Summer Hike-a-thon offers free outdoor fun

— Photo from the Mohawk-Hudson Land Conservancy
Something for everyone will be offered at the July 20 Summer Hike-a-thon.

BETHLEHEM — On Saturday, July 20, the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy is hosting a free Summer Hike-a-thon. This day-long celebration allows each participant to design an ideal summer day with free activities throughout the morning and into the afternoon with an emphasis on hiking and outdoor fun. 

Eight locations are being highlighted as representative of the conservancy’s 18 public preserves, covering 2,500 acres, which had over 15,000 visitors last year.

“We are particularly excited this year to offer two special tours — Wolf Hollow/Hoffman’s Fault in West Glenville and the Heldeberg Workshop in New Scotland — as these private lands are not normally open to the public,” said the conservancy’s director, Mark King, in a release on the event.

Free activities include a plein air painting workshop, mountain biking, a Fun Ride on the Albany County Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail, geology, botany, and history hikes.

Spaces are limited. To learn more and to register for an outdoor adventure, visit Online registrations close on Wednesday, July 17, but there will be a registration table at the MHLC office at 425 Kenwood Avenue in Delmar at 9 a.m. on the morning of Saturday, July 20, for the public to come and sign up for a hike that day. 

Free guided outings will be offered at these locations:

— 1. Wolf Hollow | Geology, Flora, and History Hike | West Glenville

One of the most significant spots in the Capital Region for geology, flora, and history, Wolf Hollow at Hoffman’s Fault has been closed to the public for nearly a decade, except by special permission of the county. Walk through the hollow and along the Chaughtanooda Kill, with specialists to explain the dramatic landscape and contrasting ecosystems, describe the hollow’s place in Native American history, and provide an update on efforts to open the hollow to the public year round;

— 2. Heldeberg Workshop | Botany and Amphibians | New Scotland

Enjoy a family-friendly guided hike at the Heldeberg Workshop in the town of New Scotland. This exclusive hike on private property will explore the beauty of the Conservancy’s Helderberg Conservation Corridor. Enjoy unique, scenic views of the Helderberg escarpment from below and there may be sightings of red efts or other amphibians. Waterproof hiking boots, galoshes, or knee boots are recommended if you want to actively participate in search for salamanders and frogs, but are not necessary;

— 3. Bozen Kill Preserve | What plant is that? How to identify our local flora | Altamont

Ever want to know how to identify our local flowers and trees? Come on a botany hike at the Bozenkill Preserve to learn about plant identification resources (books and online) and how to use them. Have your own identification guide? Bring it along and we can discuss how to use it. Or you may borrow one of our identification guides. We will identify, step by step, plants we find along the hike;

— 4. Huyck Preserve | Wildlife Hike | Rensselaerville 

This MHLC Partner is located in the scenic hamlet of Rensselaerville and has been connecting people to nature for more than 80 years. Enjoy a guided wildlife hike on a portion of the 12 miles of trails which ramble through 2,000 acres of forest, field, and wetlands, and past the Rensselaerville Falls, which cascade over 120 feet. The hike will conclude with a visit with some of the preserve’s educational animals. After your hike, stay for the afternoon and enjoy Lake Myosotis, which is open to the public for kayaking and canoeing as well as fishing;

— 5. Keleher Preserve | Mountain Biking | Voorheesville

Join mountain bikers from across the Capital Region to explore the conservancy’s first preserve to open to mountain biking. The varied terrain, perfect for all riders, offers something for everyone. From 10 until 11 a.m., advanced bikers can enjoy the loop at a faster pace. Casual bikers will be welcomed at 11 a.m.;

— 6. Indian Ladder Farms | History Walk | Altamont 

Explore the origins of Indian Ladder Farms. Founded in 1916 by Peter G. Ten Eyck, the grandfather of the current owner, Indian Ladder Farms began with the purchase of the Andrew Smith farm; this original farm house is located at the far end of the current parking lot. The original Smith barns across the street from Indian Ladder Farms have since been converted to a house. Over the years, as the farm began to grow, additional adjoining farms were purchased and the land was united to create Indian Ladder Farms.  This tour will educate participants on the fascinating history of the farm while exploring its buildings and nature trails;

— 7. Van Dyke Preserve | Plein Air Painting Workshop | Delmar

This Watercolor Plein Air Painting Workshop with art educator Kevin Kuhne takes place along the Phillipin Kill stream. This session will include a short hike, demonstration, and individual sketching and watercolor with individual instruction and critique. People with any level of experience are welcome, but some basic, previous use of watercolor is needed. The workshop will focus on design and composition in a woodland interior, making a value plan in your sketchbook, basic watercolor techniques, and executing one or two small watercolor sketches. This four-hour workshop will include a 30-minute break for lunch.  Participants will be required to supply and carry their own folding chair or stool, backpack, portable easel, painting supplies, and a bag lunch. A more formal supply list will be emailed upon registration; and

— 8. Albany County Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail | Fun Ride (accessible) | Delmar

The Albany County Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail is a popular venue for walking, jogging, bicycling, and more. Bring your favorite set of wheels and helmet and join your community for a family fun ride where you set your own distance and pace. The fun ride will start at 11 a.m. and includes coupons for the whole family for free ice-cream cones at Stewart’s Shops (while supplies last).

More Community news

  • A new workshop series offered by B’nai Sholom Reform Congregation in Albany will guide participants on “mindful living” that can help them contemplate and understand the life process known as “retirement.”

  •  ALBANY COUNTY — Cornell Cooperative Extension is offering a virtual program to strengthen families — for youth between the ages of 11 and 18 and their parents or caregivers.

  • ALBANY COUNTY — Seniors are invited to listen to phone-in presentations and discussions on aging well provided by Community Caregivers.

    Talks are every Tuesday to Nov. 10, from 1 to 2 p.m. No access code is required to call the free conference line at 518-992-6661.

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