Friday, August 22, 2008

Hiking the Shawangunk Mountains in New York

When I started the hike along the rock faced Shawangunk Ridge, I never imagined what I would see on the other side. A mountain lake, a mountain top castle, a lake side hotel so grand it looked like a Bavarian Castle. For a moment, I though I was back in Germany.
(click on picture to see it in detail - hey not bad for a cell phone picture)

The hotel is the Mohonk Mountain House. An exclusive all inclusive spa/hotel that caters to the wealthy NYC vacationers. Rates start at about $378 per night but include 3 gourmet meals.

This is a rock climbers paradise, known as "the Gunks." Even on a Monday, I saw at least 2 dozen climbers scaling the shear vertical walls. There are few passages over the mountain but the path we found was aptly named "Giants Path" which was a scramble across and under huge house sized boulders.

There were some ledges I walked on that were definitely "no room for error territory." (In other words, you fall - you die):

Overall, Giants Path was certainly not too technical, a walk in the park compared with the shear cliffs we saw the climbers scaling. A gorgeous piece of terrain near NY's Catskills and Hudson River Valley. The view from the top was awesome.

It was a different world in NY this time of year. The weather was awesome, 70's during the day, everything green and lush, it even hit the mid 40's one night. What a change returning to Middle TN... everything brown, dry, hazy and hot.

Looking forward to a long awaited trip to the Smokies soon.

1 comment:

Lisa said...

Yep, looks like southern bavaria for sure.