Search This Blog

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Papscanee Island Nature Preserve

With air temperatures in the single digits and wind chills well below zero, I was looking for a short walk close to home today, and settled on the Papscanee Island Nature Preserve in Schodack.  While not actually an island anymore(more of a peninsula), these 300+ acres are owned by the Open Space Institute and offer up to 4 miles of trails from its two entrances as well as access to the Hudson River.  
From the southern access road, a beautiful view of Albany's skyline rises to the northwest beyond Papscanee Creek.

According to the signage posted, the southern access is only available April 1-November 1 and the northern entrance is the winter access point.  To find the northern entrance, you must drive to Route 9J in Rensselaer and turn onto the Irwin Stewart Port Expressway before it becomes American Oil Rd and continue through the Port of Rensselaer. There are many tankers along the road here and it would be safe to assume  that the last thing someone would expect to find here would be a nature preserve, but so it is.
Just off the start of the trail there is a decent amount of ice in the woods where a shallow amount of water must have settled.
The northern entrance trail consists of basically one trail(white trail) that is wide and very straight for most of its length.
After a short distance, while staying straight, the trail enters wide open fields that are farmed during the summer months.
After nearly a mile on the white trail, you can take a right onto the green trail which will take you to the river.  The white trail actually stays straight if you choose to stay on it and will eventually connect to the southern trail system.
Here is a view north from a clearing along the partially frozen river with the Bethlehem Energy Plant visible on the west banks.
A closer look at the Energy Plant in Bethlehem.
Following the green trail leads to a bay area on the east banks of the river where giant chunks of ice have settled.
A Winterberry bush looks so cheery in the depths of winter.
At 4pm the sun was starting to set as I began my trek back to the car.
The late afternoon sun reflecting on the icy fields.
After leaving the northern entrance, I drove the ten minutes down to the southern entrance and took the red trail over the Hudson's banks to see the suns last rays of the day on the frozen river.

No comments:

Post a Comment