This past year, in late Spring (around the end of May) I was celebrating the feeling of completion as a very busy Spring semester came to an end, and the sense of Summer was in the air. And summer was literally in the air, as the temperature hit the upper seventies and the air began to feel more humid. So, by the afternoon, when things were at their hottest, I could not resist the urge to head toward the lake at nearby Clarence Fahnestock State Park, a large wilderness area that contains part of the Appalachian Trail, and to make my way down to these large rocks in the water.

rocks in water Fahnestock

While there, in order to cool off, I kicked off my flip-flops and cooled my feet off in the water.

feet in water

This felt great and cooled me right down.  Now of course, in addition to the cooling effect of being near the water, I was also drawn, I suppose, to the opportunity for some quiet time in nature, particularly after caught up in a rather hectic schedule over several weeks. Nature is truly restorative. Nature is also a reminder of what is true and real. Nature is a wise teacher, in a way, and we are smart to allow ourselves to be taught by it.

These rocks and the water in which they sit are at the end of small peninsula on Canopus Lake, which sits among the 14,086 acres of parkland here in New York State. To get there, I go east on Route 301 and park in a small lot. In the summer time, there are often a few folks there fishing. Here is a view of the lake from the sky.

Fahnestock from above

Incidentally, this is what those two rocks look like in the Winter snow. I was there very recently, and here’s how they are.

Canopus rocks in snow

What a difference half a year makes. That said, I love this park, in particular, and enjoy it year round. For about the past two years, I have been taking a route to work southbound on the Taconic State Parkway, which is a very old highway that dates back to the 1930s. The Taconic twists and turns its way through some really magnificent landscapes in counties ranging from Columbia down to Westchester. And at a certain point, it cuts right through Fahnestock. So, when I am driving south, I am always wanting to take a detour into the park and to see it under varying conditions.

Going back to these two rocks in the water, then, this particular pair marks the location of where my journey with Fahnestock – which is ongoing (and there is so much more we have yet to explore here) – began, just a few years back.

park map - Fahnestock

On one Summertime visit to the park,  back in 2010, after discovering that the park was there, I focused a bit on the picnic area near Pelton Pond and on what is a fun rock climb for a great view of this pond. (And note, I now, thankfully, have much better foot ware than my New Balance runners for such tasks as this.)


tom atop the rocks

Pelton Pond from the rocks

the blue of the pond

There is a short trail that goes around the pond, and I wound up walking a good amount of it.

trail sign

The Pelton trail, though, proved to be a nice introduction to this park.

tom on trail

pond trail

A later visit here took place in early November, 2011. We had gotten a bit of late October snow, and so I was eager to see how the park might look with a white coating. It was on this visit that I discovered the Winter Trail.

snow below trees

red tree white snow

winter park sign


I realized that the trail path was a series of twisting downhill steps, back to the edge of the lake. And so, down I went.



white dusting going down the trail

Once down at the water’s edge, the view was magnificent:

at water's edge

the beauty of the lake


snow at lake edge

Being down here surrounded by such natural beauty was great. I allowed myself a bit of time to drink it all in. I then trudged my way back up the hill, and made another visit to the rock formation at the edge of Pelton Pond.

pelton rocks november

view from Pelton rocks

rock edges

This time around, I didn’t do a lot of walking around the pond trail. But I really enjoyed the view from high up on the rocks.

on the rocks

This reminded me somewhat of childhood visits to Central Park and the opportunity to climb on the rocks there; though I am not really a rock climber, in the same way as those who make this their routine practice, I can certainly see what the appeal of rock climbing might be.

(I also checked out the small picnic shelter here in the pond picnic area. Inside it, a sign indicates that it was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) which under the leadership of President Franklin Roosevelt, put a lot of Americans to work during the time of recovery during the Great Depression. My hope is that we can, in the near future, employ scientists, engineers, and other types of workers, in the same spirit as Roosevelt, helping to stave off the worst effects of climate change on our planet.)

stone building

picnic shelter sign

picnic benches

One of these days, hopefully some time this Spring, Jolie and I can come back here for a picnic, followed by a bit of trail walking. If so, I’ll update this entry with some more images.

Finally, here are some images from a most recent visit to a much more snow-covered Winter Park. Again, when I was there, I didn’t see anyone else on the trail. The highlight was going down toward the snow-covered lake and walking across what I believe is called the “rail bed” which thus spans across and allows for a truly scenic view of the icy lake.

snow on tree

frozen lake Jan 2013

snowy along the trail

white snowy trail

rail bed in snow


frozen lake 2013

snow covered lake

trees in the freeze

one last view of the frozen lake

Finally, it was back up the snowy trail. It wasn’t nearly as tough to go back up the hilly, snow covered trail as I anticipated that it might be, but I was certainly happy when I was done.

back up the snowy trail

Finally, here is a short video that I found on Fahnestock.

Interested in joining us some time for a walk here? Let us know, as we’d love the company.