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We have snow in our yellow mums. They were starting to part and brown anyway. Clumps of snow are filling in the gaps and sitting on the tops of what remained of the blooms. Yellow petals poke out, holding on. It’s wet sloppy snow I wouldn’t want to drive in and don’t have to. One nice thing about living in the city.

First we make the hot cocoa. This epicurious recipe is the only way I like my cocoa, not too sweet. It works with almond or coconut milk, too.

Then I bust out the crochet because it’s time to finish the dozen hats I started last month. There was a yarn sale you see and nobody to hold me back. Now I’m in possession of a basket full of soft colorful yarn. Crocheting hats for my family is part of my self care regimen. Like yoga and running, it helps. So does hiking.

New York is a beautiful state to explore even when the trails are muddy. We managed to get in a few fall hikes regardless of some rainy weekends.


People weren’t kidding when they advised us to get up early for Sam’s Point on a weekend. It was a rainy Saturday and yet the parking lot of about 100 spaces was filled by 9:30. The place opened at 9, and we were there by 7:30. I take warnings of get there early very seriously, especially when it’s more than 2.5 hours driving to get there. Also, it’s hard to sleep past 3 am when I’m excited for a hike. This is not something my boyfriend loves about me, I suspect.

So here are a few pictures from our 5ish-mile hike in the Sam’s Point Area of Minnewaska State Park. It’s $10 to park and the ice cave is closed until spring.


The ice caves are probably the reason Sam’s Point fills up so fast. If you’re not keen on a longer hiker and just want some time outdoors, the hike to the cave is about 1 mile out and back, plus Sam’s lookout is along the way.

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Plenty of daylight seeps through, and the one stretch that would feel like a cave has motion sensor lights and a boardwalk. On one hand, it was nice to not bump my head on a protruding rock. On the other, it never felt like we were in a cave. I’m glad we saw it, but was happy to continue on.

The misty morning and early fall colors gave the woods a dreamy feel. The ranger said the fog would burn off but it never did.


The Verkeerderkill Falls trail is stunning and it’s mostly flat. The trail takes you through dwarf pine barrens along the ridge. This ecosystem is dependent on fire and you can see burnt trees from the most recent one (2016, I think)


as well as regeneration. Many of these bushes still bore berries in October. You know what that means. A ranger told us hikers see bears up here all the time in summer. He said the bears are too busy munching on berries to mind the humans. Good to know they’re not bothered by us, but I was missing my bear spray about now.


The trail alone was well worth a little anxiety though. Parts of it looked beachy and since we couldn’t see through the mist I kept forgetting we were on a ridge.


While not a fan of boardwalks in caves, I could get used to them on muddy trails. And you can’t hike wrong with a waterfall beckoning.


Not a bad spot to eat a PJ. After lunch, we hiked back to Sam’s Point lookout. Rumor has it the view is lovely.


I wouldn’t know.