Bemis Heights: American River Fortifications

Bemis Heights: American River Fortifications

Another exciting exploration at the Saratoga National Historical Park!

We started the day with the intent of hiking by the Hudson River.

After my second visit to the Saratoga Battlefield
I learned about the Park Entrance off of Route 4.
I learned about the Fraser Burial Site Trail.
… but I didn’t know the only way to get to the Trailhead is through the Park.

Tour Park Road.
… currently closed until April.

Change of Plans.

We stopped by the Visitor Center.
Used the bathroom.
Becky and Andrew got to look around the little museum in the Visitor Center.
… and then we decided to hike near the Neilson House.

It was Bright.
It was Cold.
it was so cold

The Wind
up at the highest point
of Bemis Heights
where the Neilson House stands
the wind up there
the wind

We didn’t stay up at the top too long.

It had been snowing.
That’s what it does this time of year in Upstate New York.
… snow.
The first time I went to the Neilson House
I couldn’t even find the Park Road going down towards the American River Fortifications.
… because there was so much snow.

Snow drifts and a little melting made it possible to follow the Park Road.
We did hike through plenty of snow.
… approximately 3.5 miles.

Something I noticed…
The Neilson Farm
Bemis Heights
The American Encampment
… the lay of the land
it was different.
Different from the Freeman Farm.

I remember the Freeman Farm being hilly.
Rolling Hills.
The Neilson Farm…
swept down from the house
down to the bluffs
the only road
during the American Revolution
from Montreal to Albany.

We didn’t get down to the Hudson River.
I couldn’t even see it.
I was disappointed.
… again.

We did get to see hawks!
dancing in flight.

We also saw many tracks of animals in the snow.
a funny moment…
we were walking along and I saw strange patterns in the snow.
my brain couldn’t put it into a category I recognized!
it was textured
I was thinking…
snow snake?
that’s impossible!
as I continued to try to figure it out
I noticed…
it was actually the imprint of a Pine Cone
rolling down a slight slope where we stood.
Snow Snake…

Walking along the bluffs of Bemis Heights was pretty amazing.
I was so excited to be outside
that I didn’t read any of the plaques
which is just…
really strange for me.
I do believe Nathan read them all.

Hiking back from the American River Fortification
we all agreed it would be best
if we didn’t retrace our path down to the bluffs
… but instead
go straight up the hill of the Old Neilson Farm.
Up to the Neilson House.

I stopped several times walking up to the Neilson House.
… taking pictures
… breathing in the beauty and peacefulness

I started back up the hill.
Nathan, Becky, and Andrew were already at the top
… and much to my surprise
They Were Throwing Snowballs At Me!

I must say the snowballs coming towards me
added even more perspective to what it might be like
advancing on a camp.

I’ve come to really enjoy snow hiking.
I’ve hiked close to 12 miles in the Saratoga National Historical Park now.
… and I still have quite a ways to hike in the British Encampment.
… by the Hudson River.
I will get there.
I will.

Neilson House.
View from Bemis Heights.
Cannon, crane, and mount…
Neilson House.
The snow makes it difficult to see the American Fortification markers.
Red Tail Hawk soaring.
Just a view I enjoyed.
Nathan, Becky, and Andrew at the Neilson House.
A map of Saratoga National Historical Park.
I got this map from a Ranger at the Visitor Center.

Stillwater, NY – January 10th 2015