Guest Post: “My First Time Visiting an MHLC Preserve” by Meghan Kelley, MHLC Communications Intern

Meghan Kelley is in her senior year at the College of St. Rose and is preparing to graduate with her bachelor’s degree in English. Meghan is our Communications Intern for the Spring 2018 semester, and she recently joined  Stewardship and Volunteer Coordinator Sawyer Cresap for a trip to our Normans Kill Preserves.

Sawyer writes, “I love taking first-time visitors to the Normans Kill Preserves because they are so accessible and so beautiful. We call these our ‘pocket preserves’ because they are little pockets of nature within the town of Bethlehem; they are a favorite for lunch-time walkers who can quickly drive to the parking lot, walk a few steps, and be immersed in the sights and sounds of the woods. It was wonderful sharing this experience with Meghan and seeing the preserves through someone else’s eyes.”

Meghan shares her experience of the Normans Kill West and East below:

Visiting a MHLC preserve for the first time was a great experience. Even though the Normans Kill West Preserve is in Bethlehem, as soon as I started on the trail, I felt like I was in the middle of the woods. I heard only the calls of various birds and the water of the river. Walking alongside the river was beautiful and relaxing, even in early spring before the plants were in full bloom. Of all the birds I could hear, I only saw a robin and a pair of blue jays in the trees.

The trail was about an hour hike all the way around. It was a great hike for a beginner like me. It was a bit of a challenge with some of the hills, but not overly difficult. Normans Kill West is the preserve with the most bridges due to the high number of tributaries running into the river. Of the bridges, my personal favorite was the musical bridge. The trail itself was well marked, so following it was easy and allowed me to enjoy nature instead of worrying where to step next.

I also had the chance to briefly visit the Normans Kill East Preserve, which is smaller than its counterpart but just as enjoyable to walk through. This preserve also felt like it was in the middle of nowhere next to a beautiful river. Here I managed to catch a glimpse of a red-tailed hawk flying by, which was awesome. The hills at Normans Kill East were steeper, but for a short walk it was quite feasible.

I’m glad I had the opportunity to visit the Normans Kill Preserves. It was awesome to be able to experience nature near the heart of the Capital Region without having to drive very far.

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