After an impromptu brunch at the Oriole 9 in Woodstock, I set out on my journey up Overlook Mountain (one of my favorite hikes in the Hudson Valley), I couldn't help but feel a sense of excitement and adventure. The air was crisp while thick fog surrounded the mountain, making the trail seem even more mysterious and majestic. I trudged up the old carriage road, taking in the sights and sounds of the winter wilderness. I couldn't help but admire the icicles hanging from the rocks, glimmering in the early morning light peaking through the clouds, and the vibrant green moss on the ground that contrasted with the dark greys and browns of the winter palette here in the Northeast.
As I hiked up here many times during this time of the year, I remembered that either the entire trail or at least the top half has always been covered in snow and ice, as dozen of tiny streams are crossing the trail. It is different this year and the entire trail is clear. All I was able to see is just a few tiny patches of snow here and there, hiding behind the trees. As I climbed higher, I came upon the ruins of the Overlook Mountain House. The massive stone structure was a sight to behold, and I couldn't help but imagine the guests who once stayed there, taking in the views of the valley below. I paused for a moment, taking in the beauty of the ruins before continuing on my journey.
When I walked through a patch of birch woods on the way to the Fire Tower, I saw a woodpecker exploring the beautiful white birch tree and trying to find a snack, I stopped and watched it for a moment, it was a fascinating sight to see the woodpecker work so hard for its food.
The ascent was a gradual but nonstop incline, and my legs began to burn with the effort. But as I reached the summit and the fire tower came into view, the pain was forgotten. As I climbed the tower, the wind became increasingly strong and piercingly cold. My eyes began to water from the force of the wind and the chill in the air. Despite the discomfort, I pressed on, determined to reach the top and take in the breathtaking view that lay before me. The wind made my climb more challenging but the view I saw at the top was worth all the effort: it was truly breathtaking, with the Hudson River, Ashokan Reservoir, the Central Catskills, and even five states visible between the clouds of fog.
I stood there for a while, taking in the tranquility of the hike and the majesty of the view. I felt a sense of accomplishment and joy, knowing that I had reached the summit of this beautiful mountain. As I descended back down the mountain, I couldn't help but feel a sense of longing to return to this place again and again, to experience the beauty and mystery of Overlook Mountain.