My Birthday and Our Anniversary

Steve and I went away July 31 and August 1 to celebrate my birthday and our 26th anniversary. We stayed at Minnewaska Lodge, then spent the following day hiking at Minnewaska State Park.
The first evening we dined on the dock at Mariner’s looking out over the Hudson, and I painted the Canada Geese while we waited for our dinner. Steve threw bread to keep them where I could see them.

After watching the sunset over Lake Minnewaska, we went to the lodge and sat on our balcony listening to the night sounds and looking at the stars hanging above the cliff. We each saw a shooting star, though not the same ones. The katydids were just finding their voices at the end of July; it was like hearing from old friends I hadn’t seen since last summer.

The next morning I drank my tea on our balcony, while I watched birds and painted the impressive Shawangunk cliff rising 100 or more feet in front of me with the morning sunshine hitting it. I could have stayed there for hours enjoying the chance to sit quietly with Steve and paint to birdsong, but we packed up and headed to Minnewaska to hike.

There were wild blueberries EVERYWHERE! The trails were lined with low bush blueberry bushes heavily laden with berries of many varieties– light blue, indigo blue, dusty blue, large small, seedy, juicy, huckleberries… We plucked berries as we hiked, scarcely having to slow our pace to get a juicy handful. I probably ate a quart and a half by the end of the day, and Steve said my tongue and teeth were blue.

We kept having to stop to admire the breathtaking views and take photos, as well as to cool off, since it was a very hot day. At one point we felt a gust of cold air, and found it blowing from a hole in the rocky ground. The air was cold enough for us to see our breath and we figured there must have been ice down in the hole. I don’t understand why the cold air was coming up and out, but it was delightfully refreshing, and we stayed there for several minutes, until we were chilled and actually could appreciate the heat again.

We rounded a bend to Gertrude’s Nose to see a Black Vulture perched on the edge of the cliff. He sat there long enough for me to do a couple of quick watercolor sketches.
The view from Gertrude’s Nose and just past it is impressive, with precipices of white rock and boulder-strewn slabs of rock everywhere.

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