Monday, April 17, 2017

A Walk in the Woods

Thirty or so years ago Carol and I would venture out as soon as winter showed signs of lifting its blanket to let spring in. We called these our Cabin Fever Hikes. Most times we'd end up trekking through a foot of snow up on the Shawangunk Ridge. Once we drove out Route 55 near Pawling and hiked several miles around Nuclear Lake (look it up) in melting snow. Since our legs don't tolerate that kind of activity very well now, we fly to Florida for a week or two instead.

Yesterday, we ventured out on a very warm Easter Sunday, to Ferncliff Forest Preserve and Wildlife Refuge, just north of Rhinebeck. The mostly deciduous trees this early spring day were bare of leaves, with only tiny varicolored buds heralding the promise of change while the scattering of conifers watched.

A distinct advantage of this barrenness is the view of the Hudson River from the top of the trail. In summer one would likely have to climb the fire tower to see it.
Other signs of spring peek through the packed soil of the trail, only lightly used this early in the season. I suspect they will not survive the summer intact, but with deep and hearty roots they'll be back to greet spring hikers.
The two hundred acre preserve is open year round for hiking, horseback riding, and mountain biking. even in the near ninety degree heat the walk was pleasant. The trail we took (the yellow loop trail to the tower) had some steep ascents and descents, the second could be a bit of an issue for someone with bad knees so a stout walking stick would be a great asset.

Along our way I spotted a few intriguing rock formations but declined to photograph them. I thought immediately of my talented friend Ruthie and how she could make a work of art out of those formations while my photos would somehow not have that perfect angle, perfect lighting ... so I didn't take any. Maybe when we go back for our next hike.

Anyway it's a great place to spend a couple hours and it's free! I recommend i