Saturday, March 5, 2016

A New Trail to the New Lake

We've had a nice string of cold but clear days this past week, tempting me to abandon my lap cats and get outdoors.  My bum knee still somewhat limits my options to relatively level trails, so on Friday I started over McGregor Mountain, intending to walk along Spier Falls Road to enjoy some Hudson River views. But I never got there.  Mid-way over the mountain I spied a large area recently cleared of trees, and I was compelled to pull over to investigate.  Could this be the new parking area for the future Lake Bonita trails?

There was no way that cars could park here yet, with the area still littered with tree limbs and not yet graded, but while walking the perimeter I discovered a series of pink flagging tapes that indicated a possible route for a future trail down to the lake.  Did I follow it?  Of course I did -- bum leg be darned, even though the as-yet-ungroomed trail required some cautious scrambling in places.

Zig-zagging down steep embankments, the trail did lead directly to the shore of this pretty lake, which was recently acquired by Moreau Lake State Park, along with many acres of surrounding forest and mountainous regions. Following the pink flags, I proceeded along the southern shore of the lake, occasionally gaining views of the ice-covered waters and bright-blue sky.  Although the lake still appeared to be solidly frozen over,  no one should dare to venture out on that unsafe ice, weakened by unseasonable thaws and torrential rains of the last few weeks.

It was a delight to explore this untrammeled forest and lakeshore, the trail crossing a number of charming small brooks and also passing beneath monumental bouldered walls that were carpeted by a wondrous variety of mosses and liverworts and watered by little springs.

I followed the flags to the far eastern end of the lake, stopping when I reached this energetically rushing stream that flowed through a steep ravine.  I saw more pink flags leading beyond the stream, most likely to continue completely around the lake and eventually to connect with other trails in the Palmertown Mountains.  What a gorgeous new acquisition to this already wonderful state park!  I can't wait to return in warmer weather to document the plants of both forest and lakeshore that certainly must thrive here.

For the moment, I content myself with delighting in what beauty can be found in this still-wintry world, like the frozen ripples at the edge of a stream . . .

. . . or the hoarfrost that formed around an opening that led deep into the earth.  Could this be the den of some creature whose warm breath has crystallized around the entrance of its home?

I stopped to take in one last wide view of this lovely lake before making my way back the way I had come.


Woody Meristem said...

It looks like you now have another pretty area to explore -- so many places, so little time.

The Furry Gnome said...

How great to discover a new trail, and get to walk it before it's really a trail. Good exploring to look forward to!

Jens Zorn said...

"Frozen Ripples"---breathtaking!
And good to know that your ability to scramble is returning.