Van Hornsville Hike – Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Nine ADK’ers joined up to hike the 1 1/4 mile trail along the old mill stream of the Otsquago creek. This trail was constructed by community volunteers and students of ODY Central School in the 50 acre Robert B. Woodruff Outdoor Learning Center directly adjacent to the school (Google Owen D. Young for details). The Center is located off of Highway 80, 5 miles north of hwy 20 in Herkimer County. On the site of this 18th century trail, George Washington in 1783 traveled to Cherry Valley, NY looking for mill sites. The Van Hornes settled in to harness the hydro power. You can still see remnants of the old cheese box mill. Beautiful limestone caves and flow stone formations occur on the east side of the gorge and are living sculptures covered by moss, lichens and ferns. Despite the wet weather (or because of it) the light was soft and created a fairy-like setting of glistening green under the muted fall colors of maple , oak and ash. We hunted mushrooms and identified fruiting Jack in the Pulpit. We picnicked near the herb garden and were visited by a few mosquitoes but departed well satisfied. Photos include: 1) Fall foliage at the Otesaga Hotel, 2) Group at Brookwood Gardens, 3) Waterlily, 4) Learning Center’s Sign, 5) Jack-in-the-Pulpit’s fruit, 6) Moss Covered Roots, 7) Twin Falls, 8) Lime Caves, and 9) Waterfall.  Report by Linda Melchionne

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