Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Drowned Lands

Tuesday, May 8, 2012
The first European settlers to come to the broad floodplain of the Wallkill River called it the 'drowned lands' because of its frequent flooding. In ever-so-typical Western fashion, they proceeded to drain it and tame it.  Now, in an over-compensation that is also ever-so-typical of Western civilization, the government is undertaking to permanently drown the land and has let the AT pass through on the artificial levees that enforce this drowning.

Starting in 2005, Wallkill National Wildlife Refuge began to convert an old sod farm here to wetlands, and in the process they appear to be abusing the land as much or more than the farmers. Don't get me wrong, this was the most peaceful and beautiful part of my rain-abbreviated day. Just don't call it a natural setting.  Still, I saw some of the wildlife taking 'refuge' here:
And I enjoyed the break from ups and downs and woods and rocks. This part of New Jersey continues to delight me with the variety of settings that the trail passes through. There was a high meadow overlooking the Wallkill valley:
There was nearly half a mile of 'puncheon' - board walking through a wooded swamp. There was almost a half mile of 'rail trail' - fine smooth gravel footing on an old railroad grade. And there was this pretty woods-walk where the trail was lined with buttercups:
The rain moved in at 1:45PM and I moved off the trail, settling for just twelve miles today. With luck I hope to make up the miles in coming days. I have a possible off-trail break planned for the end of May, so have to 'eat trail' before then in order to build up a cushion.

It's hard to believe, but ... well, I'll keep you in suspense ... tomorrow, weather permitting, I'll have a big announcement to make. Stay tuned.


Below is a map of today's route and a link to more photos:

AT Day 118 - Wallkill NWR at EveryTrail
EveryTrail - Find the best Hiking near Paterson, New Jersey

No comments:

Post a Comment