Yesterday, it was 25 degrees Fahrenheit at 1pm. I was bundled up in silk long johns, silk socks, wool socks, warm sweat pants, a ski shirt, a sweatshirt, a down jacket, sheepskin gloves, a hat, and thermal hiking boots. I am ALWAYS cold, even sitting in the house, so I was hoping this would be sufficient.
You see, I had agreed to go for a hike. In the woods. In the snow. In the ice. In the winter. I wasn’t going to let any stinkin’ winter stop me, no sirree.
So off we went. I’ve shared pictures previously of Island Pond in the Harriman State Park although those were pictures in the midst of summer, when plants were flowering and trees were green and full, at a time when multi-colored mushrooms and small lizards were evident, and deer were frolicking. Yesterday provided much different scenery from those pictures.
The entire forest was still as could be. Other than our footsteps when we were walking on the road, and some wind gusts and birds, the park was quiet. We saw no other animals, but there was a bald eagle flying over the tree tops at one point. There were winter streams with ice chunks rushing down the mountain. The park was definitely more desolate, but there was beauty in the stillness.
And how did I do?
I felt like a small child all bundled up in a snowsuit with limited ability to move! Or perhaps like the Pillsbury Dough Boy. But my body was warm, my hands were hot and my head toasty. Unfortunately, my feet didn’t fare as well and were a bit cold, but not unbearably so, so I count myself lucky on all counts.
If you want to go winter hiking in the Harriman Park, many of the roads are closed for the winter, but you can still access the park via Arden Valley Road off of Route 17 in Harriman. Drive down Arden Valley until you see the road closed sign, and make a right immediately before the sign into the parking lot. You can then walk through the woods, or you could take the closed off road and walk until you get to the Island Pond sign, and then take the road/trail to the Pond. You can’t miss it.
Just dress warmly.