"The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in
its net of wonder forever."—Jacques Cousteau

August 25, 2019

Aug. 22 - Minnewaska State Park Preserve

Kerhonkson, NY

“The most rewarding things you do in life are often the ones that look like they cannot be done." —Arnold Palmer

We had planned to spend a few weeks doing a road trip to Nova Scotia starting last week, but we have a grand-baby due soon, so we decided we better stay closer to Pennsylvania until the baby arrives. We'd hate to have to do a 15 hour run from Halifax to Bloomsburg when Bryt goes into labor. So we're filling our days with things around here. We spent two days with friends in Connecticut at the beginning of the week, we ate a lot, talked a lot and had a wonderful time catching up with Ted and Sally. 

On our way home we did a little hiking in the Catskills Mountains. There are A LOT of places to hike and beautiful places to visit in the Catskills, but we decided on Minnewaska State Park Preserve. It's situated on the dramatic Shawangunk Mountain ridge, which rises more than 2,000 feet above sea level and is surrounded by rugged, rocky terrain. The park features numerous waterfalls, three crystalline sky lakes, dense hardwood forests, incising sheer cliffs and ledges opening to beautiful views, 35 miles of carriage roads and 50 miles of footpaths.

It would be impossible to see all of Minnewaska’s beautiful spots in one day, so we decided to take in some of the best views from the Gertrude's Nose Tail. It's a round trip hike that includes four different trails and is approximately 7.5 miles long. The loop hike started on a nice, smooth, fairly level carriage-road that took us around part of Lake Minnewaska. The next section was also on a carriage-road with a slight increase in elevation, but still a walk in the park compared to what was to come.
Millbrook Mountain Carriage Road gave us some wonderful views of the Palmaghatt Ravine. One of the interesting geologic features along this section was a large glacial erratic called Patterson's Pellet. A glacial erratic is simply rocks that were picked up by the glaciers and dropped out as they melted. 
Shortly after that we left the carriage-road and began the Gertrude's Nose Footpath (2.7 miles). It was challenging, but spectacular, it meandered along quartz conglomerate escarpment, laced with deep cravats and offered spectacular views of the Palmaghatt Ravine and Hudson Valley. The trail included short, but steep, inclines and declines, as well as two moderate rock scrambles. I thought the hardest part of our hike would be over when we reached the Millbrook Mountain Footpath, but we still had another 1.2 miles of steep inclines and declines before we would be back to the lake. At the highest point along this trail we were rewarded with a peak with a 360º view.

A few photos of the Gertrude's Nose Footpath.
At some points the trail was hard to find...this small peak was the only way to continue on to Gertrude's Nose.
Photos from the Millbrook Mountain Footpath. It was definitely a workout.
Sights along the trail
There were blueberry bushes...everywhere. We enjoyed some as a snack along the way.
Some of the beautiful vistas we enjoyed along the hike.
Closer to Gertrude's Nose with wonderful views of the Hudson River Valley.
A few rain showers in the distance. The showers caught up with us for awhile, but the trees kept us pretty dry.
At one of the higher peaks we found these rock markers and lots of shrubby Pitch Pines.
Once we reached the lake both Stan and I waded into the water to cool off. We were now back on the Lake Minnewaska Carriage Road...only one more mile back to the car. Of course this road started at lake level and we had to get back to the top of the cliff, so we were still climbing. We took our time and enjoyed the views of the lake, stopping at several places to relax. We definitely got a good workout on this hike.

Minnewaska is a name derived from Native American languages meaning "good water". One of the most enjoyable parts of this hike, besides the amazing views, was the smell of the fresh air. A combination of pine, juniper, wildflowers and blueberries...it was absolutely incredible. I can share pictures of what we saw, but unfortunately I can't share the amazing smell.

Views of the lake on our last mile of the hike.
Stan relaxing and taking in the view.
Almost back to our car...by this time we (I) was pretty tired.
This is the loop we made at Minnewaska State Park. The orange lines represent carriage-roads and the blue were the footpaths.
The statics on our hike today

August 19, 2019

Aug. 17 - Chimney Bluffs State Park

Wolcott, NY 

"Keep close to Nature's heart... and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean." -John Muir 

On Saturday we finally got a nice day to explore and hike at Chimney Bluffs State Park. High water in Lake Ontario this past spring made hiking along the beach impossible, but today we were able to hike the beach and the Bluff Trail. We started with the beach and I was less than impressed...I guess my expectations were set too high. It was nice and I was glad we had come, but it just seemed like a rocky beach with cliffs that weren't too impressive...at least from the water. Well, all that changed as soon as we hiked to the top of the cliffs...the cliff definitely seemed higher and VERY impressive from the rim where we could have easily fallen off. The Bluff Trail gave us a wonderful view of Lake Ontario and an amazing look at the power of nature. 

Chimney Bluffs State Park is a beautiful state park situated on the southern shore of Lake Ontario and east of Sodus Bay. The towering mud cliffs of the park, which drape down to a vibrant pebble beach, easily has the most beautiful vista overlooking the lake. There are four miles of hiking trails which traverse the park, but the most popular is the Bluff Trail, which leads hikers right to the edge of the cliffs. Smugglers used this area as a landing point while transporting liquor from Canada during Prohibition.

The Great Lakes were once the valleys of a massive river system that drained into the Atlantic Ocean. Repeated periods of glaciations gouged out the valley, creating large basins that soon filled with the melted ice water of the receding ice.

The bluffs were formed by a glacial drumlin, or pile of ground up mud, sand, and stones pushed along by the glacier as it scoured the land. Over time, Lake Ontario grew and began eroding away at the northern end of the drumlin, exposing the cliffs. Wind, rain and snow melt-water continue to eat away at the cliffs, reshaping the bluffs and providing an ever changing dynamic landscape that changes from year to year. The average erosion of bluffs is one to five feet per year.

Pictures taken along our beach walk
Some of the pinnacles and cliffs rise up to 150 feet above the lake shore.
Water from Lake Ontario has carved holes in the base of the bluffs.
The beach along the base of the bluffs is a covered in rounded stones from all over Canada and the Great Lakes region, ground and polished by glaciers and deposited over thousands of years. 
The mud at the base of the bluffs and along the beach looked like chocolate frosting.
Views from the cliff trail...the park was much more impressive from this advantage point.
You can see where the mud from the bluffs are washing into the lake in this picture.
Park of the cliff trail runs right next to the cliff...great views, but a little scary.
Trail Map - We hiked about two miles along the beach and on the bluff trail.

August 9, 2019

Updates to The Pearl (Part II)

"The big lesson in life is never be scared of anyone or anything." ―Frank Sinatra  

The Pearl is a Monk 36, hull #21, built in 1983...she's old, 36 years old. We've done a lot of work on her, but this summer we're giving her a facelift on the inside. Since the boat was built in the early 80s, it was built with ugly gold formica and gold vinyl in the shower. We painted the shower when we first bought the boat and it has held up very well. Our formica was so worn out the color was completely gone in some areas. We had several options for improving it...we could have new countertops installed, new Formica laid or paint what we have. The easiest and cheapest way to go was paint.

We did a little research, talked to a few people and decided we'd go with a product called Giani Marble Countertop Paint Kit. The only problem was we were ready to paint and we couldn't find this product anywhere in town...so we decided to try something else. Anything would be better than what we had.

While we were at Home Depot, looking for the product we wanted, we found another type of paint, Rust-oleum Countertop Coating. It was a quick, cheap way to make the formica look better and it definitely looks better than what we had. I don't think I can recommend the product, unless you want a quick fix. It was difficult to apply evenly (we may try wet sanding it to make it look a little smoother) and it doesn't look as modern as the marble paint, but hey...we're an 80s boat and it has brightened it up. We'll see how it holds up and how we like it. We can always use the marble kit at another time.

Here's the finished project.
Before and after photos
Here's the paint we used...we chose Light Ash
 This is the product we thought we'd like...maybe next year.
 Our other project for the week was to replace the window over the stove. Can you see the difference?