Snow lingers longest where lots of it fell in the first place, and where the sun’s rays don’t reach it afterward. My backyard, southwest-facing, was mostly clear of the effects of the March 14 nor’easter by last weekend. The countryside between home and Fahnestock State Park looked quite clear too. But this was a snowy hike, even at lower elevations. These lowlands lay in a valley, sheltered from the sun’s warmth by big hills. Near the summits, where the storm would have dumped the most snow anyway, outcrops and clefts preserved calf-deep cover. Only on the south- and west-facing slopes of the big hills was the forest floor bare. It wasn’t beautiful snow. It was old, walked over by deer, and sprinkled with debris. The sun did not come out to make it shine. But it gave me a workout, and probably peace.
DATE: Sunday, March 26th.
START & FINISH: Hubbard Lodge, Philipstown NY (41.444478, -73.914883).
ROUTE: School Mountain Rd, East Mountain Loop, Perkins, and Fahnestock trails in a clockwise loop.
DISTANCE: 7.9 miles, according to the park trails map.
TIME: 4¾ hours (8:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.)
TERRAIN: Significant remnant snow made everything more difficult, but the circuit would anyway have been moderately strenuous, rarely staying on the level for long (start = 420’, highest point = about 1,200’, three significant summits).
MAP: NYNJTC East Hudson Trails, Map 103.
WEATHER: Overcast, calm, cool (high around 40).
WILDLIFE: A bald eagle took off from Round Hill while I was having lunch.
BREAKFAST: McDonald’s, Cortlandt.
LUNCH: Manchego cheese on ciabatta, nuts, on Round Hill.
UPS: Getting a good workout and a lot of peace.
DOWNS: Very minor, but much more snow on the ground than I expected.
KIT: A new quilted vest, which I slipped into for lunch. It kept me warm, then squished down to almost nothing in my pack.
COMPANY: Nobody until the very end.