Happy New Year, everyone! The bright yellow orb made every effort to jolt me up. Little did she know I’d been awake all night. 2021, understandably more so than other years, feels packed with possibilities! Regardless of the current dysfunction, I believe the Senate, Biden, and vaccine distribution have me remaining hopeful, at least for the time being.
So, with my new sense of looking forward, I went on a hike that took me backward in time to the Mohonk Mountain House.
This iconic, 300-room Victorian hotel, built-in 1869, remains as beautiful, posh, and exclusive today as it did then. U.S. Presidents, actors, artists, and musicians love the anonymity that the sprawling complex and 8000-acre grounds provide.
(Until my proverbial “ship comes in,” a hike to this destination is my affordable alternative).
For $60/year, I became a member of the Mohonk Preserve last summer with access to 85-miles of well-groomed foot trails and historic carriage roads that circle the property.
Our aim was the Sky Top lookout from the Pine Road trailhead via Kleinekill Farm. The signature stone landmark at the top of the ridge was erected in 1923 as a memory to the original owner, Albert Smiley.
We took to a labyrinth of fun trails with the map in hand. From open fields to hemlock woods to prominent, stark-white crags overlooking the valley, this hike was interrupted repeatedly by my busy camera finger.
Little Renee sniffed at deer tracks and lapped up open puddles. A fenced-in filly said hello to us as we passed.
Wondering around the 1896 Mountain House, still run by the 5th generation of Albert Smiley family members, was a real treat. Stunning vistas could be seen from Copes Lookout and Eagle Cliff Road.
Preservation of nature and architecture is what helps to keep the property active and open for business during the winter and despite a global pandemic.