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Friday, December 27, 2013

Tawasentha Park

Decided to head out to Guilderland to visit Tawasentha Park off of Route 146, in hopes of burning off some of those extra holiday calories.  Tawasentha means "the place of many dead" and lies along the banks of the Normans Kill Creek.   Many Indians were buried here, as skulls and bones have been dug up through the years as evidence.  This was also a significant spot for American history as the Battle of Normans Kill, which took place five weeks prior to the Battle of Saratoga in 1777, was the only Revolutionary War battle to take place in Albany County.  For many years, it operated as a Dairy Farm before becoming a town property allowing access to all.  Today the 192.5 acre park is a great place to get out and hike, bike, swim or play ball.  On this day, I parked at the Winter Recreation Area, which offers several small loop trails as well as a connector trail over the Normans Kill to the main park trails.
 The trails were mostly made up of frozen snow and ice, so I knew this would be a good time to try out my new ice cleats.
  Immediately after leaving the Winter Recreation Area(WRA) parking lot, there is a descent down a slippery ice covered hill through open meadows.
 Once down the first hill, there are several trail options.  The WRA trails go left and right and the connector bridge over the Normans Kill lies directly ahead.  I took the pedestrian bridge over the creek.
 Views downstream of the Normans Kill winding its way towards Route 146.
 Once over the bridge, there is a nice, quiet spot to sit on a bench and overlook the water.
 There is a red trail that follows the perimeter of the park in one giant loop, and closely follows the banks of the creek for a little while.
 There was some ice near the outside of the creek in a couple of spots, but nearly all of the water was open on this day.
 Along the banks, some interesting ice formations.
 The trails are mostly well marked with different color discs, depending on the trail.  Even in areas where the signage isn't as good, the trails are wide and clear due to foot traffic.  Much of this trail is actually part of the Tawasentha Cross Country course, and is the location of the annual Guilderland Invitational Cross-Country meet and the Schoolcraft Trail Run.
 Further along the trail, the sun made a brief appearance, lighting up the gray landscape.  It didn't last very long though, and we were back in the clouds.
 A large clearing provides wonderful views down over the Normans Kill valley and to the Heldeburgs to the west beyond the Vale of Tawasentha.
 A pleasant spot to sit and relax.
 Sunsets during the warmer months must be beautiful and dramatic here.
 Nearing the end of the perimeter trail, it swings back towards Route 146 from a hillside, with a view of the vehicular bridge over the Normans Kill.
Overall, I hiked roughly 2 miles today and only fell on the ice once, so I would consider it a successful day.  Unfortunately, this nice park has an in season fee so I probably won't be back once the weather warms up.  But it is a nice, local place to get out and explore nonetheless.  

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