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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Schuyler Flatts Cultural Park

Schuyler Flatts Cultural Park, located off Broadway in Menands(just north of the city of Albany), is the site of the former Schuyler Homestead and is a National Historic Landmark.  This 43 acre park is a nice change of pace to the urban settings around it.  During colonial and revolutionary wars this land was used as encampments for soldiers moving either westward or northward, and before that Native Americans met and traded here.  The Schuyler family lived on this land for many generations until the early 20th century(1692-1910). 
There is plenty of parking along the access road as well as a parking lot near a pavilion area.
The park consists of a large grassy plot with a paved walkway that circles the park with interpretive signs along the way.  Today, the scene was much different with over a foot of freshly fallen snow.
There were tracks though the snow but most of the open fields were pure untouched white.
Below is the site of the former Schuyler house.  Unfortunately the house burned to the ground in 1962, under suspicious circumstances.
On the far east side of the park a connecting paved trail leads to the Hudson Mohawk Bike Trail.  The connector trail leads down through freshwater tidal wetland and woodlands.
If you stay straight(south) you will eventually come to a dead end.
But turning sharply north on the trail leads through a beautiful wooded area along the banks of the oft forgotten Little River.
The snow was deep here and looks like I was only the second or third person on this section of trail since the snowfall.
The Little River lies between the connector trail and 787.  It is one of the few remaining tidal and wetland marshes.
With temperatures hovering just over freezing, the ice could be heard breaking up along the river.
After the connecting trail ends at 4th street in Watervliet, you follow a one lane road to the end, passing through a tunnel under the interstate and arrive at a trailhead for the Hudson Mohawk Bike Hike Trail. Following a couple weeks of very cold weather and heavy snow, the Hudson was completely frozen over and snow covered.  
The 378 bridge between Troy and Menands can be seen downstream over the white blanket of snow that is the Hudson River.
The Bike Hike Trail looks to be very well maintained with nearly all of the snow being removed.  Looking back to the trailhead area, light fixtures provide a sense of safety.
The trail has a very wintry feel to it and in certain areas, gives the feeling of being in deep woods.  But the constant sound of traffic just 30 yards away on the interstate leaves no doubt that you are not.
City of Watervliet.  This is the sign along the northbound side of 787.  As you can see, the traffic is not that far away.
Snow covered trees with interstate signage behind them.
The Hudson River looking east into Troy.
The woods certainly hold a certain aura this time of year.  The fresh snow blankets everything in a sheet of white and the quiet trail seems somehow magical.
Overall I walked nearly two miles through, at times, deep snow.  It was certainly a good workout but any more snow after this may force me to break out the snowshoes for the year.

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