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Polaroid Of The Week: Hiking the dramatic cliffs of Gertrude’s Nose

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Just a couple of days after returning to New York, I found myself at Grand Central Terminal, ticket in hand and ready to board a train to New Hamburg, a small town on the Hudson River in Upstate New York.

This wasn’t going to be a long trip, but even a couple of days away from the city are enough for me to recharge my batteries, and I was on a mission to clear my head with another great hike, after all the fantastic hikes I did in Tennessee last month.

The Lower Hudson Valley has enough hikes to keep me busy (and in shape!) for the next few years, but somehow I haven’t made it up there one single time since a long day hike last summer.

We consulted our hiking guide book to find a great day hike and finally settled on a trail inside the Minnewaska State Park preserve: the 7-mile Gertrude’s Nose Trail with a detour to Lake Minnewaska.

The hike started off fairly easy, on a gravel road, until we turned off the road onto a smaller trail. The entire morning we didn’t see a single other person, and the first sign that we weren’t the only ones in the woods were fresh bear tracks which made me slightly nervous. For the next couple of hours, we followed the path along the edge of steep cliffs, always overlooking the vast forest that was surrounding us. It never ceases to amaze me how close I am to so much untouched nature – just a couple of hours north of New York City.

We walked for over three hours until we ran into another pair of hikers, and only when we got closer to Awosting Falls, we started seeing more people, who had taken the shorter trail to the Falls, which we would use to conclude our loop and get back to the parking lot. The waterfalls were nice, but there wasn’t enough water when we went to make them as impressive as they would be after heavy rains, and so we didn’t spend a lot of time lingering there. Instead we decided to make a little detour on the way down and stop by Lake Minnewaska, which we’d seen in the distance at the beginning of the lake and which was now calling us for a quick dip. When we reached the lake, we were sweaty and hot, and we didn’t waste much time – we took our clothes off and ran straight into the lake for a quick dip. I am not sure if this was allowed, but it sure was refreshing!

We left Minnewaska State Park talking about possible fall hikes – not long until the fall foliage hits peak season, and I hope I’ll get to go upstate to see it when the colors are spectacular.

Looking for a fall foliage getaway in the U.S. this year? Here’s a great fall foliage forecast & map.

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