We hit the road for Minnewaska State Park Preserve, in the Shawangunk Mountains outside New Paltz, NY, by 7:30. Arriving just before 9:00, we join the fortunate, 50%-of-park-capacity visitors admitted before the gates close.
Of course, since park personnel direct us to the Awosting Falls parking lot, we face a mile ascent up the Sunset Carriage Road just to reach the Park’s signature feature (and our trailhead): Lake Minnewaska.
The cliff edges offer the most scenic views of the Preserve’s namesake. Morning sunlight ripples across the waters of the sky lake. Every vantage point appears more beautiful than the last.
the last glimpse of the lake
before the woods
We depart the Lake Minnewaska carriage road for the Millbrook Mountain trail. The voices of the visitors that circumnavigate the lake fade, but every now and then we don our masks to pass other hikers. As the trail descends, we negotiate wet rocks and gnarling roots. After crossing a stream, we begin our ascent up the slopes.
The heat intensifies. Flies and bumblebees buzz by. The near-midday sun shines everywhere. Nonetheless, we reach the summit, at last.
the diving flights of
After a snack, and a rest to savor views of the farms and woods of Ulster and Newburgh Counties, we walk the Millbrook Mountain Carriage Road back toward Lake Minnewaska. A mile or so in, we see the cut trail for Getrude’s nose. Since it’s only mile to the peak, we figure, “what could it hurt?”
and another ascent
a tree-filled ravine
We have lunch at Getrude’s Nose. Two red-tailed hawks fly in identical formation, as though they are courting. Another hiker talks about the state of the music business to his companion. We enjoy Peanut-butter and Jelly sandwiches, the sun on our faces, and practicing qigong together.
an even steeper ascent
up Millbrook Mountain
Instead of going back the way we’d come, we continue along the Getrude’s Nose trail. A long walk along the top of the ridge leads back to the Millbrook Mountain Carriage Road. By this point, my feet ache. Frank and I have sunburnt necks; all of us have dwindling water. A half-mile from the Getrude Nose cut trail, Mira asks, “Are we going the right way?”
A short distance later, Lake Minnewaska comes back into view. We press on, walking on soles so sore that every step stings as though we walk across nails. Nevertheless, we soon reach the Sunset Carriage Road, and the last mile descent toward the beginning of our journey home.
our Memorial Weekend