Sunday, August 4, 2013

Day 6.206: Canajoharie day-trip

We visited Canajoharie on Saturday. If you want to share the soundtrack that was in our heads - please feel free to listen here:

Here is a summary of our visit in three parts:

Day 6.206a: Wintergreen Park

We heard that there was a gorge - and a park where we could visit it - so that was our first stop.  We first parked at the park entrance where there was a sign indicating that there was  walk to an overlook.

This is what we saw along the way:

The gorge is very deep, steep-sided and close to the trail, but - certainly at this time of year - there are no really good views down into it.  Even the large wooden deck overlook only gave the view of the "upper falls" that you see in the top right above.  Still, it was a nice walk - the water tower is striking and we saw some nature along the trail:

After the walk (out-and-back totalling 1.25 miles), we wanted to see if we could access the creek below in the gorge from the park, so we returned to the car and drove into the park.  The road into the park soon winds steeply down the gorge to the bottom where there are, unsurprisingly, picnic tables and the like but also, more surprisingly No Trespassing signs on almost every other tree along between the road and parking areas and the creek.

It seems that the village has a conflicted relationship with the creek.  Unfortunately, there have been a number of accidents.  Although it seems like the board recently reviewed a plan to grant some limited access to the creek from the park, I can find no evidence that they made a decision on the plan.

We decided to keep driving and get on with the rest of our day.

Day 6.206b: Arkell Museum

The main reason for our visit to Canajoharie (♫ Ca-na-jo-ha-a-a-rie ♫) was to visit the Arkell Museum.  We managed to pick up a family pass from our library so it was even free!  There is no photography in most of the museum so here's a random selection of photos I was allowed to take:

Half of the museum is an art gallery - currently featuring some amazing Whistler sketches (and other similar works) and some very varied impressionist paintings.  The other half - the permanent exhibition - centers around Mr Arkell himself and the Beech-Nut Packing Company he founded in the town at the beginning of the 20th century.  This is an engaging and fascinating section of the museum but somewhat poignant now that the Beech-Nut company has left Canajoharie leaving it with a big hole in its employment and revenue streams.

The museum is attached to the library and somewhat spills over into that space. The library itself is very appealing and contains a few exhibits including the globe pictured above.  It is a Juvet Time Globe - one of only two 30 inch models ever made.  In common with its smaller cousins, it contains a mechanism to turn the globe at one revolution per day.  They were made in a factory in the town as a joint venture between their inventor Mr Juvet and James Arkell (I believe he was Bartlett's father) and another business partner in the 1880's.

Day 6.206c: The pot that washes itself

We had read that the name Canajoharie originates in a native American name which translates as "the pot that washes itself". This is (assumed to be) a reference to the "boiling pot" - 20 foot diameter pothole in the creek bed near the village.  We decided to find out if - despite the creek-access issues, it was possible for us to see it.  It took a little research - but it is indeed possible.  Access is from the end of Floral Ave:

View Larger Map

 but it is not signposted at all until you get there.  The sign at the top of the very short trail near a parking area is the same as the ones at Wintergreen, except that the "No Trespassing" part of the sign has been blacked-out in accordance with a year-old change of heart.

Here are some pictures from our visit to the site (the "historical plaque" is in the museum garden):

It is both striking geology and an interesting piece of history thanks to the name of the town.  We stayed dry apart from a little paddling in the shallows away from the main flow of the creek and the deep pothole, but certainly the temptation to swim in the cool deep waters of the pool on a hot summer's day is completely understandable.

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