Day Hike Notes – Fahnestock State Park

At the start of last week, the weather forecast for Friday looked perfect for an outing. The little National Weather Service icon showed a dazzling white sun in a blue sky, without any spoiling “partly” or “mostly”. I made plans for a section of New York A.T., my first ever.

By Thursday, it was clear that snow was coming through, though not enough to warrant unequivocal cancellation of my plans. It was snowing on Friday morning, and our schools called a snow day. I headed out anyway. Only an inch or so had fallen, and the forecast accumulation was less in Putnam County, NY, than in lower Fairfield County, CT. I made it to Fahnestock State Park with only a little sliding on the most minor roads.

Fahnestock State Park, Blue trail

The passing of the storm brought out winter colors.

I walked the A.T. under gray skies and an occasional flurry. Then, like a lot of people that day, I was thrilled by how abruptly the storm passed – an approaching line in the sky dividing gray from blue, a breath of wind, and suddenly the sun was out for the second half of my hike.

DATE: Friday, February 5th.
START & FINISH: Small parking area by Canopus Lake on NY Rte 301, 1 mi SW of intersection with Taconic State Parkway.
ROUTE: Broadly, Appalachian Trail south to Sunken Mine Road, then Blue trail north back to start (follow detailed NYNJTC description).
DISTANCE: 6.3 miles
TIME: 4 hours (10:45 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.)
TERRAIN: Some very easy A.T. and woods road sections. A few tricky, though short, descents. Blue trail rougher underfoot, but not strenuous.
MAP: NYNJTC East Hudson Trails, Map 103.

WEATHER: Light snow, then overcast. Sunshine after 1:45.
WILDLIFE: Beaver dam, beaver-gnawed timber.

BREAKFAST: Bagel and coffee on the road.
LUNCH: Melted cheese on flatbread, nuts, granola bar.
UPS: Lots, but the sudden arrival of clear skies stands out, and the sunny ridge walk that followed.
DOWNS: My left knee has become like my 1998 truck – I always worry it’s going to break down.
KIT: Printing out and taking the NYNJTC hike description in my pocket helped me stay on track.
COMPANY: Nobody all day.

New York Appalachian Trail, Fahnestock State Park

On the A.T. before the storm passed.

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