The Marshlands Conservancy in Rye has always been on our list of Westchester hikes, but I’ve been holding off on it because it’s supposed to get very muddy whenever there’s been rain. But a couple of weeks ago it dawned on me – rainboots! If we all wore them, then what did it matter if it was muddy?
I packed a change of clothes and shoes for the kids, everyone put on their boots, and off we went. And the hike turned out to be a hit because of the mud. We took the trail to the right of the nature center, which follows the marshlands for about half a mile and gets pretty messy in parts, but we felt invincible in our boots. I wouldn’t call this hike stroller-friendly, although we did see an adventurous family pushing a jogging stroller through the marshy trails. Along the way, we encountered plenty of birds – a woodpecker, a crane, a flock of wild turkeys – so don’t forget to bring those binoculars.
Gazing out into the field of cattails, I thought once again about how lucky we are to live in an area where there’s so much ecological diversity. I mean, who would’ve thought we’d have a view like this right here in Westchester?
We also came upon an enormous muddy field, which will transform into salt water ponds later on in the year, according to the map. The kids went to town in this area – squishing around in the mud and pointing out small crabs and submerged oysters – for at least 20 minutes.
At the end of the trail, you wind up on a rocky, mossy beach looking out onto the Long Island Sound. We spent some time there tossing rocks into the water and eating a snack. Then we headed back toward the nature center, this time taking the path through the woods. There was a small stream in the forest that was the perfect place to wash off our muddy boots.
Marshlands Conservancy, 220 Boston Post Road, Rye; 914-835-4466