The Huguenot Trail
By Adrienne K. Wiese
The Huguenot Path follows along the bank of the Wallkill (Wall
River) through an area which played an important part in our ancestorsí lives.
The path is easily accessible from the road leading to the New Paltz sewage
treatment plant where parking is available. A short distance south toward the
highway bridge takes one to the old Indian fording place where our ancestors
crossed over to the fields on the west bank flats. Continuing northward along
the river, a wide well-mown path takes us past the community gardens where the
effects of annual alluvial flooding are evident in the lush garden crops grown
by local residents. The rich soil also causes rampant growth of weeds - nettles
are in abundance, and in the wet areas phragmites tower above the tallest of menís
heads; stick to the paths. Gigantic trees are found near the oxbow outlet where
the remains of the old Huguenot dam may be seen. The dam was used to trap fish
and for ice harvesting.
A circular trail leads through swamp and upland forest. It
passes the oxbow, an ancient river channel now cut off from the river, where
loosestrife grows in abundance. The trail is about three miles in length,
including a short dead-end along the river and a boardwalk across swampland to
an exit north of the Freer-Lowe House, beyond the bend in Huguenot Street.
Relax at the picnic tables near the gardens, stretch your legs
and bring your binoculars to observe the wildlife. Enjoy spring wildflowers or
those of fall when loosestrife is especially lush. Step back in time and imagine
the important place this quiet river bank played in the lives of our ancestors.
Back | Next