By Ann Roberti
The first Saturday in June was National Trails Day, a day to recognize the importance of the great outdoors and all kinds of trails. For the third year in a row, Andes has celebrated National Trails Day with a new addition to our town – the Andes Rail Trail in 2012, the Bullet Hole Spur in 2013 and the brand new Palmer Hill Trail this year. The weather was perfect and over 50 people assembled at the trailhead to help celebrate!
The trailhead is in the scenic overlook parking area on Finkle Road, at the top of the hill, just off Route 28 between Andes and Margaretville. To see a trail map and pictures of the trail, visit www.catskillmountainclub.org and search for Palmer Hill. (A printable contour map will be available there soon).
The trail, like the Shavertown Trail before it, was designed and constructed by the Catskill Mountain Club with assistance from the Town of Andes and some Andes volunteers, on NYC DEP property. There was a brief ceremony featuring remarks by Andes Town Supervisor Marty Donnelly, NYC DEP Recreation and Property Manager Charlie Laing and the Catskill Mountain Club (CMC) President Rick Roberts. Refreshments were provided by Marg Merzig. All three speakers thanked the volunteers who worked on the trail, contributing over 400 hours on its construction. Marty Donnelly and Rick Roberts thanked the DEP for opening their lands for outdoor recreation by allowing trails to be built there. Marty thanked the Catskill Mountain Club for all its great work in Andes, and also thanked Thomas and Janet Losavio for their generous donation in memory of their son, Thomas, that led the town to erect an interpretive sign at the site that identifies the mountains visible from the trailhead and along the beginning of the trail. A plaque recognizing this will be added to the sign.
After the speeches and back slapping, about half the assembled group headed down the trail to check it out. The Palmer Hill Trail consists of three segments – a .6 mile route to the farmstead intersection and then a relatively easy 1.5 mile Lower Meadow Loop and a more strenuous 1 mile Upper Meadow Loop. This allows hikers the options of short and easy hikes or moderately strenuous and longer hikes. Each takes you through beautiful wildflower meadows that offer wide open views of the surrounding mountains and hills and of the bucolic scenery that Delaware County epitomizes. Along the way are centuries-old foundations, a lovely stream and majestic old trees. In season, there will be blackberries and apples galore for the hungry hiker. You can snowshoe or cross country ski in winter. The trail is partly in the woods and partly in open fields so sunscreen and water are needed, depending on the weather.
We know the Palmer Hill Trail will be as popular as the Andes Rail Trail/Bullet Hole Spur and Shavertown. The recently installed trail register at Shavertown tells us that the trail is being enjoyed by local residents as well as visitors from as far away as the UK and Boston. We meet people on the Rail Trail just about every time we’re out there.
Carol Ames is now organizing a twice-a-week walking/hiking group for the Rail Trail and Palmer Hill – dates and meeting times will be posted in the Andes First Community News Facebook page (contact Carol there).
The Catskill Mountain Club is always looking for folks interested in helping with the upkeep of these and other Catskill trails. If you would be interested in helping maintain these trails, please contact us at:
If you haven’t taken a walk on this trail yet, get out there soon!~