Since I've been gone

I've been missing in action for the past couple months, I know.  I've been out of school for the summer and taking the time to catch up on things, relax, and get a little ME time.  Sadly, the blog is one thing that had to suffer for that (and so did my gym routine).....But we're back! ready to go again.
So to start us off I'm going to show you some beautiful shots from a trip just a bit upstate from the city, to the Mohonk mountain preserve.  If you are a New Yorker I highly advise making plans to visit this gem of an area.  It's only an hour and change, driving, outside the city, I think there are even buses that go up to the nearby city of New Paltz.  

I've seen a lot of nature in my time, some really incredibly beautiful places, but maybe then I hadn't lived in a city where I was so secluded from it nature that I could really appreciate it's beauty like I can now.  I was walking down paths that would open up into some panoramic view of the valley or a waterfall and be blown away to the point of tears.  If I could manage to get away from all the comforts and conveniences of the city I would be so content to live in a place where I was greeted by views like these everyday.  More gays need to get into this so I could live like hermit in the mountains and still manage to find a hot guy in the woods.

As it happens I did find a hot guy in the woods,  I went with a very handsome guy from New Hampshire, who's moving to the city in a few weeks and his car allowed us to take this little journey.  On our first day we traveled up to visit one of my photographers who lives in Highland NY and after spending some time at her early 19th century farm house, she showed us around to some beautiful spots................ cue photos




 The first spot we checked out was a secret watering hole with a very high waterfall.  The trail starts you off at the top of the falls and winds around to bring you to the bottom where there's a swimming hole that's about 70 yards across.  The waterfall was spectacular, maybe a little "low flow" on this particular day but you still got the majesty of it.   So we swam (even though you're not suppsed to), I went under the fall and let the water pound down on me.  I bet the fall is 80 feet high, not deep enough water to jump into though.  We laid out, and then went back to town for dinner, a smoke and bed by 8pm.



 Day 2 we began early, and started off by getting a lunch to pack.  We picked up some hitchhikers and took them to their trail head, and oddly enough they were from New York and one happened to be a photographer that works with some friends.  We did a longer hike that crossed most of the preserve, going past two of its highest peaks.  The first leg took us to a smaller peak called Bonticou Crag, which reminds me of that Nickelodeon game show "GUTS" where the last challenge was always to climb the scramble on the CRAG.  But that's basically what we did.  We climbed up the side of the rock face in the picture above, and then there are two shots from the top looking out South onto the Valley, where we had our lunch.
After climbing back down the crag we went along the ridge towards the other peak and the mountain house.  The mountain house is a tourist lodge, that is really beautiful on the outside and just disgusting and packed with wealthy families who are doing their best to get out into nature.  Good for them for trying, and lucky for me because none of them were willing to get a little dirty on the trails I was hiking.







After passing by the house we went up another rock scramble to the top of the other peak.  This one was soo much fun.  Filled with tight squeezes, jumps, climbing, all of it.  Even spotted a bear in cave.








After going through a very slim crack running up one side of the rock face, you pop your head out and it's flat and you're on the top (or almost the top).  And again more awesome views.






After heading back down, we circled back to the car and finished the day out at another waterfall.  This one was not as high and spectacular as the first one, but was still very interesting.  It was a small stream that had a waterfall going into this small canal with 10 foot high rock walls on either side, then flowed out to a swimming hole and on down the river.  But what was so funny about this spot was that after taking a walk about a half mile down stream we noticed signs for a nude beach.  A NUDE BEACH in the middle of the woods next to a river.  Well actually it was on the river.  People just laying out naked on the dried parts of the riverbed, sunning through the cracks of the trees.  It was actually cool enough for me to want to participate but again "low flow" weekend so there wasn't really a place deep enough to get in.  So we went back up and swam near the fall.

After cooling off we had dinner in New Paltz and headed back to the city.  Best weekend I had in a long time.