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Monday, April 14, 2014

Great Flats and Hudson-Mohawk Bike Trail(Rotterdam)

Our string of well above average temperatures comes to an end later tonight so I went west after work to get some hiking in.  My first stop was Great Flats, a nature trail where woodland meets wetland near the interstate and also near the border of Rotterdam and Schenectady.
All of the trail is flat and easy walking, combined with fairly strong winds made it feel quite comfortable.  This land was bought in the mid 1600's by Dutch settlers from the Iroquois Indians and farmed for nearly 200 years.  This land was an excellent drainage area from the Mohawk and by the late 1800's was a significant water source for the city of Schenectady and the town of Rotterdam.  Today it continues to supply water to the surrounding communities.
 Cattails abound as you reach the wetlands.
 A cleared path through cattails and vegetation that was well over my head.
 There are nice boardwalks through the more dense wetland areas.
 This goose was munching on plants as I came upon him.
 There were a pair floating in the small pond.
 Buds!!  The first signs of new plant life I've seen this spring.
 A beautiful home sits off on a hill through the cattails and trees.
 A small stream flowing towards the boardwalk, with some green growing beside it.
 Not sure exactly what these plants were but they looked very interesting.
Hiked about 1.75 miles total at Great Flats before heading down the road a couple minutes to the Hudson Mohawk Bike Path at the Rice Road access lot.  This is a nice access point because it provides a nice walk in either direction.  I started east on my way towards Schenectady County Community College.
 My first clear view of the mighty Mohawk River.  This is a view upriver(west) with the Poentic Kill flowing in from under the bike path.
 A look directly across the river to the Isle of Onondagas.
 As the path continues on, it hugs the interstate for a short distance with a view across the road at a General Electric building.  GE is the major employer for the city.
 A look downstream gives a glimpse of the elegant Glen Sanders Mansion in Scotia just beyond the Isle of Cayugas.
 A bend in the trail.  There were many other walkers, joggers and bikers out enjoying the 70+ degree temps.
 There are several islands in this area of the Mohawk, but all of them are inhospitable and heavily wooded.  Here is another view across the river at the Isle of the Cayugas.
  A small park area with benches and picnic tables is found once you arrive at Schenectady County Community College.  From here there are nice views of the river and the Great Western Gateway Bridge.
 A biker soaking in the warm breeze.
 After completing about 3.5 miles to SCCC and back to Rice Road I continued on for .8 miles west to Lock 8 Park.  You first come across the remains of the old Erie Canal Lock 23, which was built in 1842.  It has been very well preserved through the years.  The yellow building in the back is a replica of the original lock keeper's shack.
 Continuing on, there are several nice vantage points to enjoy the Mohawk.  Here is a view of the river and across to the Isle of the Oneidas.
 Just beyond the Island's northern tip you come upon Lock 8. The main purpose of the Lock is flood control and depth control of the river.
 Looking back downstream at Lock 8.
 A view well of Lock 8 from well downstream at a viewing platform.  Maalwyck Park lies on the north side of the river here.
Hiked about 5 miles on the bike-hike path bringing my total for the day to a bit over 6.5 miles.  My feet and legs were a bit more sore than usual because of the pavement.  

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