Going nowhere in particular often ends up being good.

7 Jun

Having no definite route to follow has always been the basis of our travels in haRVey. Getting up and then just deciding which way to go and where we will stay that night is for some a scary way of doing things, we enjoy being spontaneous. There are times when you know exactly where you want to go and times when there are several options on the table.

When we left Sue and Paul at Oneonta we had intended to drive east about sixty miles to a private camp ground, catch up on laundry and chores then head off again. But, as we were ready to pull out the camp ground early it seemed like a waste of a beautiful day not to go further.

We had already toyed with driving south into the Catskill Mountains, so that was where we went….. it was a lovely drive, hilly, green and very rural. Early summer, everywhere looks fresh and new after a long wet winter. We eventually pulled in to Blue Mountain RV Park in Saugerties  and still had time to get the laundry done thus catching up and having an enjoyable day.

Now where are we going?? The map showed that north of us was North South Lake State Park, indications were that the sites were small but it had plenty of trails. I called the office and was told if we drove over we could see if we fit. It was tight but we found a spot with a bit of a view over the lake and a path to take you to the rocky lake edge, we booked three nights.

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P1170572North Lake

The first afternoon was hot, too hot to walk too far so we followed the short walk to the Hudson River overlook. A lodge once stood on this spot, early tourists enjoying the spectacular view of 5 States on clear days just as we hoped to today. It was a little hazy but the view was still great and the cool breeze rising up the mountain very welcome.

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The next day was due to be very warm too, we had identified trails we would like to hike so set off early to make the most of the cooler morning air. The first part of the hike led us up on to the ridge we had looked from the previous day, then along the edge of  pine  forest, never far from the rocky edge and often with glimpses down to the valley far below. All was quiet up here, just the wind in the trees, turkey vultures soaring in the thermals, oh! and…

 

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This guy… who I almost stepped on thinking it was another twig, he moved and I stopped!!!! Still not sure what sort he is, anyone know?

We already were aware there were some scrambles on the route, not sure how challenging they would be we had decided to see how far we got and found the first one looked far more difficult than it was, big boulders piled almost vertical in front of us but plenty of foot holds led for an easy ascent. Well worth it for the view out over both lakes far down below us.

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Just off to one side of the path Robert spotted a Slipper Orchid

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A little further on our trail and we arrived at Newman’s Ledge, we had not intended to come quite this far but had missed the marker for the shorter return trail. So pleased we did as this view and the next part of the walk were so worth the effort.

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Robert could not resist the temptation to look right over the edge and down the sheer drop giving my nerves a bit of exercise.

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this is what he was looking over!

We continued on and the trail once more became ‘interesting’ but quite do able even for our capabilities.

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This bit was actually far more vertical than it looks but you can see the path was not particularly well made, we had to pick our route through the stones and boulders following the blue trail markers very carefully in places. The path rose about 50ft at a 45 degree angle from where we stood.

After several more scrambles, some now down rather than up and a little more tricky being slippery and wet on this side of the mountain, we found a large cave, we were not particularly inquisitive about this after seeing it was called ‘Bad Man’s cave’!

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As we joined the Marys Glen section of the trail it became even wetter, we had been pleased early on to find the trails so dry as most places we have walked recently have been muddy, now however we were having to be extremely careful not to slip on the steeper down hill sections. The Marys Glen trail joins the park road, it was only a few hundred yards before the road that we spotted, what we are sure were bear paw prints. We had signed a form on check in to say we understood the rules regarding camping in ‘bear land’, the ranger had told us a Momma Black Bear was around with her three cubs, we wondered if these could be their foot marks.

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Our hike was only around 4 miles but had taken us almost 3 hours due to the rough surfaces, we had however enjoyed the challenge. We spent a hot afternoon recovering and watching the brooding thunder clouds across the lake. Late afternoon the storms started to break with several loud crackles close to us but mostly drifting behind us and behind the mountains. The wind got up and became quite strong at one point, not as strong as it was just over the border in Springfield, Massachusetts where they had a tornado causing severe damage. Once more we were just in the right place.

On the road again we were making it up as we went along, we decided to visit the Taconic State Park at Bash Bish Falls. We seem to be having a water and waterfall theme at the moment. Again a small State Park camp ground with no services which we only just fit in to. We have to take into account not only our length and width but height too, at 12ft 6inches haRVey often has difficulty ducking under trees.

After our challenging walk at North South Lake the falls walk here was a breeze. Largely flat and a well walked trail alongside the river and to the 60ft drop of the falls. The park sit within two States and the dividing line between New York and Massachusetts is signed part way along the trail. An obvious photo opportunity not to be missed!

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A huge pool at the base of the falls surrounded by flat boulders attracts visitors to sit and dangle their feet in the water. The water was crystal clear unlike a lot of rivers we have seen of late which have been muddy with flood water.

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In the late 1800’s this area was a busy industrial centre for iron production and the site of an old iron works is situated along the other bank of the river. The furnace was an unusual type in its time in that it was cooled by water, this helped to make the iron produced very strong but also the manufacture of it very dangerous.

Now all that remains of the furnace is badly in need of the funds the Historical Society are trying to raise to restore it.

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I could not help but reflect on the so different situation in Fayette, Michigan where lots of the old town and blast furnaces are preserved as an open air museum.

An overnight stop at the local site in North Adams, Massachusetts then into Vermont.

Through New York into Massachusetts and now Vermont the surroundings have been very rural, small hamlets and farms dotted along the road, few large commercial centres and many small local stores. Now we arrived at Brattleboro, Vermont and found a bustling town, busy with traffic through it centre of tall red brick buildings. Our camp ground destination was a couple of miles north of the town centre so Monday we drove back into town to take a look around.

We had great difficulty finding somewhere large enough to park but eventually stopped in a residential side road. At the large house on the corner a lady was sitting on her porch reading, so I decided to ask her if there were any parking restrictions. She was very friendly and assured me we should be fine, so, we left haRVey under the shade of a tree and went exploring.

A mixture of stores line the main street, antiques, gift stores, a book shop, a huge outfitter for outdoor pursuits, coffee shops and a wine store, oh yes, a yarn store, and there was a brew pub too, unfortunately closed on a Monday. We did a little shopping and lots of browsing.In the local Co – Op, unlike our UK Co – Op this is not a high street multiple, they sell big brand names but also lots of local and organic produce. They had the best selection of cheese we have seen in a long while and we indulged in buying a small, soft, local goats cheese covered in herbs and a soft blue cheese, add the crusty French loaf from a local bakery and a nice bottle of Californian Zinfandel and our evening meal was complete, well it was my Birthday after all! I had a great day Thank You!

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2 Responses to “Going nowhere in particular often ends up being good.”

  1. ChrisH June 7, 2011 at 7:18 am #

    An intensive (5min) internet search reveals your snake might be a Milk Snake…

    http://www.chicagowildernessmag.org/issues/fall2002/milksnake.html

    • elainethehill June 12, 2011 at 12:48 pm #

      Ah, Alistair thought it could be a corn snake…… if we find a sugar snake we will be well set for breakfast it seems!

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