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Saturday, November 2, 2013

Vischer Ferry

This historic preserve located in Clifton Park is a wonderful place to observe natural history with chances to see the remains of the historic Erie Canal, old bridges across the Mohawk River, agricultural lands from centuries ago, and ponds and wetlands offering many birding opportunities.  The preserve is a large piece of public land with many miles of flat walking trails and several different access points.  Today I went to the western edge of the preserve to the Ferry Road access point.  This was the site where a rope ferry was established back in the later 18th century by Eldert Vischer.
The old bridge abutments still remaining on the south shore of the river.
 The Mohawk River looking south and east from the old Ferry Rd ferry access.
To the west of this site is a one mile trail running along the shores of the Mohawk to an overlook by the power plant and Lock 7 falls and dam of the modern Erie Canal.  This is a flat trail utilized by joggers, bikers and rollerbladers as well hikers.  One of the benefits of this time of year is views through the leafless trees to the water.
 Along the southern shores.
 A viewing area across the Mohawk.
 Upriver to the power plant.
 The powerful falls at the dam.
 A jogger taking advantage of the mild(but wet) November weather.
A soft rain was turning into a bit heavier rain so I headed back to the car.  After the rain subsided a little, I headed down to the next access area  along Riverview Rd.  The Whipple Bridge is located here, allowing foot traffic to cross the old Erie Canal.  The Whipple Bridge was originally completed in 1869 by Squire Whipple, crossing the Mohawk River until the Erie Canal was abandoned in 1919.  It was moved one more time before finally being salvaged and moved to its current location.  The old Erie Canal covered with a green algae substance.
 Looking across the Bridge.
 The iron truss Whipple Bridge.
Once across the bridge, the towpath follows the canal allowing for a nice walk or another option is a trail continuing south through wetlands, to the old site of Forts Ferry and the eventually the Mohawk River.  There are several other options for walking along Riverview Rd, all with their own slice of history to tell.  This will be a site I visit again to explore.

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