Well, Kate and I finally got there last weekend, refreshing my respect for the automobile, which lets you gaze, lazy and detached, from an overheated interior at the miles of icy, uninviting roadside only a lunatic would travel on foot. And it gets you those eight miles in minutes — in relative safety!
(Forgive my glee in stating the obvious — it’s been 14 years since I owned a car.)
Anyway, I’ll write up that adventure, a nice frolic on our new snowshoes around the frozen lake, pretty soon — this post is about a trip a couple of weeks earlier, a few miles west of the lake in that same state park, and again I got there the sensible way, on wheels.
It was a work day — for a lot of poor suckers. My phone rang, which scared the hell out of me, and after hurling it on impulse to the far corner of the room, I came to my senses, retrieved it, and a voice as warm and husky as a sled dog in an overcoat was soon tempting me from my hermit’s hideaway — or as I’ve christened the study here, The Mothership.
“Hey. Who’s this?”
“Dave. The Dude. You up for a walk?”
I hastily threw some gear together. Seemed the Dude and Trouble had the day off as well; within an hour they’d pulled in and up Route 9 we zoomed, turning left where I had in my doomed quest to see the General, but continuing further into the Palmerton Mountain Range, through the town of Corinth (“snowshoe capital of the world”) squeezed just inside the south-eastern border of Adirondack Park, and pulling over on a lonesome road near a trailhead.
Apparently we were right next to the mythic Hudson. This was so exciting, I requested a quick look before we started up the trail. Here’s Dude venturing out onto its waters, Jesus-like:
What can I say about the Hudson? It’s one of those mythic American names that still give me a buzz, the way it did in 2006, a lot further south, when I walked across it (at a height of 110m), via the Bear Mountain Bridge while hiking the Appalachian Trail; the way it did last year as I shadowed its far wider and better-known New York City incarnation while circling the “shores” of Manhattan Island — another walk I should really get around to writing up.
I never knew back then that it actually starts its 315-mile journey in the Adirondacks, or that its upper reaches freeze over like this; nor did I realise till now that it’s often mistaken for one of the largest rivers in the United States, but it is an estuary throughout most of its length below Troy (Wikipedia).
Now I can appreciate just how close I am here to this famed waterway. But no time to linger, days are short — instead we started up the trail…
..a little path of 5.66 miles along a ridge that parallels and overlooks the hibernating Hudson.
My friends have walked or run this path many times. It was their training ground before their PCT hike, and before that, Dude told me as we ascended, a sort of secret and jealously guarded pleasure, not yet a designated trail on State Park land.
The trail was closed for a while by a utilities company feeding power from a hydroelectric facility —
— today, though it’s officially open again, we passed just a single walker.
We weren’t doing the whole trail, just a shorter loop of a few miles, incorporating another short path to get back to the start. The highlight was this stop — once their “own” private place, now a popular feature of the trail in Summer — at an overlook with lovely Hudson views:
No snowshoes today, though they would have been fun:
Moving on through beautiful woods…
..my companions were very accommodating of my frequent pauses for pictures, a hazard of group walks nowadays, necessitating lots of catch-up sprints:
Now and then a feeble sun broke through the clouds and then the trees. Hiking in snow really stokes the furnace, and I was able to travel gloveless for most of this walk, a real treat.
A nice moment as a little snow shower cascaded down from a bough in the afternoon sun:
The sun was sinking below the ridge as we began the final leg…
..and moonrise through the pylons back near the trailhead signalled the end of an unexpectedly bountiful day —
— though there was just enough light remaining for a victory shot before the drive back to the Mothership (via the local liquor store for some celebratory ale):
* * * * *
I almost named the trail here, then felt guilty about helping ruin the “secret”. There are plenty of obvious clues in this post if you really want to to find it!
~ And that’s all the Goat wrote