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Amagansett

Stony Hill Preserve

 

 

Wednesday December 7, I went on an “exercise hike” led by Ethel Pulaski of the East Hampton Trails Preservation Society.  We met on Abraham’s Path in western Amagansett about 0.2 miles north of the intersection with Town Lane.  From Main Street, East Hampton (Rte. 27) head north a short distance east of the Hook Mill on Accabonac Highway, then travel 0.7 miles and bear right onto Town Lane.  After 1 mile, turn left onto Abraham’s Path, then after 0.2 miles look for the blue blazes of a trail that crosses this road.  There is no sign at the trailhead and there are no “Hikers, Slow-Down” signs along the road.  When I arrived at the trailhead I realized that we would be walking on a trail that used to be part of the Paumanok Path.  The Paumanok Path, now heads north of Stony Hill Road through several recently acquired parcels of undeveloped land in Springs.  With the Town’s land purchases and the assistance of the Peconic Land Trust, the Path now runs through a very pretty area of upland woods preserves.  The Paumanok Path used to go through the East Hampton Recycling Center and along a residential and farming area.  We walked this more developed area, but didn’t bother with the now untended portion of trail that previously ran through the Recycling Center.

There was snow on the ground and a stiff wind was blowing, so we kept up a brisk pace to keep warm.  The blazes we followed were the Paumanok Path’s white rectangles covered over by blue paint.  There were some very forbidding looking “No Trespassing” signs, but as long as we stayed on the trail we knew we were all right.  Soon we came upon a cleared area and the unobstructed wind was carrying drifting snow into our faces.  During the summer the Peconic Land Trust cultivates this area as a hayfield and the trail runs around the field’s perimeter.  There were no blazes in evidence.  I knew we had to travel in a northeast direction because I remembered that the Paumanok Path used to head north to Stony Hill Road from here. Despite my familiarity with the area, if it were not for the hike leader I may have been wandering around for a while before connecting with the trail north of the hayfield.

We headed north, and a little west of the Lerner Mansion.  We then entered into an upland woods trail.  After a while we reached Stony Hill Road and turned left (west).  We walked this road for a short distance and soon saw to our right the post and rail “kissing gates” at the entrance of the Stony Hill Preserve.  These gates are non-movable structures, made with posts and split rails with an opening large enough to allow people through them, but not large enough for motor vehicles.  The gates are so close that they are almost “kissing”, hence the name.  This is one of many gates in the area erected by the Peconic Land Trust.  They are meant to protect these preserves from damage caused by the illegal use of motorized vehicles on their lands.  We walked on a dirt road to where the blue trail veers off to the left, but we continued straight onto the Paumanok Path, heading east.  The beech trees, snow, and knob and kettle topography made this a very picturesque portion of trail.  We walked up to the very beautiful Baker Kettlehole and then turned around and headed back the way we had come.  The sun was now behind us and we were facing the opposite direction, so it was like we were walking back on a different trail with many new and exciting sights.

When we returned to our cars after walking only about 4 miles I still felt energetic, so I headed across the road to the western segment of this blue trail.  I remembered that if I walked about 1 mile in this direction I would find some abstract metal sculptures that transform the woods into an alien landscape.  Recently Sasson Sofer donated his sculptures and sold the 5 acres on which they reside to the Town for the very reasonable sum of $1 million. 

Many times in the past I have walked the Paumanok Path through the East Hampton Recycling Center and along Stony Hill Road.  It felt strange walking this trail now in this new context, but I’m glad that at least the portion east of the Recycling Center has been retained.

 

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Long Island Trail Lovers Coalition

Ken Kindler
Open Space & Trails Advocate
Post Office Box 1466
Sayville NY 11782
ken@litlc.org

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