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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Fun Adventures in God's Great Creation in the Hudson Valley

The Hudson Valley is magnificent in the summer! Thousands of down stater's stream into the area attesting to its inviting beauty, though sometimes to our chagrin. Yet some of us locals forget about the beauty and fun God has placed right at our fingertips. Did you say fun? Yes, fun! 

Believe it or not, all of us need time to relax and recharge our batteries, especially those involved in ministries and teaching.  What greater way then to spend time with family or friends in God's amazing creation!

Minnewaska State Park in Ulster County, NY affords great trails for both the beginner and advanced hiker, biker and stroller. The generally flat trail around the lake is accessible for walkers, bikers and baby strollers. There are a few hills, but if you approach from the left of the parking lot there is less uphill and more downhill. The trail boasts some breathtaking views of the lake. Halfway around you can stop and rest for a full view of the lake. There are picnic tables at designated areas. (Use the map to guide you in the beginning near the parking lot.)My favorite place to picnic is the grassy field that overlooks the town of New Paltz and the Shawangunk (Gunks) Mountains. Many picnic tables dot the area and afford another splendid view on a clear day.

If you want to swim in crystal clear waters and appreciate a glacier lake, then Minnewaska Lake is for you. The beach area is easily accessible, though it is small and doesn't have much beach or sand. However, there is a dock to lie on or jump off into the sparkling, cold water. I did say cold, so this is not for the timid and warm water lover. 

If you're a cyclist and prefer more privacy, don't miss the trail to Awosting Lake. The five mile trek has some up hills, but if you're in shape it's easy and if not, you can get off and walk up the inclines. Blueberry hill is a path off the trail for those who savor the sweet taste of wild blueberries. After your respite, you'll need to get back on your bikes if you want to swim! 

As you bike up the trail, you can find some gorgeous views of the lake off to the side with a rock to sit on to have a quick snack. At the end, you will be awarded with crystal clear lake waters that will enliven and refresh you. Afterwards, you can soak up the sun and relax on the flat rocks that grace the "beach" area for there is little sand for the diehard beach addict, but plenty of warmth!

If you're looking for more of a relaxing day at the beach, why not try Taghkanic State Park in  Ancram, NY (Not to be confused with Taconic State park) Lake Taghkanic has an extensive beach area, clean and updated bathrooms and changing quarters. It also has a snack bar where you can purchase burgers for a decent price of $4.00, ice-cream, soda and other snacks.
You can also barbecue at the many available grills or bring a picnic lunch if you prefer. The sand is warm and inviting and the water is cool enough to be refreshing, but warm enough to jump right in. Tubes are not allowed or any flotation devices other than arm floaties or life jackets for children. Rowboats, canoes, paddle boats and kayaks are available for rent at a reasonable cost. You can also bring your own non motorized boats.

For several days in July and August there will be Interpretive Canoe Tours. This tour will include a leisurely paddle around the lake with educators pointing out interesting features, wildlife, and a little information about the local history. The tours will start at the West Beach Boathouse at 1:00 and cost $15 per person. The dates are as follows: July 20th, August 10 and August 24th. Make your reservations at 518-851-3631. Hope to see you there!