The Crooked Canes Journal


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First Annual First Day Hike - LeVine Preserve ~ Jan 1, 2014

Journal entry by Wanderer



I hope that everyone had a wonderful New Year, celebrating or just relaxing. I think I can speak for the 21 caners who joined me for our First Annual First Day Hike that we had a great day. I selected Saratoga PLAN’s LeVine preserve, located ~15 miles west of Saratoga Springs, because it would provide for a super wood’s walk and short enough to get people back early enough in case they had things to do in the afternoon. The trails are brand new and just waiting for someone to explore them. We had the good fortune in having Anita and Tom Harris join our group – they are volunteers that provided significant amount of time and labor in constructing the trails we would be hiking on. I knew that it was going to be cold so I wasn’t sure how that would affect the turnout but I received emails indicating otherwise – I found myself smiling when I saw the caravan of cars approaching the trailhead on a road that doesn’t see that much traffic.

It was 12 degrees and that motivated people to get ready somewhat quicker than normal but those that had driven directly to the trailhead were really anxious to get the blood circulating – a group picture would have been too much to ask. There was a snow squall late in the afternoon the day before that coated everything with about an inch of fluffy snow which made the woods look like a winter wonderland. It covered the frozen remains of a previous snow so everyone chose to wear traction aids of some sort just to play it safe. The spirits were high – the long train of multicolored parkas, hats and packs certainly added color to the snow and the greens of the pines and hemlocks and varying shades of grays and browns of the rest of the trees. When such a large group of hikers get together it is difficult to be quiet and enjoy the woods in the same manner as when you hike alone or with just a couple of people - but who could complain – everyone was visiting and laughter was abundant.

It wasn’t long before we had completed our first of four loops and with a short break continued along Joby creek, the smaller of the two creeks that are within the preserve. Along the creek the snow was somewhat deeper but snowshoes would have only been in the way. We soon came to the crux of today’s hike – crossing Joby! The day before I had learned that the creek was impassable but I had to check it out myself. Once confirmed I had to make the decision to eliminate one of the prettiest loops from the route or build a temporary bridge. Off to Lowes’ and after a few hours returned with the materials and tools to complete a crude, but functional plank bridge – finishing it in the dark and during that snow squall that I had mentioned earlier – at least everyone would be safe.

The crossing made for a few laughs, everyone got across and we climbed to the highest part of the trail – an overlook of Cadman Creek. The trail continues along Cadman with pretty views of the fast flowing water, cascading over the many small waterfalls – there was enough flow to cover the ice beneath its surface and showing off a pretty brown color, contrasting against the snow on its banks. Completing the second loop of the day we continued east along Cadman past an old mill site and finished the third loop just in time for lunch!

We followed an old logging road to an abandoned homestead with only its foundation still visible which made for a nice lunch spot. Everyone made their little nest in the snow and out came the sandwiches, hot drinks and leftover holiday treats that were shared. To the surprise of most, one person brought a couple of thermoses of mulled cider, spiked with rum. Quite a treat in the cold! What would New Years be without Champagne – yep – a small bottle was uncorked and shared with anyone who wanted it – Don had passed on the mulled cider because he didn’t want to take out his hands from his gloves but quickly removed them for his glass of Champagne.

We still had a final loop to complete and without too much prodding were on our way. We retraced our tracks that followed Joby creek and turned north at the intersection instead of crossing Joby and made our way back to our cars. Not a bad day – less than three hours to complete all the trails at LeVine and have a leisurely lunch – lots of good conversations, laughter and a really nice outing to celebrate the First Day of 2014!

Peter

14 photos



All Bundled Up and Ready to Go!



OK Pete - stop taking pictures and let's get going - Hi Tom!



First Break



Linda - she loves bridges - NOT!



Dale - practicing her Wallenda Tightrope Technique



One of the many mini-waterfalls on Cadman Creek



Looking Upstream on Cadman Creek



Pretty Cadman Creek



Lunch - sorry Jim!



Lunch amongst the trees



Forest Invaders



Centerline Rd Winterscape



Along Centerline Rd



Frozen Beaver Pond along Centerline Rd




Trails just don’t magically appear they are built by people – some by professional trail crews but many by volunteers. As many of you know I am a member of the trail crew for Saratoga PLAN’s Hennig and LeVine preserves. Along with my fellow trail crew members we offer our time in constructing and maintaining the trails of both preserves – now totaling nearly 14 miles. Those of LeVine were recently marked and a map will soon be available. While I get personal satisfaction from accomplishing the goals for whatever we set, there is nothing that matches the satisfaction that I get form seeing people use the trails and enjoying them – whether a short walk alone or with a group of people out for the day. I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you for making it worthwhile. Peter


Attendees: Diane & Kurt, Katie and Ray, Ray B, Don, Tom, Bob, Barbara, Jo-Ellen, Donna & Peter, Anita & Tom, Gail, Karen Burke, Dale, Jim R, Rose, Joanne, Linda and me.

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