Sunday, March 14, 2010
A Blustery Day Along the Old Tow Path
No, I'm not trying to fool you. Marsh Marigold won't be in bloom for at least six weeks. It's just that these days are so dark and dreary, I needed to see something bright and cheery up there at the top of my blog. And nothing can match Marsh Marigold for brightness and cheeriness. (This photo was actually taken on May 9, a few years back.)
Here's what today really looked like: chilly and dark, with intermittent showers and a blustery wind that was perfect for flying kites, but not so nice when it crept in under my collar.
My friend Jackie C. had arranged to go for a walk with me, and we weren't going to let a little threatening weather keep us from heading out. The barge canal towpath that parallels the Hudson at Schuylerville was our destination. We started our walk at the Philip Schuyler house, the 18th-century home of the Revolutionary War general who figured prominently in the Battle of Saratoga. You can see the yellow house through the trees that line the old, now defunct, barge canal. Jackie brought her dog Lily along for the walk, a cheerful companion whose silky coat was nice for warming our hands on.
Our path led us over a bridge where the Fish Creek roared over rapids on its way to joining the Hudson.
We passed a number of places where long-ago-fallen bridges had once crossed the Hudson. Their crumbling piers and vine-shrouded abutments still stand as monuments to the hundreds of years of history that happened here.
We walked past the ice-clogged Lock #5 of the Champlain Barge Canal, which in season carries pleasure craft and commercial barges around the Hudson River rapids. A bit further along, we came to the end of our trail, where the barge canal rejoins the course of the river. This perfectly rectangular waterfall is obviously man-made. I have no idea what its function might be. Perhaps it's a dam to increase the depth of the water right here at the opening of the canal.
Someone was braving a paddle in those fast icy waters. The bright orange of his kayak added a welcome spot of color to the dreary landscape.
These alder catkins also provided a spot of color, their rosy hue and nubby texture reminiscent of fancy beadwork. These are the male catkins, which will soon puff out with pollen to fertilize the much smaller female flowers, which are clustered on twigs above.
The magic of computer enhancement provided this final spot of bright color. This is the kite from the photo above, in which it nearly disappeared against the dark sky. Crop it in close, increase the exposure, up the saturation just a wee bit, and voila! Cheerful and bright!