The Crooked Canes Journal


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Hennig Preserve Hike ~ Jan 9, 2014

Journal entry by Peter for Susan



I was told to expect a large turnout for the ever popular Hennig Preserve but the skeptic in me found it difficult to imagine that we would have 30 enthusiastic hikers show up – especially for a winter hike. Perhaps because it was a joint activity with the Taconic Hills Hiking Club or was it just cabin fever. Regardless, I am certain that our leader, Susan Roberts, was just as surprised to see the shoulder of Centerline Road lined with 16 cars!

With such a large group, preparation time varies a great deal, with some people chomping at the bit to get moving while others are still saying hello or putting on their Microspikes. By the time everyone is ready some had already departed to the kiosk so we have to forget about a group picture – again. The numbers fly as Tom Gibbs counts each person as they pass - I think he finally has a system to get the numbers correct from the start – thanks Tom. Susan and I had discussed the plan for the day – she and the rest of the Taconic group would remain on the northside trails and complete about 4 miles; those that would like to continue to the southside trails would complete ~6 miles - exploring the county forest and the rest of the Hennig Preserve. The Hennig Preserve is perfect for custom designed outings – with options of short, one hour hikes to those that take all day.

It didn’t take long for us to string out into several smaller groups which made it much more enjoyable than one single, platoon sized group– marching thru the woods. The 14 inches of light, powder snow that blanketed the forest floor less than a week before was now nothing more than a few inches of semi-frozen, crunchy crust thanks to the rain and warm weather. The trail itself was a blend of hard packed snow and icy patches – with evidence of ski tracks temporarily frozen in time. Our first stop would be the Bronson cellar hole – a homestead, circa 1850ish – with only the remnants of the foundation and hand-laid stone well remaining. It was also a chance to enjoy a short rest and for me to introduce two of the trail crew members that helped in the construction and now assist in the maintenance of the nearly 10 miles of trails on the Hennig Preserve and adjoining county forest – Tom Harris and Barbara Hennig. Not only is Barbara an active trail crew member she is also one of the persons responsible for gifting the land to Saratoga Plan.

We continued on the main trail until we got to the upper white trail which took us off into the northern most section of the preserve before returning to the main trail once again and onto Round Pond and lunch. The shore of Round Pond is overgrown with mostly hemlock and although a small section had been cleared for viewing it wasn’t designed for such a large group. We split up into at least 3 groups and had a lengthy lunch – some enjoying the sun while others the shelter of the forest. Lunch finished, we are back together again and on our way to the main trail where 18 decided to join Susan and return to the parking lot, staying on the northside of the Hennig Preserve, while 11 others and I chose to take a longer route and explore the southern section of the preserve and the county forest. According to Susan the return hike went well deciding to take the lower white trail back to the kiosk.

I have to admit the smaller group was a lot easier to keep track of as we made our way thru the county forest towards Cadman Creek, with no let up in the visiting. To our surprise, the two resident dogs from an adjoining property that had joined us earlier in the day continued exploring with us, completing many more miles than we did – often running ahead or exploring the woods adjacent to the trail. This was the first winter for two new bridges constructed to cross Round Pond outlet and made what were previously precarious crossings - walks in the park. We made good time enjoying the walk along Cadman Creek, clogged with mini ice dams and choked with snow. We stopped briefly at two of the old sawmill sites and wondered what they looked like when they were operating. Soon we were walking away from Cadman and towards our cars with one final decision to be made – should we explore one of the side trails or head directly back. It was apparent from most of the facial expressions and some of the low growls that we had enough and it was time to call it a day – a beautiful day I might add.

Peter

1/13/14 - Ken Gericke added 4 photos.

19 photos



Pause in the Action



Casual Glimpse 1



Casual Glimpse 2



At the Preserve's Highpoint



Looking For a Lunch Spot



Lunch in a Sunny Spot



Dale trying to figure out what happened to this tree!



Squirrel's Dining Room



Cascade on Cadman Creek



Enjoying Some Sun at One of the Sawmill Sites



2nd Bridge Crossing



Barbara Testing the Bridge



Barbara Giving Her Approval



Beaver Dam on Cadman Creek



Ice Formation



Peter, the eternal optimist, trying to get the attention of 30 Crooked Caners - added by Ken



Is that Claire? - added by Ken



Jim Ralston enjoying the warming sun. - added by Ken



Barbara Hennig, our host and donor of this beautiful acreage to Saratoga County..... Thank You Barbara. - added by Ken




During one of the rest stops I introduced Tom Harris and Barbara Hennig as trail crew members. Regretfully, I neglected to mention that both Dale and Susan joined the trail crew on a number of occasions both at the Hennig and LeVine Preserves – I apologize.

If you would like to learn more about the Hennig Preserve please visit Saratoga PLAN’s website: http://www.saratogaplan.org/HennigPreserve.htm

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