Today a friend and I drove to the Albany trailhead for a pedal on the new to me Helderberg Hudson rail trail. We pedaled the four paved miles to Slingerlands and then came back. What a terrific trail! Huge thanks to Lacey for caring for Frida while I enjoyed a moment out in the world.
Headed toward Delmar, the Normans Kill (kill is Dutch for stream) is on your left for a time. At points it is quite close. Here, we were treated to a modest waterfall scene. Come after a rain for a real treat, I’d think.
A little further on the trail crosses over the Normans Kill, so it is then on your right, until a short while later the trail and the stream part ways. At this point, you are about half way through the paved portion.
At the end of the paved portion, there is a lovely covered picnic area with at least a dozen picnic tables on your right. Curb your enthusiasm. A sign advises that it is not for public use without permission from the Slingerland’s Fire Department. Maybe you just roll up to the adjacent fire house and they give you permission? We didn’t try. Sad, as there was not a soul using it. An underutilized picnic area presumably paid for with public dollars should be available to all. Maybe the mayors can sort this out. We pedaled back to the Albany parking lot where we ate a light lunch of watermelon and falafel.
It was a terrific outing that I can’t recommend highly enough. I’ll be back, but I’ll do it without a car. I’ve already set the route. I know the roads and it should work well. A little hilly and long (for me) at 18.5 miles, but it combines five distinct riding environments (burbs, country, rock trail, paved trail and city) so the miles should go by quickly.
Start at Buckingham Pond. West on Berkshire Boulevard. Left on Russell Road. Right onto Krumkill. Some tough hills on Krumkill. If you lack bionic knees, you will enjoy a geared bicycle. Very scenic. Left on Font Grove Road and continue to the T, where you can get on the unpaved but now open portion of the Helderberg Hudson Trail. Skilled riders should do fine on skinny tires but 1.5 inchers would be more confidence inspiring. Continue on the trail and you’ll soon find yourself on the paved portion. Flat, car-free and scenic here, so enjoy. Please slow when you come across other users, though. The trail is so smooth and level you’ll be tempted to scorch, but remember that a fast pedaler is a real danger on a narrow trail. Keep it fun for everyone, kay? At the Albany end of the trail, you’ll be facing South Pearl. Hang a right. Pop up 2nd Avenue for a beer and tostones at Punta Cana (you won’t be sorry) or continue on South Pearl. Then left on Madison for a slog of a climb out of sea level. Right on Lark for a sandwich at Berben & Wolff or simply stay on Madison for Ben & Jerry’s almond milk ice cream. Sated, continue on Madison. After Tuesday, on upper Madison, you’ll enjoy three blocks of traffic calming and a bike lane. Next thing you know, you are home. I am home, anyway.
Frida’s enjoying cooler weather, three squares a day and lots of love. Still walking about 1.2 miles each morning. The antibiotics seem to have helped her mouth. Can’t hurt that we also feed her only soft food. Her pudding has evolved to include only kibble, water and ground flax seed (rice omitted for no good reason), whizzed in the food processor. To that we add meat and pumpkin and give the bowl 20 seconds in the microwave. She gobbles it up. Knocking on wood as I write this, though. Life with this old dog feels like a cross country road trip in a 60 year old car. Every mile under power is a miracle and we are forever holding our breath for the next ruptured hose.
That’s enough. Take care of yourselves and your loved ones.