If you live in the Capital Region, odds are good you’ve been to John Boyd Thacher Park. Gape at horizon from the cliff’s edge, snowshoe, ski or hike dozens of trails, birdwatch with binoculars, learn about the hibernating bats of Haile’s Cave at the Nature Center: you name it, nature-based challenges abound along the fossil-rich limestone escarpment.

Last week, Mutti and I found ourselves kicking up snow off Carrick Road in East Berne to explore new ground. Other outdoorsy locals decided to do the same but with all-terrain fat-tire bikes and helmets. We bore red microspikes, hiking sticks and our dog.

A bizarre rock formation of some unknown significance stood near the trailhead. We veered onto the red-blazed Fred Schroeder Memorial Trail for an easy 5K (3.1 mile) loop. We zig-zagged around clumps of conifers, past barren farmland and around graceful snow-capped stone walls. A portion of the Long Path, a 357-mile long-distance hiking trail that begins at the GW Bridge in Fort Lee, New Jersey and ends in Altamont, crosses this section.

The adventure piqued at High Point Overlook with stunning views just as powerful as the busier Indian Ladder trail. What makes this special is the lack of fencing and warning signs – just be sure to leash your dog!

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