Osgood Pond

What makes a pond a pond? What makes a lake a lake? It is not always size in terms of acreage it covers. There are some ponds that are larger in size than lakes. Lakes are usually much deeper. Ponds they say are shallow enough to allow light to reach the bottom. One pond that seems larger than some lakes is Osgood Pond.

Osgood Pond is near Pauls Smith’s in the Adirondack Mountains of New York. You can access Osgood Pond by car by White Pine Road off of State Route 86. It has a boat launch maintained by the state. I visited there on two separate days. During the summer a recent university graduate was employed to check boats going in and out of the pond. The state tries to make sure invasive species are not carried from one body of water to another. I liked this boat launch. It was a gradual decline in to the pond.

There are not many houses on this pond. There is one on this island. Much of the land around the pond is designated wilderness.

One advantage of this pond is you can access other bodies or water without getting out of your canoe/ kayak. Some lakes and ponds have carries between them. This one has some passageways or outlets between it and other ponds and rivers.

This passageway is about 1.5 -2 feet deep between the ponds.
Passageway between Osgood and Church Ponds
Church Pond
Passageway from Church to Osgood Pond. It is very dark through the passageway. I rather enjoy taking these little outlets in between ponds and lakes.

Another advantage is there are some campsites accessible paddling from Osgood. There are primitive campsites along nearby Jones pond, accessible by paddling through Jones Pond outlet. There are lean-tos on Osgood and Church Pond. There are also primitive campsites on Upper Osgood River. These campsites are free and first come first served.

Thirdly, and most importantly to me, this pond has great access to viewing wildlife. There are ducks, multiple loon pairs, and eagles coming and going. There must be fish worth trying for. I did see a few fishermen.

One of two juveniles. The eagles go between lakes to find food.
So hungry I will eat a pine cone. These juvenile eagles (born in Spring) are at least a month or more behind the ones born along the Hudson River. I think they are born 1-2 months later. They flew but had trouble landing and in August did not fly much over water. They made no attempt to get food on their own, and the parents appeared to delay getting food for them.
After one fish was dropped off the kids fought over it and the parents flew back to the nest to break it up.

Loon behaviour on this pond was odd. I did not see them stick their heads above water for long and they did not hang out long on the surface at any time. I watched them the first day. The second day I saw the eagles. I attribute the loons’ behaviour to the eagle’s presence. Eagles will go after ducks and loons and their young. I did not see young loons on this pond. A local told me the eagles have been visiting for three years and they have not seen loon young in three years. They tie the two events together.

Overall it is a great place to kayak. I enjoyed it so much I went back again the following day. If you wish to canoe or kayak a few different bodies of water without carrying your boat, I recommend this pond. If you want a spot to camp for free arriving by boat, the lack of traffic at this location may make it ideal.

Self Isolating at State Line Lookout

What animal is an aerial acrobat? It travels at lightning speeds and you are amazed it does not crash when it lands on a cliff? The animal I speak of is the peregrine falcon. A great spot to view them is the State Line Lookout in New Jersey.

When I heard New Jersey might limit movement in the state, I decided to run down across the New York border and go to State Line Lookout. This park is a scenic spot to visit.

Location

State Line has its own exit off the Palisades Parkway. It is not far south of the NYS border. There is a nice parking area and a restaurant and gift shop. Both the restaurant and gift shop are closed though currently due to Corona Virus. To set the GPS the street is State Line Lookout in Alpine, NJ. The park is at the highest point of the Palisades. It is 532 feet above the river. There are updrafts along the cliffs that attract raptures.

I found out about this park through a couple of bird enthusiasts. The park is popular with serious photographers. The big guns were there. My equipment is only worth a small fraction of their equipment. These photographers were a friendly bunch and helped direct this first time visitor to good viewing spots.

The stone walls are close to the cliffside and not too high, so be careful.
This appears to be Yonkers, NY on the other side of the river. New York City is just south of Yonkers.

The park is along the Hudson River where it divides New York and New Jersey. Westchester County, New York is viewable on the other side of the River.

Falcons

The star attraction are the peregrine falcons that nest cliffside. They frequently put on aerial shows. Sometimes they land in neighboring trees or on the walls. From the viewing areas you can often find them perched on an outcrop or tree. One caught a bird with dark gray feathers and landed just below where we were standing. Feathers from their prey drifted up to us in the updrafts.

A tree was between where the falcon was and where I was standing. This was actually the closest I got to one of them. It was still a distance away.
Here one is perched on a branch of a tree sticking out of the cliff. Look toward the middle of the photo on the cliff.
This is a pair that is currently mating. I missed the show. A half hour prior they mated in a tree.

Other Attractions

Other attractions are hawks. In autumn 14 species of hawks pass through on their way south. Red tailed hawks and Cooper hawks fly around the park. They also have hiking trails.

If you are a bird enthusiast or are on a long trip and want a spot to take a break, stop by the State Line Lookout in New Jersey. The views are worth the trip.

York City Wall

What location has the longest medieval town walls in England? What place has gorgeous views from those walls? If you answered York, you would be correct.

In some sections one side does not have a railing. I believe this was from the area of the train station looking towards York Minster.
One view of York Minster from the wall with also some lovely back garden views.

York has an old section of town that is surrounded by the remains of the old city walls. You can walk around most of this section of the city on top of the wall. You will have some nice views of York Minster and other parts of the old city from the wall.

History

The original walls were built by the Romans in AD 71. However, the walls you see now were the upgrade to stone built in 1226. They are the longest Medieval town walls in England at 3.4 kilometers (about 2 miles) and are very well maintained.

Another view of York Minster from the wall
A sentry on the wall
The wall is just too narrow in many spots, so dogs are not allowed.
Visiting

It is open daily 8 a.m. to dusk. It is closed on Christmas and any days that the conditions are icy or slippery. As it is an old wall, it is not handicap accessible. Also, dogs are not allowed on the wall as most of it is narrow. Some areas do not have high ledges or railing on one side, so one has to take care. Someone with a fear of heights may not enjoy this walk.

If you are visiting York, hiking on the old city walls is a must to get another perspective on this lovely city.

One of the gates through the wall into the old section of York.

Walkway Over the Hudson

Where is the longest pedestrian only footbridge in the world? Are you thinking in the Andes or the Alps? Actually it is in New York State and its called The Walkway Over the Hudson.

The Walkway Over the Hudson was built as a railroad bridge in the 1800s. It is 1.28 miles long, 212 feet above the river, and it connects Highland to Poughkeepsie. It was abandoned in 1974 after a fire. Work was done on it and it reopened in 2009 as a state park that is free to enjoy.

Poughkeepsie Side
View from the Poughkeepsie end – Poughkeepsie and the Mid Hudson Bridge
Near the middle looking at the Highland side

The Walkway isn’t just for walking. People can cross on bike, jog, and bring their dog. It is wheelchair accessible on booth ends.

While there continue your hike. On the Poughkeepsie side of the bridge it connects with the Dutchess Rail Trail. This is a 13 mile rail trail running from the Walkway to Hopewell Junction Train Depot. It is paved the whole way with wide shoulders that are gravel or sand. Bicyclists may prefer riding on the paved area of the trail while runners may prefer jogging on the unpaved shoulder.

The Walkway hosts different events. On January 1st they host First Walk- an organized first hike of the year. Other state parks have similar events.

First Walk on January 1st
First Walk- Not sure why, but I hear donkeys are part of the tradition at the start.

During Memorial Day weekend they are open late one night and have luminaries lining the bridge in honor of those who died in the service of their country. It is a fund raiser for veteran’s groups and people can sponsor luminaries. On July 4th they charge admission to watch the fireworks from the Walkway. The money helps sponsor the fireworks and upkeep of the Walkway.

A pipe band from Staatsburg, N.Y. performed as veterans crossed the bridge on the Highland side.
Pausing to reflect and remember
People could write personal remembrances of loved ones.
The Hudson River below
Hours and Days

They are open all year. A regular hiker told me they plow after snowfall, so don’t let a recent snowstorm hinder you if you enjoy winter strolls. They normally close at sunset, but are open late for special events. They also put up on the announcement board the temperature of the concrete in warmer weather so you know when to avoid bringing your canine hiking buddy.

Concessions and Restrooms

There are food carts and restrooms on both ends of the bridge. If you go early and the food carts are not open there are businesses nearby that sell food. Food carts may not be open during morning hours. As of now there are vendors selling bottled drinks, Italian ice, ice cream and kettle corn.

Getting There

If you are traveling from New York City by train take the Hudson Line and get off at the Poughkeepsie stop. Follow the directions on the Walkway’s website to get to the entrance. If you are traveling by car it may be easier to park on the Highland side. The turn off Route 9W is north of the Poughkeepsie Bridge.

For more information go their website at: https://walkway.org

Do you want a scenic hike? Do you want to have stunning views of the river? Make the journey to the Walkway Over the Hudson.