We Appreciate: An Eagle Scout at Landis

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.

Spring 2019

Volume 37 , Number 1

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