For various reasons, this summer has not been as light, airy, and filled with outdoor fun as ones in previous years.
Yet on Saturday, as the season draws to a close, we managed to find a walk that fit our needs perfectly: breathtaking views (both because of the actual view and because of the ascent to the vista); fresh air and nature (a deer, a salamander, and millipedes galore - alive and being recycled by the local insect population); and, finally, a place to properly swim.* There was a rather steep ascent for the first ten minutes, which leveled off. We were rewarded with views over the freshwater pond below and, after stopping for a breather, headed down to the water side. We reveled in the fresh water, which was a perfect temperature - not too hot, not too cold - and had not too much pond weed. After scrambling out and discovering that Dr. TOH had kept the potential presence of water snakes from me, we then dried off with another couple of hours hiking.
|The pond and, it appears, already changing leaves on the trees.|
The highlight occurred as we ascended once more, scoffing some well-deserved firecracker chocolate at the top of Eagle Cliff, and taking a long look at the glorious scenery. No eagles, though. The only fauna during the walk was a rather startled but relatively brave deer, who stared at us before deciding munching some plants was more important, an eastern red spotted newt, a delightful little orange fellow whose brethren I've spotted before but not remembered to find out what they are, and many, many millipedes. Seriously, I have never seen as many. Remarkable little creatures - that flurry of legs is amazing to behold.
The view from the cliff
Then home for tea and medals. On the drive home we crossed Bear Mountain Bridge and were stunned by ten or so birds of prey circling right next to the structure, making up for the lack of them at Eagle Cliff. By then my hamstrings and glutes were complaining, a lot, and every part of me had that physical exhaustion that feels wonderful because you genuinely worked for it, and it came through being outside. Nonetheless, we rallied for supper. We even managed a full 45 minutes of The Grand Budapest Hotel before conking out on the sofa. (We finished it last night - delightful, is my assessment. Not as good as Moonrise Kingdom, but still one of Anderson's better films, I think).
* For various reasons, including strong lobbying by my lawyering kin, swimming in ponds/lakes in New York State is virtually impossible if you want to swim any kind of distance and not just plod around a small, roped off area. This otherwise supportive and helpful piece about swimming holes in Harriman State Park is great, if you can get through the weird bit at the beginning, which may be actual disclaimers or merely a joke. My favourite of the "Facts": "It is just as easy to refresh yourself by wading in a lake as swimming in it. Wade, don’t swim." Right.