This past Sunday was spent with family doing what has become a yearly hike. Just outside of Albany and not far from Altamont is Thatcher Park. The park has a wonderful hike along it's limestone cliffs. The history here dates back to the late 1500's. The trail is called the Indian Ladder trail and it was used by the Mohawk/Iroquois Indians to reach Henry Hudson's Trading Post.
In 1777, Jacob Salsbury, a spy during the Burgoyne Invasion was found hiding in the caves along here. The Battle of Bemis Heights, is the 2nd Battle of Saratoga. It was the second and last major engagement in the Battle of Saratoga. Burgoyne's expedition had failed in its attempt to gather supplies, previously at the Battle of Bennington in August. Burgoyne later surrendered at the final Battle of Saratoga.
Finally, the Helderberg War, was a tenants' revolt in upstate New York during the early 19th century. Dutch settlers were brought here by Patroons. They paid heavy rents until they freed themselves. It began with the death of Stephan Van Rensselaer III in 1839. Stephen, was a landowner and a patroon of the region at the time. The patroons owned all the land on which the tenants in the Hudson Valley lived. They used feudal leases to maintain control of the region. This Anti-Rent War led to the creation of the Antirenter Party and influenced New York politics from 1846 to 1851.
This weekend, it was a wonderful hike of about 3 1/2 miles and A LOT of stairs. The history makes it even more interesting to think that you are walking the same path as so many of our ancestors. The limestone cliffs are as beautiful as the view across the valley to the Adirondacks and Green Mountains. If only I had worn my heels, I probably could have seen Granville!