Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Walk - Vischer Ferry Preserve

Today was the first day we'd seen the sun in what seemed like forever, and though it was chilly, it was a day not to be wasted.  After doing some other stuff in the morning, I got out for a walk in the Vischer Ferry Preserve, in nearby Clifton Park.  Days are getting shorter, and I didn't want to drive very far, so this was a good choice.

I  parked at the end of Ferry Road, in the hamlet of Vischer Ferry, and walked east along the old Erie Canal towpath toward the main preserve.  I tried to stay close to the river, but there was work in progress there, related to dredging, so that trail was closed, and I had to backtrack.  Back on the towpath, I soon came to the well-preserved remains of old Erie Canal Lock 19, a double lock built in 1842 during the Canal's enlargement phase.

Leaving the lock, I watched for a trail toward the river, and found one that passed through a very strange and eerie landscape.

There were very large trees here,  but almost no standing underbrush.  The plants were all matted down and covered with downed leaves, except for the occasional masses of twigs, stems, and weeds that were hanging from trees up to 6 feet off the ground.  Then I noticed the high-water marks on several trees, and it all made sense.

High water marks about 6 feet above the ground
There had recently been a lot of water here, probably last fall when Irene and Lee swelled the Mohawk River far over its banks.  That explained the matted down and hanging vegetation.

Finally reaching a puzzling circle of very tall spruce trees, I decided to turn around and head back to the car.  I made it all the way back without having seen another person on the entire walk.

Since it was still early, and I'd be passing right by it anyway, I made a quick stop at Mohawk Landing Park, a small town property with river access for non-motorized boat launching and a couple of picnic tables.  It's only a short walk from the parking lot, and there's a nice view here downstream along the serene Mohawk River.

Then, wanting to beat rush hour, I headed home.  It was a beautiful day to be out, and there's no shortage of places close to home to do just that.

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