The Crooked Canes Journal


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Hennig Preserve and Saratoga County Homestead Forest Hike ~ Feb 18, 2016

Journal entry by Wanderer



Despite poor skiing conditions at Brookhaven Golf Course we were able to salvage the day with a nearby hike of the Hennig Preserve and Saratoga County Homestead Forest – located just west of Saratoga Springs in the Town of Providence. With temperatures in the mid 20’s and a sunny day predicted I wasn’t surprised when twenty-nine people showed up at the Hennig sign for this outing. What did surprise me was that Barbara Hennig stopped by to say hello just as I was discussing the plans for the day. Barbara is one of the family members that donated the land of the Hennig Preserve back in 2010 to Saratoga PLAN, a community-based conservation organization that owns and maintains the preserve. The 600-plus acres of conserved forest land is dotted with streams and wetlands, with nearly ten miles of hiking trails open to the public (including the trails on the nearly 500 acres of the adjacent Homestead Forest). The trails allow the visitor to pass the sites of old homesteads, charcoal-making pits and mill sites along Cadman Creek, as well as experience walking on a glacial formation known as an esker. BTW - Barbara is also a trail steward that helps maintain the trails and in our group were trail stewards Anita and Tom Harris – thank you for volunteering your time and all your efforts in maintaining the network of trails.

The decision was made to visit the southern portion of the preserve today with a thru hike planned that would end a mile down the road at the eastern trailhead. After a return from a transfer of cars to the other end we were off, with our first destination the spur trail that leads us over the spine of the esker. While eskers are quite common it is a unique experience to walk on one that is so close to where we live and many people had questions. Unfortunately, with such a large group, we were not able to ask Joanne to tell us about them until later in the day. She is an expert on eskers and has studied them in great detail – I bet you didn’t know that. Please Google for detailed information if interested.

Continuing on the yellow marked trail, which circumnavigates both the south and north sides of the preserve and county lands, we took a small detour to visit the Packer cellar hole – remnants of a family home circa 1850. From there we entered the Homestead Forest Land with the trail leading to the ridge overlooking Cadman Creek. The trail continues in a generally eastwardly direction for quite a long distance along the creek, allowing glimpses of it now and then.  Our next stop was the old Williams sawmill site – an active sawmill back in the mid 1800’s. You needed to use your imagination to visualize how it must have looked back then – nonetheless, a bit of local history in a beautiful place.

People were asking about lunch but it was still going to be a few more minutes – we had to cross the first of two bridges over the outlet of Round Pond, stop for a visit at Mrs. Bronson’s cellar hole and the nearby sawmill she owned on the banks of Cadman Creek. This mill site, while much more intact than the previous one, still required imagination of how it looked back then and what must have been involved in its construction. Ok, the hikers were becoming restless and wanted to stop for lunch and within a few minutes we were at a beautiful cascade on Cadman Creek and they got their wish. The sun was bright but quite woodsy in this area which required everyone to spread out to find their perfect spot between the trees and still get a view of the cascade and be in the sun at the same time.

After a long while, as if on cue, packs were being put on, lunch over and we were on our way again. From the cascade we headed east for s short distance and then almost due north, hiking through beautiful woods of evergreens of all types and mixed hardwoods here and there. Eventually, we crossed the second bridge over the outlet of Round Pond, hiked through a plantation of white pines, then through a small grove of tamarack trees before reaching our waiting cars on Centerline Road. It was still early and as the group gathered around to listen to options for additional hiking, Joanne was asked to give her lecture on eskers. She must have done her homework because we were in for a treat – information about what an esker is, how they are formed, where they are located throughout North America and much more - thank you Joanne – one of the highlights of the day!

As options were being discussed regarding hiking or calling it quits for the day fourteen of us decided to continue hiking on the north side to the Round Pond loop trail, adding ~1.8 miles and about 1½ hours hiking to the day while the rest elected to return to their cars at the Hennig sign ~1mile down the road. They must have had some energy left because they chose to walk the road rather than accept rides from Don and others who had their cars parked here. Meanwhile, the diehards started their trek to Round Pond. The yellow trail to the Round Pond trail is flat at first then gains a bit of elevation to the junction of the red trail and the highpoint of the preserve – a nose-bleed causing height of 1620’. The Round Pond trail is partly on the Hennig Preserve and an adjacent parcel that Saratoga PLAN holds a conservation easement on and has entered into an agreement with the land owner to allow for the creation and maintenance of this loop trail – one that takes us to the edge of the wetlands bordering the pond with glimpses of it from the shore. We didn’t stay too long – the viewpoint was in the shade and it was getting colder. Back at the junction of the yellow trail there was more discussion on whether to return the way we came or continue to the Hennig sign via the yellow trail – adding another 1.5 miles and another hour of hiking. As before, some elected to continue on the yellow trail to the sign while the rest of us, hiked back the way we came in.

You would think that the story ends back at the cars, saying goodbye and telling everyone “see you next week” but when we returned to the cars at the eastern trailhead and shuttled the drivers to the sign to pick up their cars Linda and I invited our group to visit our nearby camp and see what I have been spending a good part of last year working on. It is only 2 miles from the trailhead and located on the inlet to Lake Nancy. A secluded little parcel with a shed, large gazebo and a cabin – hidden from view from the road, yet easily accessible. A visit to the shoreline found Joanne testing the smooth ice for potential ice skating and already making plans for a Canes picnic of some sort after a hike on the Hennig or Levine Preserves – looks like I better finish all the work that still has to be done!

Great outing today – I hope everyone enjoyed it, Peter

2/19/16 - Joanne . added 10 photos.

2/20/16 - Margie . added 2 photos.

2/24/16 - Wanderer . added 20 photos.

32 photos



Peter and Karen - added by Joanne



Liz, Diane, Gail, Cathy C, Margie - added by Joanne



Jim and Peter - added by Joanne



Shelly, Liz, Margie, Karen, Jan, Kirk, Linda, Barbara, Denis, Ed, and Don (and that isn't even the half of it!) Viewing the old basement remnants of long ago inhabitants. - added by Joanne



Nate (Sam's grandson), Kirk, Claire - added by Joanne



Gnome home with a stove pipe out the top? Probably not according to Peter. - added by Joanne



Don on top of very old bridge abutment. Don't jump! - added by Joanne



Some mighty beautiful brooks and streams along the way on a mighty fine day. - added by Joanne



Group crosses a bridge, made by Peter (and the trail crew), after he cut the tree down and built an 80' tram to transport the tree down to the proper location. Thanks Pete! - added by Joanne



A few of us dropped by "Camp Benson" to check out Peter and Linda's new summer place. Mighty fine! - added by Joanne



Delicate pendulous icicles on the stone bridge structure overlooking the old mill site. - added by Margie



The frothy, tumbling stream caught in still-action around this rock. - added by Margie



How to block traffic on Centerline Road - added by Wanderer



Descending the esker - added by Wanderer



Careful there Ruth! - added by Wanderer



Cadman Creek at the old beaver dam - added by Wanderer



Denis and his daughter Kate - added by Wanderer



Cathy stopping for a picture - added by Wanderer



Sam and his grandson Nate - added by Wanderer



Packer cellar hole - added by Wanderer



Ice formations on Cadman Creek - added by Wanderer



More ice formations on Cadman Creek - added by Wanderer



Cascade on Cadman Creek - added by Wanderer



Lunch 1 - Along Cadman Creek - added by Wanderer



Lunch 2 - Along Cadman Creek - added by Wanderer



Lunch 3 - Along Cadman Creek - added by Wanderer



Bridge crossing with hiker jam over Round Pond outlet - added by Wanderer



Joanne's esker lecture - pay attention - there will be a test! - added by Wanderer



Linda and Ed - added by Wanderer



View of Round Pond - added by Wanderer



The diehard hikers at the Hennig Preserve highpoint - added by Wanderer



The Highpoint - added by Wanderer




Attendees: Don, Ed, Sam & his grandson Nate, Denis and his daughter Kate, Anita & Tom, Gail, Liz, Claire and Kirk, Diane, Ruth & Jim, (estimated distance of 4 miles); Diehard hikers - Shelly, Jan & Jim, Karen B, Karen & Leon (estimated distance of 5.8 miles); Diehard hikers and visitors to Camp Benson - Barbara, Lynn, Fran, Joanne, Margie, Cathy C, Linda & Peter (estimated distance of 4.8 miles).

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