Search This Blog

Monday, May 5, 2014

Ann Lee Pond and Albany Pine Bush(Rensselaer Lake/ Blueberry Hill)

May is the month of blooming and greening up in the northeast and the scene in the yard at home certainly proves it.  Dandelions have grown like crazy in a matter of the last day or so with hundreds of them growing in the ever greening grass.
Was out at my car dealership today in Colonie so decided to get in some local hikes while in the area.  My first stop was just down the road near the Albany Airport at Ann Lee Pond.  The blue skies and thick, puffy clouds made for a delightful day to get outdoors.
The pond is not very large, but is pretty and steeped in history.  It was named for Mother Ann Lee, founder of the 18th century Shaker religious community.
The preserve is owned and maintained by Albany County as well as the seven remaining buildings from the community.  Although located in a bustling area today, this land was once all farmland and very rural in nature when the Shakers lived here.
There is abundant wildlife to be found here, as these geese along the pond's shoreline seemed at ease with people.
The trees and bushes are really starting to "green up" in recent days.
The trail is also showing signs of life as the green is beginning to replace the brown on the forest floor.
I'm certainly not a botanist but these flowers certainly caught my attention in a swampy section.  My best guess is that they are Marsh Marigold.
After hiking to the bridge crossing I came to a big orange "Bridge Closed" sign.  The bridge has fallen into despair for quite a while now and I presume is unsafe for foot traffic now.  There were great views out over the pond from the bridge so it's a shame that it is no longer passable.
Found a chipmunk who seemed anxious to hide from me in the hollowed tree.
A constant breeze kept a cool feel in the air, but it was a fantastic day for a walk.
Fern fiddleheads are amongst the first wildflowers on the forest floor.
Ann Lee Pond is very shallow, with a maximum depth of only 4 feet.
The closed bridge, which is showing obvious signs of buckling and curving.
Dandelions are sprouting up through in the grass here too.
Hiked about a 1.3 miles at Ann Lee Pond before heading over to Rensselaer Lake off of Fuller Road, which is part of the Albany Pine Bush.  Rensselaer Lake, also known as Six Mile Waterworks, is the emergency backup water supply for the city of Albany.
Gorgeous skies.
The lake is 35.3 acres in size and has a maximum depth of over 20 feet deep.  It is a popular fishing location as well, where several anglers were trying their hand today.
Sunny reflections.
A robin was dancing around in front of me near the water's edge.
Apple blossoms are blooming beautifully.
More pretty apple blossoms.
I walked along the shoreline for a distance before coming to the interstate bridges, where the lake gets much smaller and becomes two smaller extended pond like bodies of water.  The rush of traffic and interstate signs breaks any sense of solitude.
Just up the hill from this otherwise remote section of paved trail, traffic shuffles by.
A stretch of the paved bike trail, very near the tolls to get on the Thruway.  A foot trail winds through the woods on the other side of the lake in this section.
Hiked along the bike trail for a little over a mile, before turning back.  Even though this section of trail is surrounded by the hustle and bustle of the interstate, even the bridges  carrying the traffic can make for a pleasant scene. Reflections on the lake make for a nice spot.
Trail markers can be found sparingly along this section of trail, but the wide, paved trail hardly allows for any confusion.
An unknown treasure even amongst locals, this is a unique place for the family to enjoy a walk, cast a line or to kayak on quiet waters.
After completing the 2 mile hike at Rennselaer Lake, I headed a little further west to Blueberry Hill East, another section of the Albany Pine Preserve, off of Washington Avenue Extension.  One interesting part of many of the Pine Bush trails is an abundance of sand, which is not found very often in this area.
Early spring foliage reaching for the sky.
The winds seemed to ease just a bit, and it turned out to be a great evening walk.
I followed trails towards Blueberry Hill West where the terrain is more hilly and pretty.  The rolling hills, pitch pines and fields look like a scene from west Texas more than Albany.
Budding trees.
Pitch Pines, the preserves namesake.
I was the only one out on the trails on this beautiful evening, making for a great, quiet and peaceful walk.
From the top of Blueberry Hills are nice views across the rolling fields and all the way to the Heldeburgs to the west.
From the top of the hill, nearby buildings from city life are clearly visible.
One more small sign of spring on the trail.  Almost stepped on these due to their diminutive size.
Evening shadows in the woods, as suburbia sprawls out just beyond.
I surprised this squirrel and even snuck a picture of him, before he scrambled up a tree.
Hiked 1.85 miles at this stop and brought my total for the day up to a bit over 5 miles from my three stops.

No comments:

Post a Comment