Return to Minnewaska

The last few hundred meters of the Jenny Lane trail were wet and squishy as it dead-ended into Lower Awosting Road. Three 20-something women that I’d passed on the carriage road earlier were looking at the trail sign.

“Is this the way to Gertrude’s Nose?” one of them asked.

A rocky outcrop just north of Lake Minnewaska, Gertrude’s Nose offers commanding views towards the Hudson River and beyond. Unfortunately for the three wayward hikers, our encounter was at the junction of the Jenny Lane trail and Lower Awosting Road, diametrically across Lake Minnewaska State Park from Gertrude’s Nose.

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Poaching the Smiley Road

“Four mile post. Entering the lost community of the huckleberry pickers. You are not forgotten.”

Someone had carved this inscription into a board and nailed it to a tree at mile four, coming from Ellenville, on the Smiley carriage road.

Smiley Road
Along the Smiley Road

Earlier this month, I’d run a loop in Sam’s Point Preserve, partly inspired by Marc Fried’s book The Huckleberry Pickers. The Smiley road figures large in Fried’s book.

In 1900, the Smiley brothers, owners of Mohonk Mountain House and Cliff House and Wildmere on Lake Minnewaska, expanded their already extensive carriage road network with a seven-mile road from Lake Awosting to Ellenville.

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Sam’s Point Loop

“You come all the way up from Jersey?”

The guy who accosted me on the Publik House’s patio in Ellenville, NY, was some years older than I, sporting a bushy white beard and minding a high-spirited grandchild. I slumped in a chair, contemplating a hard-earned post-run meal and adult beverage.

Minnewaska meadow

“Yeah… I’ve been in the eastern side of Minnewaska a lot, but not so much the west side. Were you a berry picker?”

“Yep, a long time ago.” He sighed and looked into the distance. “There weren’t so many rules then.”

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