Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Hiking Zenda Farms



Hiking Zenda Farms and the Lois Jean and John MacFarlane Trail
1000islands #1000islands #ThousandIslands




We have driven by Zenda Farms countless times when traveling from Clayton toward Cape Vincent. We always thought it was a neat looking place but it was only after we got serious about exploring as many river hiking trails as we could find, that we figured we had better stop in sometime. We are so glad we did.  Zenda Farms is located at 38973 Zenda Road off of Route 12E just a little over one mile past Clayton. There is a parking area on the right for the hiking trail.



Zenda Farms is another preserve now owned by the Thousand Islands Land Trust (TILT). Their website gives a very interesting history of the property including the fascinating story of how it got its name. They also explain the importance of keeping this land as an important preserve and habitat for grassland birds. There is a community garden on the property and it is used to host several different events throughout the year. But of most interest to us hikers is the Lois Jean and John MacFarlane Trail which runs around the perimeter of the meadows. It is a 1.5-mile-long trail for jogging, hiking and cross-country skiing. The trail encircles the grasslands that seasonally are filled with nesting birds. New this summer, TILT has planted several trees along the trail. In coming years, this will add even more variety and beauty to the trail.

We were admittedly a bit skeptical about hiking around an open field but ended up having a  
delightful and melodious hike. The birds seemed extremely grateful for the open meadows and were singing their hearts out throughout our walk. There were an extraordinary number of butterflies as well.

And the prize, for us, was the magnificent work of art at the back of the trail in front of the woods. We almost hate to give it away.  But pictures aren't as impressive as seeing it or sitting on it. 


There is talk of an additional trail system with the possibility of an observation deck at some point in the future. We'll keep you posted.










Be sure to see:

Hiking the Thousand Islands...Introduction

Hiking the Thousand Islands...Wellesley Island State Park

Hiking the Thousand Islands...The Macsherry Trail 

Hiking the Thousand Islands...Otter Creek

Hiking the Thousand Islands...Chippewa Bay Preserve Trail

Hiking the Thousand Islands...Redwood Hill Preserve

Hiking the Thousand Islands...Grand Lake Reserve

Hiking the Thousand Islands...Foster Blake Woods Preserve

Hiking the Thousand Islands...Morristown Red Barn Preserve

Hiking the Thousand Islands...Zenda Farms Preserve

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Hiking Morristown Red Barn Preserve Trail



Hiking Morristown Red Barn Preserve Trail
1000islands #1000islands



We interrupt this regularly scheduled hiking blog with a brand new trail we hiked for the first time today. Though the Morristown Red Barn Preserve Trail unofficially opened to the public on May 26th it has not yet had its official grand opening and some of the trail markings aren't even in place. But that said, we had to check it out and are so excited about this new nature trail that we figured we would move it to the top of our list. The Red Barn Preserve is located on River Road East, a short distance beyond the village of Morristown. For those who would like it a little more exact, the coordinates to the main trailhead are N 44 34.713 W 75 39.590. Though, coming out of Morristown there is now a new parking area and a sign for the Blue Heron Rookery Trail which ends up at the Red Barn. The trail is open from dawn to dusk. The Gateway Museum in Morristown has been working closely with the Thousand Island Land Trust (TILT) to develop a system of trails across the property. This is only just the beginning.
We loved the variety of terrain that started with a meadow trail, wandered through a deep forest, and then took us over a newly built 300-foot boardwalk over a beautiful marsh. 

And, yes, the rookery is easily observable in the distance. One has the option of walking back to the car just a short way down the road or turn around and do the whole lovely walk in reverse (which is what we opted to do - it was just as beautiful the second time). We estimate the trail to be about three-quarters of a mile in one direction. Since some off the trail is over a marshy area, the museum recommends wearing waterproof shoes. Again, the trail is so new that the trail markers are still colored ribbons but by the time you visit we are sure that a lot more progress will have been made.  No matter, though, since the natural beauty of this amazing trail is already in place and just waiting to be hiked. But in the near future they will be adding new signage, bench seating, and possibly an observation tower. I guess we’ll have to go back soon! 
Be sure to see:



Hiking the Thousand Islands...Introduction

Hiking the Thousand Islands...Wellesley Island State Park

Hiking the Thousand Islands...The Macsherry Trail 

Hiking the Thousand Islands...Otter Creek

Hiking the Thousand Islands...Chippewa Bay Preserve Trail

Hiking the Thousand Islands...Redwood Hill Reserve

Hiking the Thousand Islands...Grand Lake Reserve

Hiking the Thousand Islands...Foster Blake Woods Preserve

Hiking the Thousand Islands...Morristown Red Barn Preserve

Hiking the Thousand Islands...Zenda Farms Preserve