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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Hannacroix Creek Preserve

Got out for a short walk at the Hannacroix Creek Preserve on the Albany County/ Green County line this evening.  Unfortunately, Daylight Savings Time comes to an end this weekend so, with the shorter days I need to start focusing on more local preserves on my work days.  Luckily, there are plenty of nice, local options to choose from.  The Hannacroix Creek Preserve, located just off Route 144 is owned by the Open Space Institute and managed by New Baltimore Conservancy.
 A large parking lot provides trail access.  I began by heading uphill on the Irving Trail.
 Once the trail levels out, it splits and a blue marked trail heads steeply down the ravine to the creek.  There are plenty of opportunities just off the trail to access the clear waters.
 Fast moving waters take turns with slower moving current.

 There are a few small but pretty cascades along the way.
A pleasant view downstream from where the trail arrives at the abandoned Croswell Paper Mill.
 Remnants of Croswell's Paper Mill, which was closed in 1897. 
After a little over half a mile, you will hear the rush of water coming from the falls. Sometimes referred to as "Ravena Falls", the water comes crashing down about ten feet and can be viewed from above on the trail.
 The falls can be viewed from creek level as well, by carefully climbing down off the trail, being sure to watch your footing.
 Trail markings.
 The red trail leads you on a loop through the woods and provides a sliver of a view down to the
Hudson River. 
 After looping back off the red trail, you follow the Irving Trail back to the parking lot, where a trail breaks off and provides access to the Hudson River. The Hudson River Trail crosses Route 144, a sometimes busy two lane highway, so you must take care while crossing.
Once across the road, a boardwalk leads through a large wetland and many cattails.
The World's First Recycled Bridge, crossing a tidal swamp.
 Fleeting daylight over the Hudson River.
 Looking upriver.
A nice, evening walk.  About 2 miles RT.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Hudson Pointe Preserve(Adirondack Foothills)

Visited the Hudson Pointe Nature Preserve, an 83 acre property owned by the Open Space Institute and located in the town of Queensbury today.  You must be vigilant to find this preserve because it is located about a mile into a large residential development.  I was glad to get out and explore on yet another beautiful, warm late October afternoon with temperatures approaching 70 degrees.
 The trail actually starts beyond a large informational kiosk and at the far end of a large field at the top of a set of wooden steps.
A red marked trail takes you high above the steep bluffs over the Hudson River.
 A sea of fallen leaves and pine needles cushion your steps, making for a very pleasant walk.
 There are very steep drop offs down to the Hudson just a few feet away from the trail.
 The mellow trails make an ideal setting for a place to clear your head.
 The red trail leads down off the steep bluffs and eventually down to the riverside.
There are several quiet access points along the river where it looks like a perfect spot to skip a stone.
 A look to the east across the quiet, calm waters of the Hudson.
 Long views across the open water.  Just to the right of this picture are a series of very small islands.
 Unfortunately the low part of the trail near "Big Bay" is completely under water, leaving no possible way to the foot bridge and nice views of the bay.
As I walked around, looking for an alternate version, I soon discovered that even most of the woods were a foot under water.  Sadly, I had to turn back defeated.
 Late afternoon sun setting on the leaf covered trail.
 Fading fall colors amidst the mostly bare woods.
 The Sherman Island Hydroelectric Facility is located just west of the preserve at the northeast tip of Sherman Island.
While nothing too long or strenuous, it was nice just getting out for a relaxing walk along the Hudson.   Walked about 1.3 miles.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Shaupeneak Ridge(Hudson Valley)

After an enjoyable couple of days visiting Kalli's family in Orange County we stopped by Shaupeneak Ridge in Esopus.  Managed by Scenic Hudson and part of the Marlboro Mountains, the preserve offers about 3.5 miles of trails.  A day filled with remarkable sunshine and warm temperatures had us both anxious to get out and enjoy the day.
 There are two parking lots, with the upper lot being the access point to most of the trails. 
 A blue marked trail winds around Louisa Pond, with spectacular views above the water.
 Lily pads and reflections spread out on the placid waters.
 The serene pond almost looks like it belongs somewhere much further north, with a very remote feeling.
Several small paths lead down to the pristine waters.
 Bright afternoon sun shining through the beautiful forest.
 A perfect fall day for a walk.
 A boardwalk leads through a small wetland as the blue trail meanders along.

A red marked trail breaks off the blue trail and crosses quiet Popletown Road, lined by stone walls and fall foliage.
 A small lookout provides a pleasant north view to the Catskills.  The fall colors frame the long distance view.

A short distance further, a much better vista awaits you with east facing views over the Hudson River.
 The town of Esopus and the mid Hudson Valley Region spread out far below the rock ledge.
A perfect autumn day marked by full sun and fall foliage.
 Beautiful fall colors!
A great day to be out and about, we hiked 2.2 miles RT a this Scenic Hudson preserve and wish we could've done more.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Winding Hills Park(Orange County)

While visiting my girlfriend's family in the sleepy town of Montgomery in Orange County today, we stopped by Winding Hills Park to do a short hike.  A 502 acre park, it is mostly pleasant woods walking with 40 acre Diamond Lake as the centerpiece of the park.  Clouds and strong winds marked much of the day.
 There are many winding trails through the woods, with benches available to stop and enjoy the nature.
 Although there are several hills, there are no long distance vistas to be had due to the dense woods.  Although screened, this is the best view we could find. 
 An interesting tree along the way.
 The trails pass along many old stone walls.
 Many leaves have already fallen in the late October woods.
 The sun managed to break through here and there, but the strong winds kept it cool.
 While not a lot of elevation change, there are some hills to be traversed.
 After a distance, we arrived at Diamond Lake's shoreline.
 Late season berries.
Stumps in the shallow waters.
 A quiet spot along the lake shore.
 A panorama of Diamond Lake near the canoe launch.
 Late fall colors along the park roads.
 A couple small hills lead us around the lake.
 Another bench to soak in the lake views.
 Heading back to the car amidst the dazzling fall foliage.
Hiked a total of 3.0 miles RT in quiet, secluded woods.