Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Walk - Exploring the Christiana Natural Area

This morning after helping Holly with some yard work, I made a stop on the way home to explore a place that's been on my list for a while.  The Town of Glenville acquired the 48-acre lands making up the Christiana Natural Area late in 2008.  The upper reaches of the Indian Kill flow through the wetlands here, and I didn't expect to be able to go very far because of the wetness.  But the town has done a lot of work and a great job laying out trails here that mostly stay relatively dry, recent wet weather notwithstanding.

The trailhead, kiosk, and parking area are on Onderdonk Road, just northwest of Droms Road.  The white line above outlines the property, and the blue and yellow dots represent the two trails.  I started out by walking the blue trail along the eastern edge of the wetland, hoping to do a loop and return via the yellow trail.

Near the trailhead, a couple of bridges had washed downstream in a time of higher water.  These two streams were narrow enough to jump across and continue on.

Approaching an area of open water behind a small beaver dam, I scared up a bunch of mallards who were obviously surprised to see me.

Open water, minus ducks
The bulk of the area within the trail loop is a large marshy area, with lots of birds flying around.  The trail here was mainly wide and grassy, and occasionally wet, as it followed the edge of the marsh.  A lot of work has been done to clear shrubs and smaller trees to open up these trails.

Soon, I came to the stream crossing at the northern end of the preserve, where the blue trail changes to yellow on the other side.  There was no bridge here, and it was too cool to swim, so I turned around and headed back.

Reaching the start of the yellow trail, I followed it along the western edge of the marsh.  This trail was farther back from the marsh in open woods, and somewhat less wet for the most part.  I found the views from the blue trail much more interesting.  Soon I was standing across from where I'd been a few minutes before, at the end of the yellow trail at the same stream.

Heading back to the car, it was clear that this preserve is still a work in progress, but a lot of progress has already been made.  Kudos to the town for acquiring this gem, and thanks to Mr. Christiana, its namesake, for deciding to keep it as open space.

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