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Friday, January 23, 2015

Swift Wetland Preserve/ Phillipin Kill Preserve/ Ashford Glen(Capital Region)

Got out and explored three local preserves this afternoon after work, on what turned out to be a pretty nice January day.  All three preserves are owned and managed by the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy, which does a phenomenal job protecting land and to date has preserved over 3000 acres locally, with 1700+ acres open to the public.  Started at the 21.6 acre Swift Wetland Preserve which is located in a residential section of Delmar just off Delaware Ave.  The preserve can be accessed by following Evelyn Drive until its end.  The yellow trail starts just past a very nice kiosk and wanders through woods that are surrounded by residential neighborhoods.  All the trails are level and make for easy walking.
 A one acre man made wetland was built to help compensate for the natural wetlands that were filled in.
 The preserve was created to protect remaining wetlands after homes were constructed on neighboring parcels.
 The trail is usually very damp, but mostly crusty snow and ice now.
 A blue marked trail continues south all the way to Route 443(Delaware Ave), where traffic can be seen rushing by.
After leaving Swift Preserve I headed just a little further down Delaware Ave to the Phillipin Kill Preserve.  This 20 acre property is located off of Fisher Boulevard and designated parking can be found in the Mansions Apartment parking lot.

Just beyond the kiosk, the trail drops quickly down a steep slope where icy footing can cause problems.
 The late afternoon sun shining down on the small footbridge, which crosses an unnamed stream.
 The small, unnamed stream in a blanket of snow and ice.
 The "natural" feel of the preserve is somewhat limited by the Mansions Apartments, which hover over the steep banks of the wetland.
 The preserve's trails wind up and over a small ridge line, where snow holds firm in the lower, shaded areas, and bare ground is found on the upper slopes.
 There re over 1000 feet of frontage on the Phillipin Kill, which can be readily seen just off the red marked trail.
 Most of the Kill was completely frozen over, although the sounds of running water could be faintly heard beneath.
 There are even a couple of benches to stop and soak in the beauty of the mixed upland, floodplain and wetland.
Both of these preserves make for nice, short walks and are accessible to many people, giving almost a "town park" like feel.  After leaving Delmar, I drove a little north to the Colonie/ Niskayuna town line where I visited he Ashford Glen Preserve.  Another small preserve, this 11.5 acre glen is found just west of Latham by continuing on Troy-Schenectady Road to Vly Road, where a right onto Brookhill Road and then another right onto Cascade Terrace leads you to Ashford Lane.  You must look carefully to find the preserve, where a wooden fence is located in the woods.  Parking is along the road near the fence.
 The trail immediately drops into the shaded glen, where evergreens dominate.  It is noticeably cooler once you are in the glen.
 The Vly Creek, a tributary of the Mohawk River runs along the very bottom of the steep banks.
 The trail is straight and easy to follow, basically following the creek south along its banks.
 Felt nice to get out for a couple miles of easy walking on a comfortable, sunny mid winter day.  As I headed home, I stopped to take in the sunset just beyond the Albany Airport in Colonie.

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