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Rockefeller Preserve Trail
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2021-01-02  
mini location map2021-01-02
16 by photographer avatarroaminghiker
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Rockefeller Preserve TrailSouthern, NY
Southern, NY
Hiking avatar Jan 02 2021
roaminghiker
Hiking6.00 Miles 800 AEG
Hiking6.00 Miles   3 Hrs      2.00 mph
800 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Well. a new year. But still not traveling for hiking; just being prudent. I miss the vistas and the scenes and hiking out west, but will just need to make do with hiking here locally. Local equals New York City metro area.

In any event, took my first local venture for this year, Rockefeller State Park Preserve. I had scanned the maps, hadn’t ever been there, it was close by (no traversing airports, standing in lines, taking rental car vans, etc. just a car ride), and it had received some nice descriptions/reviews. In fact, the official New York State web site gave an exemplary artful account, expounding that the park offers “quiet countryside walks of all lengths through forested hills and valleys surrounding sunlit pastoral fields.” And the site gave a bit of background, noting that the grounds represented a 1983 donation of a Rockefeller estate to New York State to safeguard the land for public use now and into the future.

The park did not disappoint. Now, the park did not offer, nor did I expect, extensive vertical elevation changes (e.g. Grand Canyon), or arduous, rugged trails (e.g. NY Catskills) or constant stream crossings (e.g. Arizona’s Boulder Creek/LaBarge). After all, the park was a former estate; the paths where designed for gentle roaming through pastoral grounds. And pastoral it was. The paths consisted of wide crushed-stoned carriageways, rising gently up modest rolling hills and through grassy meadows and rich forests.

But with my expectations properly set, the park offered a peaceful, relaxing ambience and experience.

Started out reasonably early, just at sunrise. As hoped, essentially nobody else (temperature in low 30s likely helped). My first stop – Swan Lake, a fairly large body of water, right off the parking area. The sky was overcast, so I wasn’t going to get any brilliant sunrise. But nice scenes any way. The dimmed sunlight left the winter-barren trees as dark silhouettes. A misty fog of a just-ended rain cast a sort of ethereal blue haze, with the near trees standing in contrast against the fog and sky, and the trees in the distance fading into mist. The still lake surface created sharp reflections of the trees, with the trees and their reflections often blending into one. And at one point, where the lake narrowed, I came across a tree on the opposite shore, a couple dozen feet away, which had held its now deep orange-brown leaves (the web gave me the term marcescence for a tree that doesn’t drop its leaves), with the orange-brown nicely reflected on the lake, and the tree standing out against the otherwise gray scene. And then a bit later, past the lake, again silhouetted against the fog and sky, an isolated group of trees stood nicely across a meadow.

As the morning progressed, the clouds and mist cleared. The tree limbs gained a bit of brown; the fallen leaves became more visible with their umber color; and meadow grasses emerged with their green and golden shades. A nice transition of the scenery. And in my ambling along, I came across a long series of cascades in a fast-moving stream (crossed by convenient pedestrian bridges), as well as some classic views of the carriageway curving into the winter forest. And then, after a modest climb up a large knoll, a broad meadow of golden grass appeared, and the forest opened up into an overlook into the lake and across the meadow in the forest.

This was then about time to leave. The pleasantness of the park had attracted, as is proper, families with toddlers, and runners doing their routes, and pet owners walking their dogs. All good. (Note no bicycles allowed. And no picnics. I surmise the goal was to create, and maintain, a quiet, subdued ambience.) But for me with the crowds increasing, I ended my visit, but pleased at the scenes and happy to have captured a few photos.
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