Monday, December 7, 2009
Woodswalker and I took a hike on the Western Ridge trail in Moreau Lake State Park yesterday, in celebration of the first snow. We hurried to get there, for fear that the precious snow would be melted by noon; but, our fears were unfounded, in fact, there was no such threat; the higher elevation had had more snow, and the temperature there was colder, so there was no threat of melting! We hiked up the occasionally steep incline, and stopped on several plateaus to enjoy the view of the Luzerne Mountains in the distance. Close to the top, we could see the Spier Falls Dam down below on the Hudson River.
I never fail to marvel at the great boulders one sees in the Adirondacks, and although these are not the Adirondacks proper, geologically speaking, they are part of the same great thrust that created them, and so I enjoyed seeing them, scattered along the trailside as we walked; I always like to imagine how many creatures can make a home of the little nooks and crannies that are created by two, or more, boulders positioned together, creating little cave-like shelters. I imagine such shelters are in high demand, and that there must be stiff competition for these spaces. (This musing reminds me of Jan Brett’s classic children’s story, The Mitten, in which seven or eight animals try to escape winter’s cold by squeezing into a lost mitten, each subsequent interloper being larger than the last, stretching the mitten further and further, until finally, the last one to squeeze in is a bear!) The evergreens looked so lovely covered with the thick white snow, and in places, where they leaned in over the trail, with just enough breaks in the upper storey to allow sun to break through, magical hiding places were created. I was delighted as I passed through; it was like having my own little Narnia.
At the top we sat on some wide boulders and admired some interesting outcropping of rock; in one place, we saw some beautiful pink marble; and it seemed the higher we climbed, the more highbush blueberry bushes we saw; they seemed to be everywhere.
The climb back down was tougher, because the trail was slippery, and steep, so it was a good initiation for the first hike in winter weather, reminding me of the importance of the right equipment: I’d come without waterproof pants, and was wearing the wrong type of boot, so I learned a lesson or two! Though somewhat difficult, the experience was worth it, and just the sense of satisfaction for having challenged myself, was reward in itself.