By Ann Roberti

The Andes Rail Trail celebrated its one year anniversary on June 1st with the opening of the Bullet Hole Spur portion of the hiking trail. The Rail Trail section is almost a mile long one way and is a flat, easy walk but filled with lots to see. This spring brought the completion of the Bullet Hole Spur, a hiking trail that extends the rail trail an additional 2.2 miles, bringing the option of the total walk to 3.9 miles round trip. The Spur climbs the ridge above the rail bed, taking hikers through mature hardwood forest, open woodlands covered in ferns and princess pine, an old pine plantation and hemlocks towering above the Bullet Hole Creek. The Spur is a bit more strenuous. There are a couple of well-designed, moderately steep sections but they are followed by relatively flat sections so you get a nice breather after working a little harder. There are many wonderful views of the Tremperskill valley from the Spur.

This winter, the observant outdoorsman (aka Mr. Field Notes) would have been able to see the tracks of various wildlife — including wild homo sapiens – the avid cross country skier, the vigorous snowshoer and the just plain walker. Also, for a few days, a playful otter could have been seen as it slid up and down in the snow along the trail. In all seasons deer, fox, turkeys and all sorts of birds have been spotted on the Rail Trail. And as we keep saying, there are many beautiful views to be enjoyed along the trail. If you haven’t seen the new Bullet Hole Spur or the Rail Trail itself, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?

You may have also seen the fabulous new entryway to the trail. A beautiful arbor with a bench now marks the start of the trail, to be accompanied in the near future by beautiful landscaping with native plants. The Common Ground Garden Club, along with many Rail Trail volunteers and contributors, have undertaken the project of designing, building and planting this fantastic new start to the trail. Work will continue on the entryway into July. If you would like to help, please contact Ann Roberti.

Parks and Trails NY, the organization that provided the funding for the kiosk and some signage for the trail, has put up survey boxes at the kiosk. If you take a walk on the trail, and we hope you will, please take a moment to fill out one of the surveys so everyone can learn a little about the benefits the trail may have brought to you.

PHOTO from ann robertia new entrance (1)

The new entrance to the Andes Rail Trail not only beautifies the spot but also make it easier for visitors to locate.

We are so thankful to all the volunteers and contributors to this project, including the Common Ground Garden Club, the Town of Andes, the Catskill Mountain Club, Andes volunteers and, above all, the many landowners who have given permission for this trail to cross their property.

Watch next month for news about the NEW Shavertown trail — coming soon — located right across from the Shavertown boat launch. ~