Tuesday, February 08, 2011


As you almost certainly know, January this year was rough in terms of the weather. We had the snowiest January in New York history, several big storms dropping 56 inches of snow all over the tri-state area. Most people thought it was awful, but I gotta tell you, all I wanted was another 10 inches. The snow stuck in Westchester the way it never does in the city, leaving everything blanketed in gorgeous white ... and most importantly, it left an incredible snow pack in the mountains and parks nearby. The icicles to the right are found in the ice caves up at Sam's Point preserve near the 'Gunks ... more about that later.


So each Sunday for the last two weekends, I have been out snowshoing, first in Sam's Point (just south of the gunks) with Cheo and Jurrian, and then with Aviva at Ward Pound Ridge preserve near Katonah.

The first trip, with Cheo and Jurrian, took in a trail Cheo and I had done two winters ago out to an ice cave and then down to Verkeerder Kill Falls. Both times the we have done it, we have not been able to complete the whole trail, and this time was no different ... again we had to turn around at the waterfall. However, the trail out to the falls was much tougher this time, about 3 feet of snow obscuring most of the manzanita that lines the trail in the summer and fall. The whole day was awesome, deep snow everywhere, with massive icicles everywhere. The ice cave was just as cool as last time ... although the insides were not coated with ice the way they were last time. Still, Cheo brought his snow chains for boots, allowing us to climb up the icy staircase we had not been able to navigate two years before.

After the caves, we trekked out to the falls, only stopping for lunch once we reached the top. After lunch we were about to leave when Cheo walked a bit farther for a look at the front of the falls, and I am really glad he did, because the view was of the frozen falls was spectacular.

Cheo wanted to keep going, but it was already pretty late in the day, so we headed back towards the caves, walked out and took in the frozen Lake Maratanza and headed back to the car, stopping at an overlook on the way back to take in the magnificent views of the Hudson to the east and the Gunks and the Catskills to the north. Even though we did not get close to finishing the trail, we went about 8 miles and were exhausted, soaked and thrilled when we got back to the car.

The next weekend Aviva and I headed up to Ward Pound Ridge State Reservation, near Cross River about 35 minutes north of here. One of the things I love the most about where we live is the incredible access to so many beautiful little parks and preserves that are easy to use for a quick hike or just easy access to the outdoors. On the way into the park, the ranger recommended the brown trail along the river in the far side of the park.

Good choice.

The trail was beautiful and empty, with a gorgeous blue sky, great tempteratures and a solid snow pack it was about as perfect as a day as we could have asked for. The park has good trail markings and the trails are well used, making the trail easy to follow and fun to move on. We only saw one other person (and her wonderful dog), as well as a small group of white tailed deer. The whole trail was only about 4 miles long, which was perfect, because we got a late start (I had to work in the morning) and snowshoing is pretty rigorous, so 4 miles was plenty. We got back to the car, tired and sweaty, around 4 in the afternoon, and quickly headed home to eat the pasta calabria (with shrimp) I had made the night before, and then headed upstairs to watch the Super Bowl with Zeke and Ali.

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