Saturday, August 16, 2014

August 2014: New York, Delaware River Hike #4: Mongaup River Trail

Knight Cemetery at the end of the Mongaup River Trail

The Trailguide suggested that the Mongaup River Trail would be a good place to view eagles and waterfowl. It was listed as a moderate hike.  The trail was two miles in length as an in and out hike.  There was very little elevation gain along the trail.  The first part of the trail was what appeared to be an old roadbed.  Eventually, the trail took off through the Eastern Hemlock forest along the Mongaup River.

We probably started out about an hour early because the bald eagles hadn't become active yet.  We had been hopeful to see eagles fishing.  We were to be disappointed along this trail.  I did hear an eagle cry, but we didn't see it.  This was a mostly level trail and serene.  At one point the trail navigated around streams and a pond and a massive beaver dam. Evidence of beavers was everywhere along this portion of the trail.

At the end of the trail, we came upon a rectangular stone wall which surrounded a very old cemetery.  I researched it a little after the fact and discovered it was a family plot of the Knight family.  Almost all of the headstones in this cemetery bore the surname "Knight."  There was one, though that stood out to me. Amron Vail, Born August 13, 1816.  Died February 17, 1847.  He's a relative.  Has to be.  I had Vail ancestors living in Onandoga County, New York at the same time as Amron Vail lived here, about two hundred miles away.  We'll have to hunt him down and see where he fits in the genealogy, but I'm certain he's a relative.

It was an easy hike and a short one.  I don't know why the trailguide considered it a moderate hike.

Roadkill at the trailhead.  As if I wouldn't take a photo of that...

The Mongaup River, a tributary to the Delaware River

What the trail looked like for the first bit

Random cemetery in the middle of nowhere


Nature taking control

Lonely stones in a lonely cemetery

Julia Vail is undoubtedly a relative

As is Amron Vail

Cool tree

Shot of the other side of the cemetery

The trail 

On the way back

Beaver evidence

Apparently he gave up

Many trees, standing and fallen had evidence of beaver activity

As you can see here

and here

and here

Pretty well built beaver dam

Downstream of the dam

Hiking on the way out

In honor of my sons, who like to pose in hollow trees

Rhododendrons were everywhere along the river here.  We missed the blooms by three or four weeks, sadly

Rhododendron lined trail.  Rhododendrons always remind me of the Hot Chick.  I was missing her greatly while I was in New York.  Thirty years  of marriage and we still dig each other.

Evidence of black bear activity

After we reached the parking lot, having not seen an eagle, we saw a National Park Ranger.  I approached him and asked where the best place to see an eagle was.  He said there was a mature bald eagle that hung out about two hundred yards from the parking area right where the Mongaup meets the Delaware.  We took that short walk and when we got to the river, there he (or she) was, hanging out in a tree.  Mission accomplished.

Tree roots at the confluence of the Mongaup and Delaware rivers

The bald Eagle

Too good to only show one picture

Local flora

More local flora.  Haven't even attempted to identify any of it yet

Mushrooms and fungus was everywhere 

Lichen too

This was not a taxing hike in any way, but because of the cemetery payoff, the beaver dam and damage, and the eagle at the end, it became one of my two favorites of the six hikes.  Finding a relative out in the middle of nowhere, even though he was dead, was really cool.

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