Friday, November 28, 2014

Lake Minnewaska

 I had been to Lake Minnewaska before on two occasions. Both times in a hiking mode. Once with Helen, and once with both Helen and Nina. I always thought that the carriage roads that ring the lake and surrounding areas would be great for off road cycling. The miles and miles of fine gravel carriage roads provide plenty of opportunity for great views and challenging riding. The opportunity came during my one Wednesday off per month schedule. I drove up to New Paltz, about two hours from my house, and then on to the lake, an additional 15 minute drive.

I took my cyclocross/off road touring bike for the ride. It has 32mm knobby 'cross tires, and plenty of gears with its 26-36-46/11-32 gear range. Even though this bike is designed for on/off road riding, the somewhat rocky nature of the roads made me feel that for the next visit, a mountain bike would have handled the terrain better.
One thing about this area is that there are lots of lookouts. It also means that handling the sharp turns is mandatory, lest one go over the edge, and that it a real danger here. Moderate speed and reasonable caution will suffice for all but the most acrophobic riders. By the way, I myself am moderately acrophobic!
For the first hour of the ride, it rained in a moderate to heavy fashion. After that, the rain moved off, and it was only basically raw, with wind in the 15-20mph range, and temps about 45F. There are a lot of carriageway trails in the area, and I choose a route that would connect both lakes Minnewaska and Awosting. The connector roads were loaded with scenic viewpoints. 
One of the nicest attractions of the area is the Awosting Falls, easily accessible, and a ten minute walk  from the entry parking lot. It is actually a series of smaller falls leading up to Awosting, located in a deep secluded gorge. All in all, this day trip to Minnewaska was a great success. I think that I will return sometime soon.