It was a beautiful day Saturday! I mean, if you like cold, snow, ice, and a little bit of wind. Beautiful, I tell you! So let’s get our boots on and GO!
Darcy and I headed out to traverse the Palmertown Range in Moreau Lake State Park. Even though it’s relatively close, it’s still one of the best parks in NYS. Swimming, hiking, horseback riding, camping, cabins, kayaking… you get the picture. In the winter you can rent snowshoes, cross-country ski, ice fish. I can’t picture me sitting on a frozen lake for hours, but hats off to those that do. No wait, keep your hats on. Brrrrr! Check out https://parks.ny.gov/parks/150
We took our pup Blue along and dropped off one car at the DEC boat launch off Spier Falls Road, then drove down to the parking lot for Lake Bonita. There was only one car in the lot, and a fresh couple of inches of snow on the ground. We put on our snowshoes, pack for snacks, and snapped a pic. I usually like to because I *always* forget what time we leave.
The route we took went clockwise around the lake on the LB (Lake Bonita) Green trail. Once we got to the intersection past Beaver Brook we took a left and continued on the WT (Waterfall) Light Blue trail, through the fence, and on up into the hills, finally settling into the WR (Western Ridge) Yellow trail. The snow was soft on top, but just under the surface was an icy layer of snow that collapsed if you walked on it. Blue was not a fan of that, but staying on the trail (and snowshoes!) helped.
We followed the trail up and at one point popped out to some powerlines, following it east. After a couple hundred feet we realized we were supposed to turn right, not left, and head UP into the woods. At least we didn’t get too far! Back into the woods we stayed on the yellow marked trail and eventually reached the ridge. From here it was a steady UP and down with a few great views looking west toward the Hudson River.
The crusty snow kept Blue on the trail with us, and she would occasionally step on our snowshoes. Darcy got tackled and fell forward into the snow…. coming up covered in it. I might have laughed but pretty sure I hid it well. There are a few off-camber sections for snowshoes, and I hit one patch of loose snow which created a “mini-avalanche” which almost sent me sliding down the hill. Fortunately I caught myself, turned to tell Darcy to watch her step, and then proceeded to slide down another section on my can. She didn’t hide her amusement as well as I did I think.
We soon came up to the intersection of the CP (Cottage Park) trail and found the rest of the yellow trail wasn’t broken out at all, and with the snow conditions the way the were, it really started getting hard to keep balance. One of the reasons snowshoes are required in the High Peaks during winter is the effect walking in the snow has WITHOUT them. Post holes are awful to walk in, and when they’re hidden up some fresh snow… ARRRRGGGGHHHHH
The yellow trail eventually meets up with the CP trail again, descending to the north and heading back to the boat launch parking area. Somebody had come up a little ways and then skied down, so it was perfect for a little butt-sliding (glissading for the fancy). Blue loved running behind us, but I got a little bit of speed up and flew off the side of the trail. I flippin’ love butt-sliding… can’t help but laugh my a33 off the whole way.
We made it back down to the road and got to the car with a very tired pup and a very hungry belly. My go-to after a hike? Stewart’s Chicken Bacon Ranch pizza… EVERY TIME. Except today, they didn’t have chicken bacon ranch pizza, and pepperoni doesn’t hit like that after a hike. Funny thing? I don’t really like chicken bacon ranch pizza. Off to pick up the other car!
Like I said, check out Moreau Lake State Park… it really is a great place. And be sure to grab a map… they help!