A Letter from a Friend on the 20 Preserve Challenge

Last month we received a lovely note from a new supporter along with her 20 Preserve Challenge log and several photos of her journey. We asked Vicki for permission to share this– we hope you will find this just as inspiring as we did! Thank you to Vicki for sharing your story, and thank you to your friend Ronnie for spreading the word about MHLC and our hiking challenge.

We are extending the 20 Preserve Challenge into 2022. Who will you inspire to take the challenge?

Hello MHLC!

Vicki B. at her favorite MHLC preserve, Schoharie Creek.

I came late to this party, but I’m glad the challenge was extended through 2021. I had never heard about your land conservancy organization before, or most of the trails, but I really enjoyed visiting and exploring all of them. In another year that has been tough for everyone, this challenge gave me a nice focus elsewhere, and being in these natural spaces really did wonders for my well-being. I also enjoyed it for the excellent bird watching opportunities, which is another hobby of mine that I was happy to combine with this.

Because all of these outings were of such benefit to me, including Bender Melon Farm, I wanted to give back with the minor gesture of $10 per preserve.

Here is the log of all my visits with a few minor notes:


– Fox Preserve – I went with my friend Dana. Loved the broken-down cars and all the old trees.


– Hollyhock Hollow Sanctuary – I liked all the hillside trails. Very peaceful.


– Ashford Glen Preserve – this was fun because I found a pair of baby birds on the ground. I sat several yards away to see if the parents were around and got to see mom and dad Scarlet Tanagers. So pretty! They were very attentive and feeding the babies, so I let everyone be and left them there.


– Bennett Hill Preserve – I liked this trail a lot. Great views and saw lots of birds. The bathtub was fun to see.

– Restifo Preserve – got to this just as remnants of a hurricane were sweeping over the area. Good thing it’s so short! Got to see a Green Heron


– Touhey Family Preserve – the pond is nice and peaceful.


– Schoharie Creek Preserve – great scenery and landscape changes. Saw a Belted Kingfisher in the ravine with the waterfall. The creek was extra full after some heavy rain and parts of the trail were submerged, but that was a fun adventure to get through those parts.

– Mosher Marsh – nice open wetland views

– Strawberry Fields – got to this a little before sunset, was a nice twilight hike (made sure to get out right after dark)


– Normans Kill East Preserve

– Normans Kill West Preserve- nice up-close views of the river. Had some nice peaceful moments seeing some deer walk by me fairly close. 


– Swift Wetland – Went with my brother and his wife. We got to see a momma and baby deer


– Keleher Preserve – This was another adventure. Saw lots of birds and heard a Barred Owl pair. Got myself turned around on the trails and was back at the furthest point out right at sunset. Had to hike out in the dark, hearing some coyotes in the distance. Was prepared with a headlamp and made it to the car just fine.


Vicki’s dad at Holt Preserve

– Phillipin Kill Preserve – I enjoyed the ridge trail


– VanDyke Preserve – a nice little loop

– Schiffendecker Farm – what a hidden gem right behind the Walmart. I never would have known!


– Holt Preserve – brought my dad on this hike for his birthday weekend. Great views on the trail and on the road to the trailhead.


– Bender Melon Preserve – this was a peaceful solo hike for my own birthday


– Winn Preserve – the geology of all the crevices in the rocks was really interesting

– Wolf Creek Preserve – fun little views surprises all over this trail

Vicki’s friend Ronnie at the Bozen Kill Preserve


– Bozen Kill Preserve – had the honor of hiking this with my friend Ronnie. I only found out about this challenge because of her posts on social media. This is another great trail with enjoyable variations in the landscape. The shale cliffs at the end of the trail are very photogenic.

It’s hard to say what my favorite trail was, but I think I’ll go with Schoharie Creek. The resting area with that bench on top of the ridge was just a very peaceful place. [The selfie above is from this visit.]

Thank you all for setting up the challenge and taking care of these beautiful spaces! I’ll be sure to keep visiting them.

– Vicki 

Comments are closed