One of the most beautiful places in Schoharie County is right here at Landis. And I have first-hand experience of that place. It’s the Arboretum’s new Waterfall Trail, and, after consulting with Fred Breglia, it became my Eagle Scout project.
Fred and I decided to start on the upper part of the two-mile trail first. The ground was very wet and soggy once we crossed the yellow bridge, so we started laying rocks to step on. The more rocks we laid in place, the better the trail looked — and our feet stayed dry!
After reaching the first long hill, things went pretty well for the next few days. It was mostly raking leaves and sticks and cutting down trees and big limbs, trying to leave the trail as natural as possible. We laid more rock at the stream crossings. As we raked and cut and moved limbs, winding through the forest, we reached the end of the existing trail and the highest elevation of Landis!
It was a happy day for us.
But we were not done yet, although it was all literally downhill from there.
At the point where you cross a field and head into the woods, we cut some steps into the hill for a single file trail. Along the first eighth of a mile, you can hear the water flowing over the top part of the falls, and then you can actually view the stream from just off the trail. Down the hill we went from there. This area gets quite muddy and slippery when it rains, and it rained a lot this fall while we were building the trail. So down we continued. More wet spots. More rocks laid.
We finally made our way down to the bottom of the hill, where you will see two waterfalls meeting and flowing into one stream. Across that bottom section, finding the right rocks for dry footing was difficult, so we cut disks out of a downed tree and laid them on the trail. We laid double-stacked culverts and filled in a big crevice to keep hikers from jumping across and possibly spraining their ankles.
This was the day we had an extra pair of eyes watching us from the top of a hemlock tree: Mr. Porcupine. He observed us at work all day in between his naps. From here we spent more time raking and moving more rock.
On our last day on the bottom we did it: we connected with the Acorn Trail!
Together with five volunteers and Fred, we spent a total of 158 hours as I worked towards earning my Eagle Scout rank. My mother, Charlene King, also deserves credit: she was there every day to keep us going.
This spring, after the snow melt, the waterfalls will be at their most impressive. It will be a good time to hike the trail.