Hiking in Plotter Kill Preserve • April 5, 2017
It’s officially waterfall season here in Upstate NY — that wonderful time of year when all the snow starts melting and it rains every other day, resulting in very full waterfalls! While we’ve loved chasing frozen waterfalls throughout the winter, we are more than ready to welcome the change in seasons. I’m crossing my fingers and knocking on wood as I say that though…I’m still looking out for any rogue winter storm to come through and crush my spirits. 😉
A couple weeks ago when Curtis was switching from his night shift to day shift, we decided to go out for an afternoon hike to help him stay awake. (I’m lucky to be able to keep him up past 7 these days, even with a nap!) I found a little nature preserve called Plotter Kill Falls in Schenectady that looked like it had great waterfalls and a nice loop hike, so we went to check it out. There was a short letterbox series there that we set out to find. We parked in the small lot off of Mariaville Road and began hiking on the South Rim Trail.
Sure enough, we soon heard the loud roar from a waterfall, and were able to see the giant falls through a break in the trees. Continuing down the trail was another waterfall of similar size, again with just a small window to view it from above. Curtis found the first box in the series, one that hadn’t been recorded since 2010, only to find that the stamp was missing. The logbook was also damp, so he made the decision to remove it.
After this, we decided to continue down this trail, which would eventually lose elevation and drop down to the side of the creek. We saw on the map that the trail crossed the creek down at this level, then made its way back up the North rim and back to the parking lot, so we assumed that there would be a bridge of some sort as there was back at the beginning where the two trails split. After a very steep and abrupt descent, we were right beside the creek…and there was no bridge. We walked down the trail along the side of the high, rushing water until the signs pointed us across the wide creek, with no way to cross. It simply wasn’t safe — We also knew that because of all the rain that had fallen recently that there was a flash flood warning for the whole Capitol Region of NY and knew better than to risk it. Instead, we turned around and climbed all the way back up that steep hill, all the way back to the beginning of the trail and crossed the bridge here.
While the whole trail to this point had been exceedingly muddy, we found the North rim to be more flooded with huge puddles across the entire trail. However, the views of the waterfalls were much better from this side of the creek. There was also a third equally impressive waterfall that could be seen along this trail. Once again, because of the raging waters, we weren’t able to go very far to complete the letterbox series. We did make it to the location of the second, which seemed to be hidden in a poor location and Curtis was certain he wouldn’t find it. But what do you know…he stuck his hand in the crevice where it was supposedly hiding, and there it was! Found for the first time in 7 years! Or so we thought… Having letterboxed together for several years now, we’ve seen a lot of weird things, a lot of missing or trashed boxes or missing stamps. But today, Curtis found something new: someone else had found this box, and instead of trashing or stealing the box, they had exchanged the box’s stamp with a hand-carved image of their own…an exceptionally disturbing image. Given that the box name was something cute and having to do with hummingbirds, Curtis knew that this didn’t belong here, so we removed this now inappropriate box from its spot (and confirmed with the planter that this was not their work! Haha). Bummer.
After this, we made our way back to the car. I noticed one sure sign that Spring may have finally arrived…in the form of a tick stuck on Curtis’ sweater. UGH! I miss winter already. 😉 Aside from this little mid-week adventure, we’ve taken 2 epic, eventful, and exhausting longer hikes that I can’t wait to write about and share with you soon!
Life at home has been pretty much the same as the past several months…except now instead of Charlotte and I being on the couch under piles of blankets, you can now find us out on the deck and soaking up the sun! Winter may have been hard for us, but it certainly makes us appreciate and take advantage of the warmth even more. Charlotte has been much more content since she can nap outside, alternating between lying in the sun and in the shade. The sunshine just brings out the best in us! I have been working a lot, and I recently discovered an amazing new cookie recipe that I’m literally making every 5-7 days. I guess I’m just very passionate about making sure this family never has to go without sugar. 😉 We celebrated Curtis’ 24th birthday a week and a half ago — at least, celebrated the best we could with him having to work 12 hours that day. (Celebrated with cheesecake…again with the sugar!) He’s in the home stretch for his training, and I’m so proud of him and how hard he’s working, as always. All 3 of us agree that the best part of every day is when he finally gets home. And as always, we’re working on trying to enjoy the here, while also eagerly looking forward to what’s coming — because there’s a lot to be excited about! 🙂