The Crooked Canes Journal


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Hennig Preserve Hike ~ Nov 4, 2014

Journal entry by Wanderer



On occasion, we schedule a joint outing with Susan Roberts and the Taconic Hiking Club. These outings have always been very well attended and this past Tuesday's walkabout of the Hennig Preserve was no exception, with 25 enthusiastic adventurers ready to hike. The group met at the primary trailhead, and visited with one another while Susan I to decided on the plan for the day and the route(s) to be taken. There are nearly 10 miles of trail between the Hennig Preserve and the county forest land so there were a number of options to consider. We took a few extra minutes in having everyone introduce themselves but if they have a memory like mine only a few new names would be recalled. Within the group we had the privilege of having Barbara Hennig join us - she was one of the donors of the lands that comprise the preserve. Also attending was Walt Hayes - considered the trail guru of the Hennig preserve - having been there from the start of trail design and construction; and Anita and Tom Harris - two longtime members of the trail crew responsible for the continued improvement and maintenance of the trails. We thank you Barbara for your generous gift and to the trail crew who make it possible for safe travel for all visitors. Starting out on the yellow trail we headed for Round Pond and lunch via the upper white trail. The trails on the north side of the Preserve are mostly level with some ups and downs - typical of many woods in the North Country. These woods haven't been logged in over 60 years and are a fine example of a mature Adirondack forest with some areas consisting of hemlocks and pines of all sizes and other sections of hardwoods of all types. We were able to regroup at the site of the Bronson homestead - all that remains is a cellar hole and a hand dug well but a good place to allow your mind to wander and imagine how life must have been in the 1850's. We then turned onto the upper white trail which took us on a low ridge with some glimpses of adjoining wetlands and more mature forest before rejoining the yellow trail and continuing to Round Pond via the red trail. Round Pond is not part of the Hennig preserve but was originally part of the lands owned by the Hennig's - there is a conservation easement on the lands and currently there is an agreement with the property owners that allow for the trail and a clearing on the shore of Round Pond - a very remote lunch spot. Our group was once again intact and we spent time visiting and reenergizing for the second half of the day. It was at this point that Susan and I had agreed we would split up into two groups - her group would return to the parking lot via the yellow and lower white trails at a leisurely pace while the second group would continue on the yellow trail, cross Centerline Road onto the county forest land and make a large loop back to the cars. We said our goodbyes and 14 of us continued to the southern half of the preserve. The trails on the south side of the preserve are slightly hillier than on the north side and contained a few stream crossings which added some character to the hike; bridges have been constructed since the last time most had visited so dry crossings would be guaranteed. Immediately after entering the county forest the character of the forest changed - the first part of the county forest is actually a pine tree plantation with uniform rows of pines planted, intended for some future logging. Amongst the pines is a grove of tamarack trees, their dying needles glowing in the afternoon sun - deciduous conifer trees that look like evergreens during the rest of the year but are not - they are also known as Larch. We continued hiking on the soft blanket of needles before descending into a tiny valley and crossing the outlet of Round Pond where the trees also changed to mixed hardwoods. We continued on the snake-like trail towards Cadman Creek where we would follow it along its bank for quite a while before coming to one of the stone structures where once stood one of several sawmills built along the creek back in the 1800's (this one was known as the Bronson's sawmill). We stopped briefly to contemplate how it may have looked back then before continuing on, passing what was, until recently, a rather large beaver dam and the newly grown in area that once was their pond. We followed the high ridge above Cadman for a short while with pretty views of the wetland before heading away from the creek and back into the woods. After hiking for some distance we made a brief return to the creek to check out another sawmill site, then the nearby Bronson homestead site with its cellar hole, finally crossing Packer Road and back onto the Hennig Preserve. We were nearing the last leg of our journey for today but still had time for a short detour to what once was the Packer Homestead - another cellar hole - evidence of more life in this remote area back in the 1800's. We reached the intersection of several trails at what I refer to as "Times Square" where members of the group were given the option to return to their cars or continue on the blue trail and visit one of the premiere features of the Hennig Preserve - the esker. Some had commitments and a long drive ahead but we had 8 takers for this final adventure. An esker is defined as "a long winding ridge of stratified sand and gravel, formed within ice-walled tunnels by streams which flowed within and under glaciers."  Within minutes, we found ourselves climbing the slopes of the esker to its ridge and hiking along the long, high mound with steep slopes on both sides. The surrounding forest was mostly flat with a few knolls and had streams on both sides. This was a very unique experience for most, and certainly nice to have as part of the trail system. Reconnecting to the yellow trail once again it was only a matter of minutes before we reached the parking area - to find Barbara taking count of the stragglers - making sure all were accounted for. Susan was also there - waiting for a couple of her group that had joined us and reported that the rest of her group had a wonderful time enjoying the trails of the Hennig Preserve. Until the next time - Peter 11/10/14 - RayH Henrikson added 2 photos. 11/11/14 - Wanderer . added 11 photos.

13 photos



The Group - added by RayH



The place where naughty hikers are put. - added by RayH



Some of the group at the trailhead - added by Wanderer



Regrouping at the Bronson Homestead site - added by Wanderer



View of Round Pond from our lunch spot - added by Wanderer



Peter Wood exploring - added by Wanderer



Lunch 1 - added by Wanderer



Lunch 2 - added by Wanderer



Footpath at the county forest - added by Wanderer



Cadman Creek - added by Wanderer



Trailside cascade - added by Wanderer



View along the esker - added by Wanderer



Relaxing on the esker - added by Wanderer




The Hennig Preserve is the largest land holding of Saratoga PLAN - a land trust operating out of Saratoga Springs. The lands of the preserve were donated to PLAN by the Hennig's in the summer of 2010 with the official opening occurring in August 2011. It consists of approximately 600 acres donated by the Hennig's with an adjoining parcel of 100 acres under a conservation easement. Additionally, PLAN has joined with Saratoga County in integrating nearly 400 acres of adjoining land into the trail system. There is currently total of ~10 miles of trails. Saratoga PLAN is a not-for-profit organization and is always looking for volunteers and of course monetary donations are welcome. If you would like further information please visit their website http://www.saratogaplan.org/

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