Thursday, March 23, 2017
Circumnavigating Lake Minnewaska
After not making it to the top of SW Hunter, J and I decided that we likely wouldn't be able to make it to the top the next day ... or to the top of any other Catskill peak. Luckily, the 3500 isn't the only list we are working on. There is the Views and Brews patch, for one.
We had to head south to return our rental car anyway, so we decided to do something in the New Paltz area. I've driven through the Shawangunks and even stayed in New Paltz, but never hiked there. The Gunks are most famous as a climbing area; that doesn't mean they don't have nice hiking.
Minnewaska State Park Preserve (entrance fee required) was perfect for a nice snowshoe hike. The trail around the lake is just a few miles. It has some elevation gain and loss, but nothing like the Catskills. And the snowshoeing conditions were perfect - especially since trail was already broken. It was the introduction to snowshoeing I should have given to J!
Cross-country skiers and even booted hikers were also out, although the latter had some tougher work cut out for them. We found the snowshoeing easy as we hiked counterclockwise around the lake, which came in and out of view.
Afterwards, we had to fulfill the "brews" part of the requirement. We stopped at Rough Cut Brewing, which had really excellent beer (I only sipped tiny tastes of J's flight, being the driver, but the nachos were also quite good).
All told, the hike is two picturesque miles, with the ability to add miles via other trails.