Friday, September 4, 2009

The Beaver Kill Ravine - Part Three

This is the third in a series of posts on the Beaver Kill Ravine.

Looking down into the metal grate, I saw a short vertical shaft of red brick. Below the shaft, there was a low tunnel of small stone blocks. And, careening furiously through the gray stone tunnel, were the remnants of the Beaverkill and Buttermilk Falls.

Albany once had a generous number of small rivers and creeks running through it. Of them, only the Normanskill near the City's southern limits is largely intact and parts of the Patroon Creek are visible crossing Central Avenue near the border with Colonie before running off into the Tivoli Nature Preserve.

The rest of the kills are long gone - buried, diverted, long lost beneath streets and buildings. The Ruttenkill (supposedly so named for the rats that frequented its banks) rose above Lark Street and cut a steep course parallel to Hudson Avenue right down to the river at the foot of State Street Hill. Foxes Creek (previously known as the Vozenkill) also rose above Lark, flowed through a deep ravine (before being diverted to flow under Canal Street, now Sheridan Avenue), crossed under North Pearl Street to meet the Hudson.

And the Beaverkill? It was long since diverted underground. But more on that later.

But here, roaring and tumbling through a venerable stone culvert was a small and quite obscure but visible remainder of the Beaverkill.

The picture above was taken on a later visit to the ravine. Heavy rains had flooded the ravine. A gray, stagnant lake filled much of the eastern half of the gully. And the solid metal grate had been ripped free from its base.

Click here for a view of the intact grate as seen from the south rim of the ravine.

Thrilled to have a chance to see the Beaverkill without the necessary, but obstructing grate, I was able to lean over the edge and capture some video of the roaring water. It wasn't easy to get a steady footing since the ground around the culvert was a sticky, shift mess of loose gravel and slick mud and I was more than a little worried that I might loose my balance and drop the camera into the shaft. Still, I was able to capture the rushing water from two angles (without losing the camera).

Click here to view the video and try not to get too dizzy.

As you can see, the water pours out of the stone culvert, drops down, and flows into a lower section of culvert which, due to the angle and difficult footing, I was not able to take photos or video of.

To be continued...

Part One
Part Two
Part Four
Part Five
Winter In The Beaver Kill

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