Westchester Hike: Arthur W. Butler Memorial Sanctuary

A few weeks back while downstate visiting my family I took a drive to Mt. Kisco, a town in northern Westchester that houses a fantastic preserve. The Arthur W. Butler Memorial Sanctuary

[From I-684 to exit 4 (Route 172) west towards Mt. Kisco. After 0.3 miles, turn left onto Chestnut Ridge Road and go 1.2 miles. Turn right over bridge into parking area.]

has a fantastic trail system including over 5 miles of trails and lots to see along the way. After leaving the car in the parking lot we were on our way, heading right at every trail to create a large loop around the property. At this time sights of spring were just emerging, and new plant growth such as this skunk cabbage looked like it belonged on a different planet!

IMG_4321 IMG_4323Every animal sighting was as special after such a long winter. We saw eastern bluebirds,

IMG_4332yellow warblers, vultures, little fish,

IMG_4326sun bathing turtles,

IMG_4318and heard the deafening chorus of frogs who refused to reveal themselves. The trails were quiet and ranged in all sorts of habitats. For some time we followed a lovely stream which sparkled and gurgled as it cascaded downwards.

IMG_4329There were marshy muddy areas which housed the frogs and new growth,

IMG_4335and wooded areas where the birds were singing. The topography changes moderately throughout the paths, and at one point of higher elevation you can view a waterfall in the distance on private land.

IMG_4331Towards the end of our hike we took the out and back blue trail to the Byram Lake Reservoir, which at the time was still partially iced over.

IMG_4338We watched the ducks float on the lake, enjoyed the sun, and then returned to complete our loop. This preserve is a treasure and holds a great deal of nature to study.

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