Day Trip : Bonticou Crag & Table Rocks, New Paltz, NY

My worst nightmare came true. My external hard drive froze.

My external hard drive that contains all of my photos. ALL of my photos. Since childhood. I couldn’t access anything on the drive. My computer would not even recognize that the drive was plugged in.

My heart sank. I panicked. Every explicit word I know ran through my mind.

Devastation. Pure. Devastation.

I combed through forums looking for instructions but nothing has worked so far. The hard drive is still sitting on my desk.

Cries.

Am I being over dramatic? Perhaps. And after taking you through all those emotions, I remembered that I’m not stupid and I had a copy backed up on my desktop and laptop. So all is well again.

While I reorganize and combine the photos between my laptop and desktop, let’s take a break from New Zealand. Last week we drove up to New Paltz for our first hike of the season. On the Mohonk Preserve just a little past the Mohonk Mountain House is the start of a bunch of different trails. We chose to do the Bonticou Crag and Table Rocks track. An old high school acquaintance’s pictures showed up on my Facebook feed (no I wasn’t Facebook stalking) and I’ve been wanting to visit since.

At the parking lot entrance, we paid $12 per hiker for a day pass bracelet and received a trail map. As always, we followed the directions of HiketheHudsonValley.com. The instructions are clear, regularly updated, provides GPS coordinates to trail heads, and even provides the weather forecast for that week. It has never led us astray.

The trail starts with lots of green meadows which gives way to a short forest walk. You reach the Bonticou Ascent very quickly and it’s time to climb.

This rock scramble wasn’t very long (about 20 minutes) but it was a little tough. There weren’t many flat places to step. Everything was sloped. I usually really enjoy rock scrambles but it was so hot that day that we rushed through the scramble to get out of the sun. Definitely need to come back when it’s cooler or less sunny. The day we visited was in early June with a high of 81 degrees. After that hike we agreed not to go hiking if it’s hotter than 70 degrees. 75 degrees if it’s a cloudy day. If you haven’t figured it out, we really don’t like the heat. Or the sun.

This following part of the scramble was probably the toughest. You have to pull yourself up onto that rock KT is touching with his left hand. But there’s not really a spot to place your feet and boost yourself up. Eventually you find a way and once you’re past that one rock, you’ve got it in the bag.

At the top of the scramble, you get some nice views and can take some cool/scary pictures on the cliffs.

Normally we would have taken a lot more pictures at different angles and different cliffs but it was too hot for us. We quickly scurried back into the forest shade. After walking through the forest for quite some time, we reached the other feature of this trail: the Table Rocks. These huge slabs of rocks were a great place to have lunch and take a break. Enjoy the views, explore the table rocks, and maybe even take a nap as I was so tempted to do. Just watch out for those huge gaps between the rocks.

We didn’t linger too long because we wanted to get back early. Also, the heat. The trail back to the parking lot goes through more forest and a lot of green sunny meadows. Don’t forget sun protection! KT is always on my case about sun protection. And he’s right. I’m at an age now where I need to take better care of myself. Soon I’ll be carrying an parasol like my Chinese elders. Sigh..

You get one last view of the Hudson valley landscape before getting back to your car:

Personally, I would rate this track at a 6 out of 10 in difficulty. The rock scramble was the toughest part but it wasn’t THAT strenuous. The rest of the hike isn’t very steep nor difficult. Mostly walking through fields or forests. The scenery was nice but probably more beautiful in the fall.

 

Bonticou Crag & Table Rocks Track

GSP Coordinates: 41.7959, -74.12706

Useful Websites:

http://hikethehudsonvalley.com/bonticou-crag-table-rocks/

http://www.mohonkpreserve.org/suggested-hikes

Cost: $12 USD per hiker

Duration: 4 hours round trip

Distance: 6 mile loop

 

 

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