Rensselaerville Hike: Hyuck Preserve

Winter snowmelt brings booming spring waterfalls! This is the season to get out there and experience a sensational sight at Hyuck Preserve in Rensselaerville. Years ago I visited this preserve and it was just another hike. That was over the summer, and we must have had a dry year. Just last weekend I visited and was sincerely impressed with this waterfall only 40 minutes outside of Albany.

[From Albany take Delaware Ave all the way down, continue on 85 W towards Rensselaerville, Turn right onto Delaware Turnpike. When you reach town make a right and don’t blink, you might miss the preserve. Right before the bridge there is a gravel driveway which leads to the parking lot and trailhead.]

Walk just a minute or two from the parking lot and you will begin to hear the booming falls and feel the cool water changing the temperature of the air. Walk over the rustic red bridge and you will have a prime viewing spot.

IMG_4716Take in the meditative view and continue on up the short trail towards the right opposite of the old stone Mill ruins to see the falls from a different angle.

IMG_4713These falls take on an odd curving path which makes it hard to capture the view of the whole picture from one spot, but creates a unique memory.

IMG_4721Take another trail and view the upper falls, and the calm before the storm of the lower falls.

IMG_4732This is a fantastic place to come with kids or for people who aren’t hiking experts because it is so fast and easy to get to the main attraction. The preserve is large and has so much more to offer than simply the falls, as spectacular as they are. Creek tributes are plump as pigs and are a beautiful turquoise shining in the sun.

IMG_4735Wildflowers such as Coltsfoot are finally sprouting up awakening from their winter sleep.

IMG_4730There are two bodies of water with trails which run along their perimeters: Lake Myosotis and Lincoln Pond. Lake Myosotis is vast complete with wooded walking trails, a picturesque dam,

IMG_4736and a small swimming section for members. Other than the falls trail, the path around Myosotis is most populated.

IMG_4737There are trails that shoot off to other sections of the park from here which were very quiet. We took Ordway to Race Track to Wheeler-Watson and didn’t see a human soul, but encountered much wildlife and serene beauty. These woods were filled with jungle calls and fleeting sights of the pileated woodpeckers and the scat and tracks of deer. A small possibly seasonal pond housed turtles and a pair of mallards. These trails extend much further out towards the Partridge Path Loops, but we did not have a full day to indulge. From Wheeler a few minutes after passing an old small cemetery,

IMG_4741we crossed the road and came upon Lincoln Pond, a seriously hoppin’ lively habitat.

IMG_4744From down the road we heard the sound of frogs in a deafening chorus, hailing spring on the top of their little lungs. We passed another beautiful dam

IMG_4742and headed back into the woods to find the faces of these very frogs which were so rowdy. We came to the epicenter of the volume, a boggy area. As close as we looked, no frogs would show themselves. We studied the area for a good amount of time, acclimating to the ceaseless clamor, yet no frog appeared. How do they do it? We did however see a few red efts

IMG_4749and some small fish. Ducks swam about in the pond, signs of beaver business was apparent.

IMG_4759Lots of little pools to inspect and many bridges to ford muddy waters. As we completed the pond circuit we came to the Lake Trail West which would lead us back to the parking lot, about over a mile away. We noticed some pipes on a bridge with flip flops tied to them, and realized they were an instrument to jam on!

IMG_4755We had recently seen the Blue Man’s Group at Proctors and made our best impersonations. So much fun, what a special little gem. We had a truly wonderful time at Hyuck. I am so happy to have returned after many years of absence during the abundance of beauty in spring.

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