Friday, April 11, 2003

I was going to finish painting the stairs last evening, but instead we took the dogs and went to Papscanee Island Preserve. Our original destination was a new state park in Castleton, Schodack Island State Park. For years the park was in the planning stages, and it seemed it would never open. It was to be called Castleton Island State Park, but the folks in the rest of our town, a patchwork of rural mixed with track house developments and early sprawl, just couldn't stomach it being named after our musty old village, and naturally, they won.

Anyhow, it finally opened last year. When we got there, we discovered it closes to traffic at 6:30. Last time Bob tried to go, it closed at 5 p.m. The first time, he parked the truck along the road, and took a walk into the park. He walked for a while up the access road, and then turned around and came back. This time, a young woman, surprisingly made and dressed up for a job as park attendant, who was on her way out when we arrived, told us the park was closed. We just wanted to walk the dogs, so we parked near the entrance, and proceeded to do what he had when he went before. We hadn't gone very far, when she started blowing the horn to her car wildly, and yelling that we had to leave. She sourly reiterated that the park was closed. So we left.

Disappointed and wanting to take advantage of the first hint of spring, we decided to check out Papscanee instead. It is part of the Hudson River Greenway. The sign has been there for years, and we had never checked it out. What a wonderful place! I feel almost in that park attendant's debt for throwing us out of the paved and sanitized park. The trails lead up to the Hudson River, which we are mostly cut off from on the eastern bank, despite the village being right on the river. The reason are the train tracks that hug the shore, and the frequent Amtrak trains that zip by in an effort to arrive in NYC in under 2 1/2 hours. You'll never hear me complain about Amtrak like so many others here and elsewhere, I approve of most forms of mass transit and I especially love trains, but it is a drag that the river is not more accessible. Near Papscanee, the tracks are a bit inland, and there is a long dirt road that eventually crosses them, and nearby a small parking lot.

Here it got the Capital Region's Best of 2001 for place to swim the Hudson. Now, you won't catch me in my bathing suit down there any time soon - and not because of the patchy snow on the ground. The river retains its beauty - nothing can take that away - but regarding pollution, well, yes it has improved a lot since I was a kid, but not enough for my baquicil-swimming-pool-only body, thank you. I mean, I have to hold my nose even at the new YMCA, OK?

Afterwards, we took the dogs to Chubby's, a seasonal place that serves burgers, fries, soft ice cream, etc. I was glad we did all this rather than being "productive," especially since today it is raining. Tonight, it's off to S'ville, and the other kitchen project.

The University has an updated logo. I like it!

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