Route 9 and Main Street is a pulloff and platform to view the spectacular Beaver Kill Falls aka Valatie Kill Falls.
A short distance away is the River Street Park, which has a series of trails, including a one mile loop trail which follows the Kinderhook Creek.
 The reflections were dancing on the water.
 Looking back north up the creek.  The water is pretty shallow as evidenced by the rocks.
 A beautiful picnic spot near the creek.
 The current picks up in some areas.
 Another "10" day!

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