View of Canopus Lake, Clarence Fahnestock Memorial State Park, Putnam County, New York, USA, Sunday, August 14, 2005
Yesterday Jenn and I went hiking with our friends Jen and Steven. We went to Clarence Fahnestock Memorial State Park, a wonderful wilderness area in Putnam County, New York. Here is a quality link.
Unfortunately, you need a car to get there. Fahnestock is a gem, an excellent park for hiking just a stone's throw from the city, but you can't feasibly get there on public transportation.
Fortunately, Jen (note number of ens) and Steven had access to a motor vehicle, and they very kindly offered to drive. We had been planning to hike Breakneck Ridge, but as soon as I heard we had wheels I immediately thought Fahnestock.
They picked us up at a couple of minutes after 9:00 a.m. and, after a 75-minute ride, we arrived at Fahnestock. It was already steamy hot and close to 90 degrees. We parked the vehicle on the road near the trailhead, slathered on sunscreen and bug repellent, and hit the trail.
It was almost unbearably hot and muggy and we were all dripping in sweat after the first mile. We were walking the section of the Appalachian Trail that climbs northeast and follows a ridge affording beautiful views of Canopus Lake and the surrounding forest.
We hiked as far as the scenic overlook area in the photo at the top of the page. We took a break there and cooled off, drank water and iced coffee (which I brought) and ate snacks such as trail mix and popcorn (which Jenn brought), and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (which Jen and Steven brought). At first we sat on the smooth stones on the edge of the cliff, but then we retreated a few feet into the shade of the trees.
Here's a picture of the shady nook in which we were standing to get out of the sun. Maybe it's a glen. I took it from the sunny (and very hot) area, my back to the lake.
We had planned to go to the beach on the lake for a swim after our hike, to cool off. That's the beach pictured below (though partially obscured by greenery). The lake goes off to the right, like in the top picture.
After we were finished enjoying the view we retraced our steps back along the Appalachian Trail (some call it the AT). Normally we hike a loop of some kind, but since it was the AT we thought it would be worthwhile to see it from both directions. Also, we were in a hurry to jump in that lake. In total we hiked maybe four or five miles, which isn't much, but in that heat and humidity it was plenty. We all hiked strong and well and without complaint.
We got to the vehicle and drove the mile or so down Route 301 to the beach area, where we received bad news. The park attendant told us they had just closed the lake to swimming, due to possible lightning in the area. We were bummed, and sweaty, but we understood. There was some distant thunder. And the AC in the vehicle felt good.
So instead of swimming we drove to the town of Cold Spring and grabbed a bite and a drink at an outdoor cafe called The Depot. It was nice, but what was nicer was the ice cream cone afterwards. Mint chocolate chip is one of my favorites.
The rain started shortly after we got in the vehicle. It was great timing, we didn't get one drop of rain on our heads.
We drove back to Manhattan on city roads and got a great tour of Yonkers. Steven and Jen dropped us off in Midtown and we took the subway home to Brooklyn.
I took the shower of champions when we got home, with water as cold as I could stand. Jenn and I both got cleaned up and checked ourselves for ticks (none!). Then we split a bottle of Hennepin. It was a good day, a really good day.
I'd like to write more and in greater detail, but it's getting late, and I gots to chill.