As I’d written previously, the last day of my New York adventures featured two hikes with the Caleb’s Crew Hiking Club of Freehold, NJ. Earlier in the day we’d hiked Sam’s Point, and to finish we put in three miles on the carriage roads around Lake Minnewaska.
Lake Minnewaska State Preserve is a large holding in the Shawangunk Mountains and was long-known for being a tourist attraction. During the days of the “400 families”, the well-to-do would take the train from New York City to New Paltz and then be transported to natural wonders like the spring-fed Lake Minnewaska. The preserve has an extensive network of the old gravel roads the carriages used to haul the Vanderbilts and their friends around. One such road traveled three quarters of the way around Lake Minnewaska, and we used it for our hike.
While the road was gravel and wide, it wasn’t flat. The walk was broadly rolling, with climbs and descents that worked me but didn’t stress me. As at Sam’s Point, this slow walker at times was leading the group.
The final climb was to our lunch stop, the picnic area high atop the white sandstone cliffs. The air was cool, the sun was out, the company was good, and the late afternoon light ideal for photography. In the photo with the picnic table you can see the Catskill Mountains in the distance.
The Crew put in about three miles that afternoon. I look standoffish in the photo on the cliff, but that’s nerves from standing so close to the edge. I seemed to fit in well with the group, and as circumstances permit I’ll join them on hikes in the future.
And Lake Minnewaska is going to be in my future. There are other trails and roads to build up to – a waterfall, the rock outcropping known as “Gertrude’s Nose”, and more await my next visit.