Friday, April 30, 2010

Fahnestock Hike Revisited

We made our first hike of the season to Clarence Fahnestock State Park last Sunday, almost a month earlier than last year's May '09 Fahnestock Hike. We took Metro North to Cold Spring, where we met the AMC group and piled in with one of the many drivers willing to give lifts to the trail head on Route 301. This map shows the route from the railroad station. We found the remembered winter landscape vanished, the blossoms all gone to compost, and full greenery shading the trails. We enjoyed the beautiful nuances of light threading through the fringe of new leaves as we made our way from Red Trail to Yellow to Blue and back to Red Trail, just like last year (trail map below). And as we did last year, we passed the remnants of rock boundaries outlining old homesteads whose owners abandonned the rocky hills 200 years ago and moved west in quest of fertile land. And right on cue, we came to the hole in a tree drilled by a piliated woodpecker pointed out a year ago.
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 Woods trails, alpine vistas and brook crossings:

Something new for us -- the fiddle head ferns prized by chefs back in the city this time of year. We had thought that fiddle head was a specific fern but it turns out to be a term given to any greenling in this early, curled-head stage just before it unfurls, as shown below.

Just at the edge of the woods, we found this mountain tulip, identified by a fellow hiker who had
 seen them last week in  The Catskills.

 Trail map of Clarence Fahnestock State Park.

This weekend, it's The Great Saunter. We plan to join Shorewalkers for a 32 mile, 12 hour walk around the island of Manhattan. We'll check back and let you know how far we got. Our pedometers will keep us honest. Surely we'll clock at least the required 5 miles.