As our days of isolation and confinement continue, I know I’m not the only person seeking a safe escape from my house. Staying home is really hard. My poor dog probably has calluses on his paws from all of our walks and my bike is no longer gathering dust in the basement but has returned between rides to its summer home in my living room. Capital Hills golf course remains closed to golfers and is seeing quite a bit of foot traffic, at least on the sunny days when Jeter and I go there to run 18 beautiful and scenic holes.
If you’re looking to expand your walking or running horizons beyond Albany’s streets and pathways, we are blessed with numerous options in our area. Last week I took a drive to Cohoes’ Peebles Island and spent an hour enjoying a different (to me) perspective. It was a lovely way to spend a couple of hours and I think you should go, too. But, first a couple of suggestions.
Park in the lot on the left after you pass the (not currently open) payment booth. There are ample spaces generally available and, quite honestly, if the lot is full you might want to consider coming back at a different time or another day. Despite being outdoors, some of the trails make it difficult to adequately distance yourself from others who are seeking a similar dose of nature, sans Covid-19.
Assuming the density of nature lovers is comfortable, I recommend the trail to the left known as the perimeter trail. This path will give you your biggest bang in terms of steps taken, views and vantage points for observing nature. Take note of the remarkable tenacity of the trees growing despite their roots being exposed through erosion. If you’ve brought children or a pet with you, be sure to have them firmly in hand. The drop off to the river can be really abrupt and a bit anxiety inducing, at least for me.
While I didn’t observe any exceptional wildlife, I understand that there are deer, as well as bald eagles, owls, beavers and foxes, who make their home on the island. I guess that means walkers should do, at a minimum, a perfunctory tick check after their visit. Consider packing a lunch or snack and make use of one of the picnic tables you’ll encounter along your walk, to stretch out your adventure and maybe catch a glimpse of one of the island’s residents.
One complete lap clocks in at just under two miles and I’d say I encountered a couple of dozen people during my mid afternoon walk. Most were masked and all politely gave a wide berth when our paths crossed. I don’t know that a visit to Peebles Island on a sunny Saturday afternoon is necessarily the best of ideas, but if you’re willing to go early in the morning or later in the evening before dusk, I think you’ll find it to be a wonderful change of scenery.