The Crooked Canes Journal


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Hennig Preserve Hike ~ Nov 15, 2012

Journal entry by Wanderer



Hello Fellow Caners, As evidenced by the attendance to the Hennig Preserve outing this past Thursday the popularity of Crooked Canes events continues to grow. When I first planned this hike I wanted to make sure that I would attract members that aren't able to participate in some of the more challenging events or couldn't fit in a whole day to come out and play. This was done by splitting up the hike into several parts to take advantage of the Preserve's layout, with trails on the north side of Centerline Road and also on its south side - allowing some to leave at different locations. What I didn't expect was how well my plan succeeded. When Linda and I arrived at the trailhead around 9:30 we were surprised that we had already totaled 10 - nice sized group for a hike - but the rest of the group were still on their way from Saratoga, guided by Tom. It wasn't long before the caravan appeared with cars splitting off to both sides of the road to find a parking place. People were spread out getting their packs ready, some already started visiting and after about 10 minutes we had assembled (sort of) for a brief summary of the plans for the day. I gave up on any attempt to take a group picture - I would have needed bleachers to get everyone in it so decided to get the hike underway. Surprisingly Tom and I agreed on the count of 29 - a new record I think but I needed to get going - we would confirm the count later. 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. As we moved along on the white trail there were glimpses of a wetland or two but the size of the group didn't allow too much stopping to take in the surroundings - that will have to wait for another day - this hike was mostly an introduction to the Preserve. We reached the intersection with the yellow trail and the first chance for anyone to head back to the parking lot - Doris and Fred Ludewig decided that they wanted a little more solitude and a slower pace so took advantage of the offer. I told them that we would make sure they made it out safely when we completed the loop. The Canes have an unwritten rule that we would never accept a loss of more than 10% of the group during an outing and so far we have been doing pretty good. We completed the loop and headed back to the parking lot on the yellow trail to find Doris and Fred's vehicle gone - assuming that it wasn't stolen we were still doing fine with no one left behind. As promised, this was another opportunity to depart and we had a taker or two if I remember correctly but a dilemma occurred - Walt Hayes, the trail guru of the Hennig Preserve, had shown up and planned on joining us. With a quick consult with Tom and a few math calculations we adjusted our count for the second part of the hike and were on our way. Not so quick said Etta - she insisted on knowing how far it was to the lunch spot and didn't accept my answer of "about 25 minutes" - apparently there were a few people that remembered that I had said the mileage for the first part was 2 miles but it seemed longer to them. Luckily for me I didn't start my GPS earlier but out of nowhere my friend and pal Jim jumped in with his electronic gizmo that does everything from track airplanes to prepare lunch and said it was 2.62 miles - catching me in a tiny fib - thanks Jim. I explained that I had added the second white trail to the morning hike and tried to defend myself by saying I had only approximated the distance. No one believed me and I had to tell Etta the actual mileage to lunch. 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. In about 22 minutes we were climbing to the long ridge of an esker where we would have lunch. For most, this was their first experience with an esker and found it very interesting to be walking on a long high ridge with steep slopes on both sides when the surrounding terrain was flat or contained some knolls. We picked our spot for lunch on the highest point of the ridge and settled into our nest areas. It wasn't long before we learned that we had an expert on eskers in our very own Joanne Armstrong who volunteered to explain what an esker was - "An esker is a long winding ridge of stratified sand and gravel, formed within ice-walled tunnels by streams which flowed within and under glaciers." Only a small portion of the group was able to hear her lengthy explanation but those lucky enough to be close-by found it interesting. I learned later that she is beginning a speaking tour on the subject of glaciers with her first engagement later that night at Nuway Lunch in Queensbury where her topic will be "The difference between and esker and a moraine." Next, she rushes to the Stewart's in Ausable Forks for a morning lecture on "Glacial Erratic in Florida." I wish her lots of luck in her new found career. Lunch was too soon over and a few more people had to leave but there were still over 20 left for the remainder of the hike. Descending the western slope of the esker we were back hiking on our woods walk and soon were on the green trail - our final leg. To me the green trail is special because it contains the location of my release of the eleven flying squirrels I had taken care of last winter - a very large white pine surrounded by lots of beech and oaks as well as hemlocks and white pines for a variety for them to choose from for both food and shelter. A small stream is also nearby. Nancy was particularly interested in the location I released them - being a wildlife rehabilitator she knows how important it is to select the proper location for the animals she releases back into the wild in order to maximize the chance of their survival and I was looking for her approval on the location I selected. She and Linda were way ahead of me and Nancy had no knowledge of where I released them but when she came upon the large pine she told Linda that this would be a perfect place for their release. That's all I needed to hear - my job had closure. Flying squirrels are nocturnal so there was no chance of ever seeing them while hiking - in my heart I know they are doing fine. We continued our hike through beautiful woods, crossing a couple more streams until we reached the yellow trail again only a few hundred feet from the cars. Everyone seemed to enjoy their visit to the Hennig Preserve - I know I did and hope that some will return for future visits to this wonderful piece of heaven in our backyard. As always - a list of attendees: Don, Tom, Nancy, Claire, Fran, Pat, Ann Wait, Thora, Charlie, Harry, Ken G, Ken Corsetti (returning caner), Diane, Jim R, Jim I, Dale, Susan, Peg (newcomer), Etta, Mary Ellen, Doris & Fred, Linda, Joanne , Lenore, Karen and Leon, and visitors Ann Henderson and Walt Hayes of the Hennig trail crew. Peter BTW - as a member of the Hennig trail crew I have a special bond with the Preserve and would love for you to revisit it - if you would like to return for a visit and need some company do not hesitate to contact me. 11/18/12 - Ken Gericke added 9 photos.

20 photos



The Crooked Canes Train



Doris and Fred Ludewig with Tom



Fran and Pat



Skim Coat of Ice



Just a Little Rest



Hey - Where is the bridge?



Lunch on the Esker - 1



Lunch on the Esker - 2



Lunch on the Esker - 3



The Flying Squirrel Tree



Almost at the End



At the Hennig Preserve trail head...quite a crowd! - by Ken



Event leader Peter (at right in blue jacket)giving some last minute instructions to the large CC turnout. - by Ken



Forest stairway....nice! - by Ken



"Super Wanderer!" - by Ken



On the trail. - by Ken



Elephant stump! - by Ken



Lunch on the esker/glacial ridge. - by Ken



Esker education by Joanne.....Thanks Joanne! - by Ken



Pine Shrine. - by Ken




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 is working with Saratoga County in integrating nearly 400 acres of adjoining land into the trail system. The development of trails is ongoing with a little over 6 miles currently marked and an additional 3 miles nearly completed. 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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