Don't be fooled by the clear blue sky above the towering Saratoga Battle Monument. I actually took this photo on an earlier, sunnier day than this past cold and drizzly Wednesday, when my friend Sue Pierce and I parked at this Schuylerville monument to take a walk on the nearby Victory Woods trail.
It strikes me as somewhat odd that this woodland would be named Victory, since it was here in 1777 that British troops and their Loyalist supporters retreated after their sound defeat at the Battle of Saratoga in the Revolutionary War. But as they say, one side's defeat is another's victory, and the victors got to name the woods where the defeated ones -- starved, exhausted, and with many wounded -- took refuge, hoping to escape back to Canada with the remnants of their army. As part of the Saratoga National Historic Park, the trail now named Victory Woods passes through wooded acreage where the British hunkered down in misery, and a number of informational signs are posted along the trail, describing the history of the place. Four years ago, I posted a blog entry about Victory Woods, which you could visit by clicking here to learn more details about this site and its military history. As for Sue and me, we were here on this soggy day for a nature walk instead of a history lesson, and so we set off through the adjacent cemetery to reach the trailhead a hundred yards or so from the parking area.