Thursday, May 5, 2011

Turkey Hill Lake @ Harriman State Park, NY: 5 mi.

Last Sunday I headed up to Stony Point, NY to visit Harriman State Park.  I'd been to Harriman last fall when I hiked West Mountain, and being that it was only the 1st of May, the scenery really didn't look that much different, but it FELT different!  It was perfect hiking weather--mostly sunny, high of 65.

18 of us women hiked most of the white trail and I think some of the blue trail.  The dilemma I have when I hike with my club (Adventures for Women) is that I don't really pay much attention to the route or the map.  While it makes for a somewhat more relaxed hike, it doesn't help my skills much.  Next time, I want to try to be better about that.  Especially since this seemed like a trail that if I ever wanted to do it alone, I might have trouble staying on it.  There were several highway crossings, one of which could be potentially dangerous if you're not careful, and some short hills, not too steep but definitely got the blood pumping.  We broke for lunch on some rocks at Turkey Hill Lake.  I came back to my car satisfied with the five miles and eager to come back.

I'm supposed to go back to Harriman on Saturday to do a rock scrambling workshop at Bald Rocks (which is also where I'll be backpacking on the 14-15th), and all week the forecast said mostly sunny, but I just checked today and it says rain.  Hopefully it changes back because the group will cancel if it is supposed to rain really, really hard.  C'est la hike...

I can't tell if I prefer hiking alone or with a group.  I guess I like both for different reasons.  I love my band of women--there's no gossip on the trail.  And that's not a rule; it just seems we're all pretty like-minded that way.  I can (and do) learn a lot from many of these women, some of whom are real woodswomen.  But when I'm alone, I tend to be more aware of my surroundings.  There's that survival instinct that has to kick in when you're on your own.  I like that feeling, like I have to watch each step.  Of course, it's not like I'm going on any true backcountry, wilderness trails (although sometimes it feels that way).  Nonetheless, it's a very real, in-the-moment sort of feeling, which is why I think I'll really get a kick out of backpacking.

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