BY Molly Congdon
Go ahead, brave the great outdoors!
Southern Saratoga County has a distinct blend between the modern and natural. The many open spaces — parks, preserves and trails — are places where locals as well as tourists can take in the true beauty of the outdoors.
As cities and towns continue to grow in size and erect new buildings and homes, Earth’s masterpieces are chopped down, covered in cement and cease to exist. That is why residents of this area are so fortunate.
This marks the start of a new feature that will highlight one of the open spaces each week this summer.
As you (the explorer) step into these spaces, you will be taken back in time before any houses were constructed, cars whipped around the paved streets honking their horns and life was much less complicated. Advancing deeper into the permanent wilderness you will no longer hear the sounds of civilization; they disappear. This summer, don’t simply hang by the pool or bask within your air-conditioned abode; get outside, get a little dirty and discover how much fun taking a walk can be.
Location: Off the south side of Shadow Wood Way.
Description: This tranquil forest of 80 acres is nestled within the Country Knolls neighborhood, the perfect place for a miniature adventure. It used to be owned by Round Lake and was known as the “Round Lake Reservoir.” The town of Clifton Park acquired the property in 2003, designating it a public preserve to be enjoyed by families for generations to come. Here you will find groundwater seeps, sandy ravines and a stream that serves as a tributary to the Anthony Kill and eventually flows into the Hudson River.
Wildlife to see: Deer, pileated woodpecker and trout.
Level of difficultly: Easy to moderate hike. It’s a rugged walk with some hills to contend with on all-natural surfaces.
Sights to see: When you get to the stream, it’s a really neat, quiet woodsy area; you won’t feel like you’re in Clifton Park anymore.
Must bring: Your bug spray. The mosquitoes can be the greatest obstacle along the way.