12-21-2017 Magic Moment:
Winter Solstice! This is the shortest day of the year with an accompanying longest night. Tomorrow will be a couple of minutes longer. The sun will be reborn! I miss the summer sun terrible when it is visiting the other side of our planet. I always try to do something fun and outdoorsy for the Solstices.
Today I hiked out to Palenville Overlook. I haven’t been there in years and never with snow on the ground. I started out at the spillway at North South Lake, that being the easiest way to Palenville Overlook; mostly flat hiking with a small portion of down hill (up hill on the way back). The trail head is on the other side of the lake, but the park is closed for the winter so the spillway is the closest place to park. I was careful with timing, considering the shortness of the day, the coldness of the temperature, and the length and difficulty of the hike. I even took a thermos of hot apple cider to drink when I got to the overlook!
The whole adventure was simple wonderful. North South Lake was frozen, the first time I have seen it in ice! All the snow was frozen solid into a thick layer of bumpy packed ice. I used hiking poles for balance and my regular hiking boots were fine for traction. Snow shoes would not have worked. Once I left the state park and got into the woods proper, ,mine were the only human foot prints out there. The hiking trail apparently is a major thoroughfare for many woodland creatures: turkeys, deer, coyotes, raccoons. I never even had to look for trail markers because the trail was so trodden by all the forest animals.
The overlook itself was amazing, clear sky over the Hudson Valley. One other lone hiker appeared from the other direction (up from Palenville), took a couple of pictures and left back the way he came. I stayed maybe an hour, basked in the glorious day, the quiet beauty of the forest, the majestic view, drank my cider, took my time. But not too much time,when I started getting chilled, I too hiked back the way I came back to my car. Perfect Winter Solstice!