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Thursday, February 18, 2016

Kinderhook Creek Nature Preserve(East Nassau)

Went for a nice evening walk at the 80 acre Kinderhook Creek Nature Preserve in a rural corner of the town of Nassau.  I had been here before, back in June, prior to the trails being completed and realized what a treasure this place was then.  Today, on a blustery winter day, I came to appreciate this preserve even more.  The Rensselaer Land Trust has done an amazing job, cutting and marking many trails throughout these woods.  I pulled into the empty, somewhat icy parking lot about an hour before sunset.
I started on the main trail, which is an old woods road, marked in white that heads east and then south, passing several trail junctions along the way.
Followed a orange marked trail briefly north up to the top of a small plateau that overlooks a wet area.
Turning south onto the orange marked trail, which provided glimpses of the fleeting late afternoon sun through the trees.
Eventually met up with the black marked SAY trail, which climbs steeply up a hill and then comes careening down an even steeper slope towards the creek.  Footing can be treacherous here, and even worse in wet or icy conditions.
Walking north along the SAY trail beneath towering boulders and paralleling the creek.  The trail never goes directly to the creek, but there are many opportunities to walk the 15-20 feet through the woods to the water.
A small section of rapids on the Kinderhook Creek.
An intimate look at a beautiful stretch of quiet water on the creek.  Public fishing is open here, so I would expect this to be a popular spot come spring and summer.
The SAY trail eventually bends to the left(west), away from the creek and then closely follows an unnamed winding stream, which eventually empties into the Kinderhook.
 As the sun set, I walked hurriedly along, trying to get out of the woods before the darkness really set in.  In my haste, I almost missed a racoon walking only a few feet away from me.  When I slowed down to get a look, he quickly scurried away, trying to get away from me as fast as he could.
At the end of the SAY trail I picked up the white trail again, heading generally west towards the car, with a tiny break on an orange trail before arriving back onto the white again.  This lead me straight out to my car.  As I emerged from the darkening woods, I noticed a nice view of the moon under crystal clear skies.
Felt fantastic getting out for about an hour on these fabulous trails.  As stated earlier, some of these trails(especially the SAY trail) have some short, but steep sections with tricky footing, so please be careful.  A trail map is found on the kiosk, and paper versions are available to take along as well.

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