Unbroken trail around Newcomb Lake

Here’s another wintery photo for @dagsly and the title is for @tracytilly. Yes, I’m using your Twitter handles. 

I took this photo just past the edge of the Santanoni Preserve Main Camp area earlier this year. It was right before here that I kind of had to make the yes or no decision about whether I was going to snowshoe around the lake or not. Hiking into and out of the Main Camp is roughly 10 miles and hiking around the lake is a bit under 5 miles, so I was looking forward to getting a good 15-mile snowshoe hike in. 

I feel like that hike around the lake was one of the worst and best decisions I ever made. It was, in many ways, totally not safe. People knew where I was, including a DEC officer, but the conditions were rough. The trail was completely unbroken except for a tiny part near the end and even with my snowshoes, the snow was not holding up and it was up to my knees at points. 

I fell completely a few times, having to hoist myself up again out of drifts with nearby small trees. I mean, how thankful am I that I had been running and boxing pretty regularly at that point and had the strength to yank myself up again and slog through that? I got a little nervous a few times that the trail just didn’t seem to be ending, but I reminded myself that I was moving much more slowly than I would have been were I hiking with no snow on the ground. 

It was a total physical test the whole way, but I also felt more peaceful than I had in a long time. Being on the other side of the lake, knowing that no one was around for miles and hearing completely unspoiled bird song and breeze… I wanted to stay at the lean-to I ate lunch at all day. 

I came away that day, as I made it back to my car, parked up from the Gate Lodge, feeling exhausted, but strong, both physically and mentally. 

And I just came back to writing this after a phone call with one of my best lady friends. Friends have been SO key lately and I hope I’m being strong enough for them right now like they’ve been helping me.