I decided to go down the East side of the Hudson and cross over in Catskill to get to my parents' house. The plan was to see if Hudson let the dogs out (statues) and view the Cats of Catskill. Instead, I found a nature preserve I didn't know existed and the Schodack Island State Park that I never stopped at before and hiked!
The Papscanee Island Nature Preserve has two entrances. The one in Rensselaer is open during the winter months and the one four miles further south is open in summer. There is a kiosk at the beginning of the hiking trail, but nothing on it yet and no map available. I found red, yellow, and blue trails, so I used my sense of direction to go in a loop. I didn't want to walk 4 miles to the other entrance and then 4 miles back! I got a few good views of the Hudson and one of the "skyscrapers" of Albany here. The only living things I came across were two other walkers. One saw a garter snake slither across the trail. Oh great!
Schodak Island (it's really a peninsula) was originally 3 islands but landfill from dredge piled up after making the Hudson deeper for the big ships ended up combining them and then joining them to the mainland. A stream was diverted and formed the Schodack Creek where once the Hudson flowed on the east side of the islands. The hiking paths here are on what used to be roads used by farmers. I was treated to a view of the Three Sisters garden - 3 crops grown together that protect each other from animals and the elements. The pumpkins are already big and ripe! Corn is ready for picking, and the sunflowers are tall. I didn't see the third crop - beans - the sunflowers weren't mentioned! The beans supposedly wrap around the corn stalks.