End: near Lake Awosting, Minnewaska State Park Preserve
My mood changed a lot during the the day. I started with a long uphill climb to Sam's Point Preserve. It was very hot, and I wasn't too happy.
Then I got to the Preserve. It is managed by the Nature Conservancy. On the edge of the preserve, I passed some abandoned and destroyed shacks. On the map they are listed as huckleberry picker shacks, but there wasn't much explanation beyond that. Clearly they were remnants of the previous owner of the land.
They have a conservation/nature center there and I would've liked to look around inside, but it was closed (even though the signage said they should be open on Mondays). I had a big late lunch (which ended up tiding me over for dinner) at a picnic bench.
Then I climbed the half mile to Sam's Point. It afforded some amazing views to the south, east, and west. I could, again, make out High Point Monument to the south on the far horizon, though it was much smaller than how it looked yesterday. I could see for miles. It was very beautiful.
Soon after, I took a short side trip off the Long Path to the Ice Caves. The caves have openings on top but not on bottom, so when cold air enters in the winter it sinks and then stays in the cave in the summer. The trail led through the cave a little bit, and it was refreshingly cold inside. And, yes, there were large blocks of ice inside.
Then I walked along the ridge for two miles to Verkeeder Kill Falls. The walk along the ridge - in fact, all the hiking since I got to Sam's Point Preserve - was so beautiful! I was mainly walking on rocks, with some small shrubbery all aroud, and there were such amazing views. The falls were very cool too. I could look at the water dropping 100 feet down the cliff face.
So now I'm camped illegally again. There shouldn't be much more illegal camping. Though my morning was pretty crappy, my afternoon was great. I would say the afternoon - since Sam's Point - has been my favorite part of the Long Path so far.
It rained a little last night but I stayed dry in my tent. I really hope it doesn't rain again tonight because I'm not in a great tenting spot and I couldn't set up my rain fly that well. The sky looks pretty clear, and it was sunny all day, but there is a nice breeze that could bring in some rain clouds.
I reached 2000 feet in elevation today, for the first time on the trip. In just a few days I'll climb Slide Mountain in the Catskills, over 4000 feet high.