After a successful first hike at Robert Moses State Park in Massena as part of the Great 8 Challenge, I decided to take advantage of being across the American border to do another hike of the challenge. So I continued driving along the St. Lawrence River, heading for the Wilson Hill Wildlife Management Area in Louisville, a few miles further.
If I had already heard of Robert Moses State Park before visiting it, I knew absolutely nothing about the Wilson Hill Wildlife Management Area. So I didn’t quite know what to expect. The trail head is at the very end of a gravel road, near the shore of the St. Lawrence River. When I arrived, I took the time to admire the river for a few minutes. Whether you are on the Canadian or American side, it is always beautiful.
A couple of hikers were leaving the trail as I arrived. “It’s buggy!” they warned me. I greeted them and started off into the wildlife management area.
Along with Robert Moses State Park, Wilson Hill WMA is one of the locations featured in the Nature Nuts category of the St. Lawrence County Great 8 Challenge. The trails in this category highlight places that allow you to observe the fauna and flora, and learn more about it, in this county of upstate New York.
The Wilson Hill WMA is a 3,434-acre protected area that includes wetlands along the St. Lawrence River. It is an important feeding and nesting site (for Canada geese, among others), and it is possible to observe several different species of waterfowl during migration periods.
There are two hiking trails, the Rustic Trail and the Nichols Trail, which together form a loop of just over 4 kilometres (2.5 miles). I decided to hike the Rustic Trail first, which, as the name suggests, is a narrower, more rustic trail (a trail just the way I like them!).
Well, the couple I met earlier weren’t lying: it was indeed buggy. Mosquitoes and deer flies were buzzing incessantly around me. I could barely slow down without feeling like they were attacking every inch of my skin. So I hurried on, which is a bit of a shame because the forest seemed very pretty to me.
I feel like I reached the Nichols Trail in record time. I was able to slow down a bit to enjoy this trail, because the observation platforms along the water gave me a moment of respite from the bugs. As we are not in a bird migration period, the marsh seemed very quiet to me, but I imagine that in spring or fall, the place must be a real paradise for bird watchers.
I braved the bugs again all the way back to my car. Not the ideal conditions for a hike, but I’m so glad I got to explore a place I had never visited before, and that I did another Great 8 Challenge hike!