Sunday, April 23, 2017

Cold Spring to Beacon, and an Aerial Show (Turkey Vultures!)

A strangely split tree trunk on the Notch trail
After last weekend's warmup in Tuxedo, NY, it  was time for the first longish hike of the season.  Key motivation?  I'd recently finished up my wonderful bottle of Manzanillo Varietal olive oil, and I could buy a replacement in Beacon!  It started like so many other Cold Srping hikes (Washburn-Notch), with the opportunity to bail out at the junction with the Brook trail. But I thought of olive oil, and soldiered on.

I went past the turn-off for the Casino trail, specifically to hit at least the very first scenic viewpoint  on the Wilkinson Memorial trial.

Though I was tired, I was very well rewarded for the effort. As I stood in the weakening afternoon light, with a cloud of gnats nearby, I saw a smallish bird pop up and attempt to hover like a hummingbird -- presumably feasting on the insects.  It popped up again, and I almost think I got a picture of it, but only if you already know what you're looking at and have a will to believe.  As I was wondering at what I'd just seen, I noticed a turkey vulture flying low and close.  Then another, and another.  And another.  Once or twice, one seemed to be heading toward me!!  I didn't capture them when they were super-close, but only as they zoomed out and around.

I think I counted 7-10 for sure all at once.  I stayed for a while, watching.  It was amazing.  Afterward, I considered going on for the Fishkill Ridge trail, but that was clearly going to be too ambitious.  Instead, I backtracked to the Casino trail.

However, as I approached the cement ruins that lead to the overlook, I decided to take a shortcut to the descent rather than going up to see the mechanism again. As it turns out, that particular footpath, after an initial descent, did not rejoin the red-blazed Casino path.  Instead, it followed the contour lines of the hill to my right and led to this very cool ruined house, which I'd never seen before:

Home, Sweet Home
The footpath I'd followed was in fact shown on my map, but it was not named (or blazed, for that matter).  The house hanging off the hillside, held up and destroyed by trees growing in and through it, was not shown on the map.  They may not really want people exploring this ruin.

All in all, including detours intended and unintended, it was about 12.5 miles.  From Cold Spring train station, I went up Washburn (white) to Notch (blue) to Breakneck Ridge (white) to Wilkinson Memorial (yellow) to Casino (red).  Thereafter, I walked down 9D (Wolcott Ave) toward the Beacon train station, but turned right on Tioranda Avenue after crossing Fishkill Creek to get to Main Street.  This turns out to be the ideal way to reach Main Street, as far as I'm concerned.  You come out right at the heart of the restaurant area - in fact, right across from the Beacon Falls Cafe, where I usually dine.  Unfortunately, it was closed; apparently their Sunday hours are 10-4, worse luck!  I went down toward the train station and bought some olive oil from Scarborough Fare.

a tiny gem of a sunset back in the city

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