October 7th, 2009. Mohonk Preserve. Contributed by Suchitra Sugar, founder of a Jamaica based women's hiking club. It was a gorgeous day for a gorgeous hike on Sunday. It couldn't have been more perfect.
Our group of five women cheerfully piled into my Honda civic in Queens at 8:30 AM just half an hour behind schedule but one member richer. Our splendid journey started with a beautiful two hour drive through upstate New York's forested landscape …
… the sun highlighting the reds and bronzes of trees which had already started to don their autumn colors. It was a very relaxing ride up.
We parked at the Spring Farm parking lot in Mohonk Preserve and headed uphill via hiking trails and carriage roads shaded by the overhanging forest. We had fun chatting and getting to know each other better and sometimes we just walked in silence drinking in the peace and beauty around us – or meditation in action. Living in New York City, sometimes we forget the sweet sound of birds and frogs, swaying trees and gurgling brooks which weave a melody over the underlying peaceful silence of the forest.
After almost two hours of hiking we arrived at the Mountain House (which is a hotel by a lake – beautifully integrated in the landscape). First we walked through the garden. There we enjoyed the flowers and managed to make it out successfully from the hedge maze. Then, to gasps of amazement, we rounded the corner to our first view of the lake (which indeed is the most spectacular natural wonder within two hours of NYC) and settled down in one of the wooden pavilions to eat our lunch. This was a mostly silent affair as we all looked out across the lake and feed our bodies as well as our hearts.
Once everyone was rested and very satisfied we went to explore the hotel. It was a fun adventure. The hotel has a very cute gift shop and makes excellent hot chocolate – which we enjoyed. Before heading back we took a walk around the lake and got a good look at the cliffs on the other side. We all agreed that the whole adventure had been spectacular and we were ready to start up our work week again with added strength.