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Thursday, January 8, 2015

Schenectady County Forest Preserve

Following a morning of dangerously low wind chills, the afternoon's temperatures in the mid teens felt comparably pleasant, so I opted for a short walk after work in the hills of Schenectady County.  The 102 acre Forest Preserve offers a nice mix of habitats amongst its 3+ miles of trails, as well as remnants of a farming community from over a century ago.  This land was at one time owned and farmed by James Duane(the town's namesake) and was a "great lot" back in the 18th century.  Even today part of his farm house foundation remains, but would be hard to find under the winter snow. A small parking lot just off of Lake Road in Duanesburg provides trail access.
The first part of the trail showed signs of footprints but most of the Preserve remained untouched since the last snowfall.
 A man made pond was dug here in 1982.  All that could be seen on this cold winter day was a blanket of snow covering the ice.
 I followed the blue marked trail which forms a 1.5 mile loop all the way around the Preserve. There were several areas of blowdown, which forced me to go well off the trail to get around it.
 Even with the bright afternoon sun doing its best to warm things up, the temperature held at about 15 degrees, with much colder wind chills.
 A couple of small streams run through these woods and can be easily crossed on small boardwalks.  In the dead of winter, however, there was no need to worry about getting wet.
 Stone walls deep in the woods are yet another reminder of the past.
 A new green marked 1.3 mile trail was added to the Forest Preserve in 2011, part of an Eagle Scout project.  I followed this for a short distance before severe blowdown forced me to turn back.
 A nice wooden footbridge provides a good view of the pond and surrounding wetland.
 Fleeting sunlight.
 Red pines reaching skyward.
 Walking through the avenue of the pines.
 A small side path leads to a very old 19th century cemetery.  Although hard to read, the headstone I found was for Daniel Wiggins,who had bought land from Cornelius Duane and was laid to rest here in 1828.
 Finishing the last leg of today's walk, enjoying the last of the day's sunlight.
 A red pine plantation thrives near the trailhead and parking area.
Walked a total of about 2 miles RT on a very cold winter day.  Bundle up!

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