A Stunning View and Intriguing Folklore Set This Stamford, NY Mountain Hike Apart
We all like to get as much "bang for our buck" as possible, right? That's why I want to let you in on a natural wonder to visit that not only boasts an incredible view surrounding far outside Stamford, NY; but it comes with a tragic tale of a Native American Princess - Princess Utsayantha. I'm referring to a place I only discovered a few years ago and have been drawn back to ever since - Mt. Utsayantha, which rises above Stamford, NY.
Visitors can find it just off of state highway 23 on Tower Hill Road and you can either choose to walk up the mountain, most of which is a dirt road (for about 1 mile) with a trail starting at a granite marker. According to folklore, this is the alleged burial site of a young Native American woman named "Utsayantha". According to Rich Walling, President of the Stamford Historical Society, Princess Utsayantha who lived in the 1700s, was the daughter of a local Native American chief, whose village was along the shore of Lake Utsayantha. As the story goes, Princess Utsayantha fell in love with a white man in the area, married him, and had a child with him. When Utsayantha's father found out about this forbidden union, he killed her husband and drowned their child in the lake. In her great sorrow, Princess Utsayantha, rowed out in a boat to the middle of Lake Utsayantha and drowned herself. When Utsayantha's father discovered that she had died, he had warriors retrieve her body from the lake and then had her buried on Mt. Utsayantha. Talk about an intriguing and tragic tale! Is there any truth to this legend? After doing research, Walling says there may be a shred of truth to the story but it's unclear at this time.
If that tale doesn't interest you enough to plan a visit to Mt. Utsayantha, then it may interest you to know that you'll get one of the best views in the western Catskill Mountains from the top of Mt. Utsayantha. According to Alltrails.com, at the summit, you'll find a wooden building that was once an observatory and souvenir shop for tourists who visited the mountain starting in the 1920s. There is also a fire tower which I have been in and can tell you that it provides one of the best views I have seen in Delaware and Otsego County! You can see for miles around, even if you are not able to go up in the fire tower.
If the history of the Stamford area is of interest, you can take part in a special program on November 14 at 3:00 pm that takes place on the 240th anniversary of The Battle of Lake Utsayantha, which occurred on November 14, 1781, along the shoreline of Lake Utsayantha. This was during the American Revolution.
The story of the battle, and that of the lake in earlier times, will be told from the parking lot of Trinity Lutheran Church on Rte. 10, in Stamford, across from Taylor Road. This is a rain or shine event that is free and handicap-friendly. It's sponsored by the Stamford Historical Society. For more information, please contact Richard Sears Walling at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (607) 242-6998.
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