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Sunday, March 29, 2009

An Early Spring Trip on the Link Trail

A day like late June in CNY, even though it's really late March. All snow is gone from the trail, even in the hedgerow from Ingalls Corners Rd. to the old rail corridor.

Six people from the Bullthistle Hiking Club (from Norwich, NY) and two guests from the CNY Chapter of the North Country Trail Association started hiking about 9:30 am after having spotted cars at Mt. Pleasant Rd. parking area--our destination.

I'm out to just enjoy the trail after having spent the last 10 years building trail, but I can't stop myself from noticing that Steve and Mike's brute work on creating stone steps from the edge of the escarpment down to the old rail bed have held up well over the winter.

We turned north past the abandoned quarry and paused to wonder over the stone structure looming over the taril---what was it for? Lime kiln? Support for a (wooden) water tank for the steam locomotives?

There were a few tiny coltsfoot on the barren March ground and as we approached the Quarry Rd. crossing I noted with pleasure that the buzzards are back. All summer they spiral and float along the edge of the escarpment here, riding the rising air waves. There are usually half a dozen or more; today we see two.

There is a new wind generator right next to the trail. One of our member trail workers has installed it behind his house. Though we can feel no breeze at our level on the trail, the blades and turning fast and quietly.

Soon, the trail swings east and we are in the very bottom of a valley drainage, with wetlands and small streams on each side. The stream are the upper waters of Canastota Creek and we marvel how they (in the 1800's) built a railroad here, in a wetland, in the very apex of the valley's drainage. And the sky looked like a laute June sky...

East of Nelson Rd., at the base of the ledges, we found a few hapatica already in bloom. What marvels! We had lunch at the waterfalls on the outlet to the old Canastota Reservoir. Had to believe this was onece the water supply for the village. It'd almost filled with sediment now and is only a pond. Remnants of concrete conglomerate just belwo the dam, and traces of a wagon road on the other side suggest that a road once crossed on the earthen dam.

We were at Mt. Pleasant Rd and our cars before 2 PM, even with the liesurely lunch and stopping to look at marvels along the way.

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