The Crooked Canes Journal


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Plotter Kill Nature and Historic Preserve ~ May 11, 2017

Journal entry by Margie Litwin



On what turned out to be a perfect sunny Spring day the group gathered from near and far with rendezvous points along the way. Thank you, Peter, for helping to coordinate. The parking lot quickly filled with 33 hikers including 5 newcomers to the Canes. As all were rounded up, we heard several say "I've always wanted to come here" or " My last time here was decades ago." Off we went with the leader, ably assisted by co-leader Jim Bornheim to hike this area not visited by the Crooked Canes since 2001. Until then they made numerous visits over the years.

The Almy D. Coggeshall Plotter Kill Preserve of Schenectady County is named to honor a primary organizer who worked tirelessly to acquire and preserve the area for public access. First visits to the area in his youth were in the 1920's. He also helped assure protection of the valuable and extensive Great Flats Aquifer water supply beyond the preserve and was an ADK past president.

The blue loop trail soon led us through the woods, encountering the anticipated squishy mud and puddles. We emerged at the South Rim of the gorge which drops steeply to the creek below. Some inched closer to get a better view of the 40 foot Lower Falls through the trees.  The day was marked with frequent stops for varied views of the creek and multiple falls along with lively conversation exchanged among friends, old and new. Upstream was our first sight of the 60 foot Upper Falls below us.

As the loop ends, stairs allowed us to descend to cross the narrow wooden bridge over the creek. Moving along we chose not to try to test its structural integrity to support the entire gang. Now on the North Rim red trail the mid-Spring flowers were on display. Many chose to take the few steps down to stand at the top of the Upper Falls as the waters disappear suddenly over the rocky edge, heard crashing below. 

On the right a switchback yellow spur allowed us to gradually descend to the creek, an ideal spot by the water to relax for a leisurely lunch. Jim I's tasty treats were a welcome addition. Week after week we visit marvelous destinations to experience the beauty and we today took a few moments of sharing to think of ages past when the terrain was formed and shaped and more recently preserved. A bit of the history and geology of this oft-studied trove for nature study and geological research was noted. The creek within the preserve drops 900 feet over its 3 1/2 miles. Glacial run-off carved the shale and sandstone, in places down to the flat bedrock beneath to form the gorge and falls some 10,000 years ago. 

Jim B then gathered all, offering the option to take on the challenge of exploration near the base of the Upper Falls. Most adventurously stepped out, gingerly selecting rocks to provide a zigzag access over the stream to the far bank. Yet to come was the challenge of a short scramble on the steep creek bank before reaching a full view of the glory of the falls. A few chose a very close up position in its spray.

With all safely returned to the lunch spot, goodbyes were exchanged with some who returned to their cars. Further east the red trail led us up and then down a switchback to the tributary Rynex Creek. We crossed over the bedrock on large stepping stones to get a glimpse at the top of the 40 foot Rynex Falls, looking down to the gorge below.

Saving the greater portion of the preserve to explore another time, we hiked north on the yellow loop toward a smaller, but yet beautiful falls along the Rynex Creek. Large log sections standing in the falls told of past torrents washing down over the rocks. Nobody volunteered to clear them away for a better view this day. 

Steps were re-traced following the rim of the gorge back toward the parking lot. A dislodged camera hood and a few wandering hikers made for staggered departures homeward. Some then chose to take advantage of other area offerings en route.

The obvious draw of the Plotter Kill may lure a future visit to explore the results of the planned $350,00 safety and accessibility upgrades without waiting another many years for the Canes to return.

5/15/17 - Margie Litwin added 1 photo. 5/15/17 - Margie Litwin added 16 photos.

5/17/17 - RayB Bouchard added 5 photos. 5/19/17 - Wanderer . added 18 photos.

40 photos



Single file over the bridge. - added by Margie



Along the gorge many layers of ancient stone are exposed. Here the creek dives over the Upper Falls. - added by Margie



Shelly went for a closer look. - added by Margie



This yellow spur provides a safe access to the creek from the rim above. - added by Margie



Grace, Mike and friend Carey relax over lunch. - added by Margie



Larry looks for stream critters. - added by Margie



Susie and Nancy C appreciate a small cascade. - added by Margie



John D shares his homemade almond cookies with all! Join us anytime! - added by Margie



Terry P is welcomed by Lenore. - added by Margie



Downy Yellow Violets. - added by Margie



Jim B coaches at the crossing. - added by Margie



Peter and Ray explored photo ops. - added by Margie



Red Trillium - added by Margie



Miterwort blossoms in the sun. - added by Margie



Last year's new signage helps avoid trail confusion. - added by Margie



Did you lose something way down there?! "Got it!" - added by Margie



A last late hepatica bloom graces the understory. - added by Margie



Trout Lily, also known as a Dog Tooth Violet - added by RayB



The main Falls was much more impressive from below. - added by RayB



A cliff garden, courtesy of Mother Nature. - added by RayB



Honest Officer! We didn't see the sign from this side. - added by RayB



Margie Litwin enjoying a brief respite with her husband, Larry. - added by RayB



Last minute instructions - notice Kurt is not paying attention - added by Wanderer



Group pic at the trailhead - added by Wanderer



The bus just dropped them off - added by Wanderer



Bridge testing in progress - added by Wanderer



Cascades at lunch - added by Wanderer



Fran and Larry with his handmade cane - added by Wanderer



Part of our group at lunch - added by Wanderer



More of our group at lunch - added by Wanderer



Dale and Bob having a streamside picnic - added by Wanderer



Karen and her new hairstyle with matching colored shirt - added by Wanderer



Larry holding a lunchtime visitor - added by Wanderer



Waiting their turn to cross - added by Wanderer



Margie leading the group on one of the flat sections - added by Wanderer



Joy at the main falls - added by Wanderer



Kurt trying to figure out a route to the top - added by Wanderer



Kurt practicing a new technique to improve his posture - added by Wanderer



Margie leading the group in a new rendition of "Over the River and Through the Woods" - added by Wanderer



Ray took staying ON the trail literally - added by Wanderer




The outing was shared by Jan and Jim B, Linda and Peter F, Diane and Kurt, Lenore and Jack, Joy and Mark, Shelly, Gail, Dale, Karen and Leon, Ray, Fran, Jim I, Jim R, Linda P, Bob A, Susie E, Lori, Karen B, Grace F and Mike M, Scott and the leader. We were joined for the first time by Larry L, Terri P, Nancy C, Carey S and John D.

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