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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Garnsey Park/ LeVine Preserve(Saratoga County) and Van Dusen Preserve(Warren County)

With the day off and no plans, I got out to do some winter walking on a bitterly cold January day.  The temperature was in the low single digits as I left the house, so decided to break up the day into three shorter treks working south to north. Started at 151 acre Garnsey Park, located in the town of Clifton Park, in the hamlet of Rexford.  The easiest access is off Exit 9 of the Northway and follow Route 146 west until you see the sign for the park.  The park was named after one of the town’s founding fathers, Nathan Garnsey, who served as the town supervisor in Clifton Park in the early 19th century.
 A nice memorial is found at the parking lot, beside the trail head.
 Stayed straight on the Bluebird Trail which forms a loop on mostly level trails.
 Early morning sun was doing its best to warm things up.
 Blue skies forever.
 An open meadow provides pleasant views to the south, but also left me vulnerable to the bitter winter wind.
 Tracks through the snow.
 Distant southern views from the open meadow.
 A bench and bright sunshine.
 After leaving the meadow and entering the woods, a Ridge Trail forms a one mile loop. 
 Walked beside the cross country ski tracks through the woods.
 A long and straight section of the Ridge Trail.

Completed about 2 miles of easy but cold walking at Garnsey Park.

My next stop was at the Levine Preserve, located in the town of Providence in a very quiet area of Saratoga County.  The 177 acre preserve, managed by Saratoga PLAN, is a hidden gem in a beautiful natural area just below the Adirondack blue line.  Finding the preserve can be difficult without directions.  Leaving Saratoga Springs, drive west on Route 29 for about 12 miles until you take County Route 16(Barkersville Road) north to Glenwild Road on the left and then another left onto Center Line Rd.  A kiosk can be found in the woods along rural Center Line Road.
 The main trail runs directly north-south on Taber Road, an old woods road.
 The winter woods looked pristine and mostly untouched, making for a very pleasant walk.
 A snow covered evergreen.
 The sounds of babbling Joby Creek can be heard beneath snow and ice.  A small glimpse of running water can be seen through a hole in the ice.
 The temperature held firm in the single digits as a blanket of snow made for a beautiful scene.
 Taber Road comes to end at lovely Cadman Creek, where a pair of benches allow for a nice spot to relax and enjoy the running water.  Much of this creek was also buried under snow and ice.
 Spotted a large opening in the ice on the creek.
 The best view of open water could be found along the East Green Trail, which follows the creek for a distance.
 Saratoga PLAN does a phenomenal job of marking trails and providing trail maps at all intersections and trail junctions.  This was the beautiful winter scene along the East Green Trail.
 Bright sun peaking through the winter woods.
 A short yellow spur trail leads to a large old cellar hole, a reminder of the past.
After completing my very serene walk through the gorgeous woods I headed north one more time to Queensbury.

My last stop for the day would be the Van Dusen Preserve located at the foot of the Luzerne Mountain Range.  Take exit 19 on the Northway and follow Aviation Road west to its end and then follow West Mountain Road north for less than half a mile to the parking lot on the left.
 The afternoon sun made things look nicer than they felt. 
 A red marked trail leaves the backyards of private residences and begins climbing up through pleasant woods.
 There are no clear vistas, but screened views to the east can be seen as the trail gains elevation.
 Another "almost" view out from the trail.  While not anything terribly difficult, there are steeper sections and the elevation gain on the hike is 400+ feet to a high point of 945 feet.
 Several inches of snow illuminated by the bright sun.
 Got back to the car by the late afternoon feeling great.  Walked a touch over 6 miles altogether between all three stops and managed to stay pretty warm.  A very nice winter day!

As I arrived back home, I was treated to a gorgeous sunset over the Albany skyline from Route 4 in East Greenbush.  Just a reminder that even on the coldest winter day's there is light at the end of the tunnel.

1 comment:

  1. Did you see any beagle prints at garnsey park? 😀