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Saturday, December 21, 2013

Greenport Conservation Area

Today marked the Winter Solstice on the calendar, but the weather outside said otherwise as temperatures rose through the 40's today.  One of the unfortunate parts of warm weather this time of year is that it turns everything that has frozen to slush and muck.  The snow pack has taken a beating the last couple of days and now each step is half snow- half water and just one big mess.  Drove south down Route 9 to the Greenport Conservation Area, just north of the city of Hudson.  I have been to this area many times in the past, but always during the warmer months and never in the snow.  
The Columbia County Land Conservancy moved the parking area from Daisy Hill Road to Joslen Boulevard back in July to provide easier access to the public and to provide more privacy to the local homeowners.
There are several beautifully maintained trails that lead through woodland and open fields, many with wonderful views of the Hudson River and the Catskill Mountains.  It is a popular area for dog owners as well because of the large amount of open space.  There were many footprints in the snow today, some human, some animal.  These were an interesting set of tracks I encountered along the way.
This is the blue "access for all" trail, near the entrance from the old parking area.
There are many benches and picnic areas for relaxing and enjoying your time here.
A rustic gazebo also provides a nice shelter spot with views down to the river.
Views across the Hudson River and the Catskill Mountains behind are spectacular.
The railroad tracks run along the river from Rensselaer all the way down to New York City.
From one of the overlook areas looking south, views of the Hudson River and North Bay as well as Mount Merino on the eastern shore.
Snow covered open fields with beautiful western views.
The trials are well marked throughout.
Beautifully constructed wooden footbridges provide access over the streams that flow throughout the woods on their way down to the Hudson River.
Returning on the blue trail(Hickory Lane) affords an opportunity for meadow views along a tree lined path.
Snow in the open meadows along Hickory Lane had mostly receded now but lingered several inches deep in the wooded areas.
You never know what you will see when out walking in natural areas, and this small deer eating near the trail is a great example.  He heard me, briefly stopped to look at me, and then proceeded to keep eating.  I lingered for a couple of minutes watching him before finally heading back to my car.
It was indeed a messy walk on the trails today, as my boots and pants were soaking wet, but was still great to be out for a walk in late December without an overcoat on.

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