While much of the world returned to work today, I spent the day without a car. Lucille had some issues she needed to have fixed so she spent the day at the garage. Buzz picked me up and we drove to the river for lunch and a hike.
After lunch, we walked out of town and decided which trail we would take. We didn’t want anything too strenuous as we are both still recovering from nasty colds. Also, in typical fashion, we chose the coldest day of the winter so far for our inaugural hike for 2013 (for the record, it was about 25°F/-4°C at the time we were hiking). There would still be quite a lot of snow and ice on the ground, which could make things too difficult depending on our path.
We decided on a trail that is, strictly speaking, not a real hiking trail but a former driveway of a large old estate that has been vacant since 1938 and which has since fallen into ruins. And this is one of my favorite things about living in the Hudson Valley: the ease with which one can stumble upon history. Our path for today’s hike is now part of Hudson Highlands State Park, but once belonged to Edward J. Cornish, president of the National Lead Company. Originally built in the 1910s by a diamond merchant, Sigmund Stern, it became the Cornish family’s country home from 1917 to 1938, and it’s fair to say that the whole complex was quite elaborate. There’s a large stone mansion, a swimming pool, a greenhouse and, further up the hill past the aqueduct, a large barn. The entire property – all 650 acres – is now crisscrossed with hiking trails and it is on these trails that Buzz and I like to wander.
Today, however, it was a relatively short hike to the aqueduct and back.
The wind was sharp as we walked along the road to the trail head, and we pulled our hats low and scarves high. We knew we’d be sheltered from the wind as soon as we started up the hill. The old driveway still shows signs of pavement, but today it was all covered with a thick layer of ice and crunchy snow. We trudged up the hill, took pictures of the mansion, coughed violently for several minutes, then plodded further up. We stopped at the frog pond and then turned at the aqueduct. A few more violent coughing fits and photo stops, another brisk walk along the Hudson River, and then we were back at the car. Then I was off to retrieve Lucille from the “doctor” and go home.
Not a bad way to spend the second day of the new year.