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Old Oct 3, 2013, 9:19 PM   #1
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Default Route 209 in Wurtsboro, NY

Route 209 in New York State runs 60 miles from Kingston on the Hudson River end to Port Jervis on the Delaware River end. (It continues in Pennsylvania.) It is the oldest road in the U.S. built by the early Dutch settlers. The road -- really just a cart path back then called Old Mine Road -- followed the trail set by the Leni Lenape Indians, a tribe believed to be the oldest in North America. (source: wikipedia.org)

In the War of 1812 -- called by some as the Second War for Independence -- coal had to be transferred from the mines in Pennsylvania to the Hudson River for eventual transport to other parts of New York. A canal that ran parallel to Old Mine Road was built where coal, lumber, and other goods were floated on barges that navigated the canal. The canal was called the Delaware and Hudson (D&H) Canal.

During the Industrial Revolution, wagons and stagecoaches were replaced by the locomotive. The D&H Railway was built alongside the canal to replace the canal.

When automobiles and highways became widespread, railroad companies folded. The D&H Railway shuttered and Route 209 -- the same Old Mine Road that followed the trail the Lenape Indians created -- again became the chief passageway in the valley.

Although Route 209 is quite scenic -- the Shawangunk Mountains loom on one side while the Catskills rise on the other -- I never once thought of stopping to admire the view during the times I’ve driven there. It was for me just a means of getting from point A to point B.

But one early morning I saw the valley covered in fog and I stopped. I took pictures of a barn. Large empty wooden buildings that were once chicken coops are common in this part of NY State. I then explored the area and drove into an access path off Route 209 -- a dirt road heading into the woods -- that led to the D&H Canal Linear Park. The one-time railbed of the D&H Railway was still there but has been turned into a park ideal for hiking, biking, or bird-watching.

The following day, I came back again at sunrise. This time I stopped at a parking area also on Route 209. From across the parking area I watched the sun rise from behind the Shawangunk Mountains and cast an even glow to the surrounding valley covered in fog.

Sometimes highways are just that -- empty stretches of road in the middle of nowhere for people to hurry along inside their automobiles to get to where they’re going.

But sometimes they offer more. Highways provide glimpses to another time when ancient peoples roamed the same paths and maybe even marveled at the same scenery. And if we took the time to stop occasionally and be mindful of our journeys, learning along the way what history lurks beneath the roads we travel, then maybe we'd discover that getting there is really half the fun.

1) Barn on Route 209.


2) Fog covers the valley at sunrise.


3) D&H Canal Linear Park. This path used to be the railbed of the D&H Railway.


4) Parking area on Route 209.


5) Route 209.


Thank you for looking. C&C welcome.
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Old Oct 7, 2013, 12:20 AM   #2
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Very nice set of images. I like the first one it emanates a very peaceful time and place. Except for the traffic that speeds by getting to point B.
I can relate to passing by certain areas just to get to where your going and never really slowing down or exploring them. In the last few years I have been pleasantly surprised by slowing down and exploring. It's the content for a lot of my photography.
Good research on the history of the road. And HDR not overdone, nice.
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Old Oct 7, 2013, 5:20 PM   #3
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Very nice pictures in foggy conditions! Again, thank you for a lesson in history about this particular part of New York!
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Old Oct 7, 2013, 11:30 PM   #4
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I lived in upstate NY for over 15 years, but never slowed down enough to take such beautiful images...
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Old Oct 8, 2013, 8:30 PM   #5
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Thank you, all. I'm happy to indulge all in a little bit of history.

6) At the parking area, when I was done and all was quiet, I heard the sound of rushing water. I followed the sound and was led to an access path. A small brook was beside it to its left.


7) I saw several "no trespassing" signs as I made my way up the path, but this one caught my eye. It says, "No trespassing. Violators will be shot. Survivors will be shot again." I'm sure it's meant for curious truck drivers using the rest area and leaving trash behind. Or so I would like to think...
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Old Oct 13, 2013, 3:31 AM   #6
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I wonder if someone is growing marijuana in the forest to put out a warning sign like that?
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Old Oct 16, 2013, 2:53 PM   #7
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Funny. I read on our local paper a few years ago doing just that. I remember the high electric bill was what gave it away.

8) Portions of the D&H Canal Linear Park are heavily wooded.
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