skinny-dipping in the Adirondacks

naturist 0001 Potholers, Adirondacks, New York, USA

The Adirondacks are great for hiking and kayaking, but even relaxing by a creek may turn out very special there, as it happened to us at the so-called Potholers on the East Canada Creek. One of the reasons was that it was secluded enough to have the spot to ourselves most of the time, so we stayed comfortably naked.

naturist 0000 Potholers, Adirondacks, New York, USA

Upstream from where we stayed, the creek was deep enough for swimming.

naturist 0010 Potholers, Adirondacks, New York, USA

Downstream were the rocks, flat and comfortable – you can’t ask for a better way of relaxation than chilling outdoors with the sound of running water.

naturist 0011 Potholers, Adirondacks, New York, USA

Well, maybe if you get in that running water for a shoulder massage!

naturist 0004 Potholers, Adirondacks, New York, USA

Some of the “potholes” create perfect natural bathtubs, where you could sit with the water flowing over your shoulders and massaging you! And the temperature of the water was (in July) just perfect – refreshing but not chilling.

naturist 0007 Potholers, Adirondacks, New York, USA

It was also nice to go behind that water wall and close yourself from the outer world for a moment.

naturist 0003 Potholers, Adirondacks, New York, USA

Of course you could still see through, even though quite distorted. But there were some very peculiar things to observe indeed!

Check out this video:

We are pretty sure this behavior has never been seen (or at least recorded) before, and we still don’t know its meaning. What is it?

Maybe that is what happens when naturists become naturalists and artists at the some time 🙂

On that trip, we also visited the G-lake. It was great for swimming, but while bushwalking around it, one of us got stung by wild bees!

naturist view 0000 G Lake, Adirondacks, New York, USA

And not to make you completely against the idea of visiting this lake, we also saw a leech there. But it was actually a pretty sight, because it swam gracefully at the surface and was brightly colored – green with orange spots; so I actually regretted I didn’t have my camera at that moment. Well, but at least we were lucky to record the elusive Homo tritonii at the Potholers!

kayaking the Sacandaga River and Good Luck Lake in South Adirondacks

view 0000 Sacandaga River, Adirondack, NY, USA

Besides hiking, Adirondack Park offers great kayaking too. Teddy, like many locals, has his own kayaks so we went to explore the West Branch of Sacandaga River and Good Luck Lake – with that name, you needn’t think twice about checking it out, and it turned out beautiful too! The banks of the canal that lead to Good Luck lake were full of blooming aquatic plants.

water plants 0000 Sacandaga River, Adirondack, NY, USA

The views from the Good Luck lake made us feel lucky!

Lucky Lake 0000 Sacandaga River, Adirondack, NY, USA

And we were indeed lucky to see a family of elusive loons. Their calls echoed because of the hills surrounding the lake, it sounded quite spooky.

loon 0000 Good Luck Lake, Adirondack Park, New York, USA

We stayed at the lake till sunset, and next day returned to explore the Sacandaga River more.

naturist 0009 Adirondack, NY, USA

That part of Sacandaga River is just perfect for laid-back kayaking: the current is not too strong, and the width allows easy maneuvering and yet being close enough to the banks not to miss any wildlife, that you’re likely to see there.

However, there are some places that hard to go through because of fallen trees.

kayaking 0000 Sacandaga River, Adirondack, NY, USA

Still, we managed to get through without too much hassle.

kayaking 0001 Sacandaga River, Adirondack, NY, USA

The bottom was mostly sandy, but in some places there were algae that looked like smooth golden-green hair.

water plants 0001 Sacandaga River, Adirondack, NY, USA

Going further up from Good Luck lake, we had more and more places that were too shallow to paddle easily,

view 0001 Sacandaga River, Adirondack, NY, USA

so the best way to continue was lifting up and crawling with the arms while still seated in kayak.

naturist 0003 Adirondack, NY, USA

But after the bridge, it became too rocky and shallow to continue in kayaks. We walked for a bit, but there was no sign it was going to improve any time soon.

naturist 0008 Adirondack, NY, USA

I think I forgot to mention, that ironically, Teddy’s dog was the only one clothed 😀 Teddy just didn’t want him to get lost.

blackberries 0000 Sacandaga River, Adirondack, NY, USA

It was nice to make a pause from rowing and get some blackberries. After that, we headed back downstream, and stopped at a little sandy beach. There was a fellow kayaker passing by, he seemed cool with us being naked but wondered why we didn’t have any ladies with us. We suggested him to work on that next time 😀

view 0002 Sacandaga River, Adirondack, NY, USA

Down another bridge, the flow was even calmer. We tried to go through a small channel, but it was blocked by a beaver dam.

beaver dam 0000 Sacandaga River, Adirondack, NY, USA

Well, it turned out that main branch was dammed by beavers too, just a few feet up!

beaver dam 0001 Sacandaga River, Adirondack, NY, USA

But it wasn’t too difficult to get over it and was actually fun!

naturist 0004 Adirondack, NY, USA

We heard some big animals running through the bushes – could be deer or bears – but the only wildlife we were lucky to see that time was a blue heron.

heron 0000 Sacandaga River, Adirondack, NY, USA

It seemed to be pretty busy fishing and didn’t pay much attention to us.

heron 0001 Sacandaga River, Adirondack, NY, USA

Given that Adirondack Park is ‘the largest state-level protected area in the contiguous United States’, there is obviously more to explore. Looking forward to the next trip to Adirondacks!

hiking to the Tenant Creek Falls in Adirondacks

naturist 0000 Adirondack, NY, USA

Sorry for having been quiet for the entire month of November, but hopefully we’ll be more active at blogging this month. Luckily, there’s never a shortage of what to post, just the lack of time. After writing about the hike in Mohonk Preserve in New York, I thought I should add a couple more stories from Upstate this summer. My friend Miguel, an avid naturist himself, connected me with his buddy Teddy, who seemed to know the southern portion of the Adirondack Park well. So, after a couple of weeks planning, I was on the train from [former] New Amsterdam to Amsterdam, NY.

Tenant Creek Falls 0000 Adirondack, NY, USA

Teddy brought me to his favorite hiking trail along the Tenant Creek.

naturist 0001 Adirondack, NY, USA

There are three waterfalls, but most people don’t go beyond the first one. We had the third waterfall all to ourselves!

Tenant Creek Falls 0001 Adirondack, NY, USA

The hike took us about an hour, but as we started pretty late, we had just an hour of sunlight left to set up a camp and go skinny-dipping.

naturist 0005 Adirondack, NY, USA

It was easy to find a spot for out tent, but the place is certainly not mean for a lot of campers, so we were lucky to not have any neighbors. The sound of the waterfall was a perfect accompaniment for otherwise quiet night!

Next day, we went to explore the forest around, and it was so worth it. Butterflies and flowers greeted us, and we had some hand-picked blackberries for breakfast :p

butterflies 0000 Adirondack, NY, USAbutterflies 0001 Adirondack, NY, USA

… and then I saw a coyote! He definitely saw me too, and even let me to take a picture of him,

coyote 0000 Adirondack, NY, USA

though by the time I focused well, he was scared by Teddy getting out of blackberry bushes and ran away.

coyote 0001 Adirondack, NY, USA

But even so, it was a big luck to have seen a coyote in New York state!

After walking in the sun, it was nice to come back to our camp and enjoy skinny-dipping.

naturist 0007 Adirondack, NY, USA

In the waterfall, there was even a deepening that looked like a perfect bathtub, but the water was too cold to really sit there for a while.

naturist 0002 Adirondack, NY, USA

We could swim in the pond below, however.

naturist 0006 Adirondack, NY, USA

On the way back, we saw these amazing colorful mushrooms.

mushrooms 0000 Adirondack, NY, USAmushrooms 0001 Adirondack, NY, USA

Near the first waterfall, Teddy knew a tree that grew right on top of the rock with its roots twisting down. It was almost the point to put our clothes on, because there might be more people coming, but we couldn’t resist snapping a couple of photos.

naturist 0010 Adirondack, NY, USA

What a great place to enjoy the beauty of the forest and meditate.

naturist 0011 Adirondack, NY, USA

This toad seemed to do the same, and lucky him, nobody would make a fuss for him being naked!

toad 0000 Adirondack, NY, USA

official(!) naked-friendly trail and water hole in Mohonk Preserve, NY

I haven’t counted exactly how much but a good share of our blogposts is about hiking. This one is special because it is about a trail that is officially designated for nude recreation! Yes, there is one (hope not the only one!) – at Split Rock in Mohonk Preserve, New York! I heard about it from Young Naturists America, as they organized a couple of outings there; you can also read about their correspondence with the park officials as to why there is no information about this trail on their website. The bottom line is that this is a private land, and one of the conditions of the owners to give it for public use was keeping its tradition of skinny-dipping. Well, if only more land-owners were like that!

Unfortunately, clothing is only optional behind the actual Split Rock formation (the name speaks for itself – it’s a split rock with a creek and small waterfall in the middle), and the nude-friendly trail is just about 10 min walk of easy hiking. I had a bitter-sweet feeling about this place. On the one hand, it was exciting to finally find an official place for naked hiking. On the other, it also seemed unfair to not include the main attraction in the clothing-optional part. Come on, if you decided to give ONE single trail of a huge preserve for nude recreation, can’t you give at least this one entirely?

naturist 0000 Mohonk Preserve, NY, USA

Nevertheless, I was happy to see this sign – I could get naked in the forest, ‘as nature intended’, without worrying about rangers. I finally got relaxed, after spending several hours to get there! Long story short: I was supposed to go  with two buddies by train to Poughkeepsie and then bike all the way to Mohonk Preserve, but I got a flat tire, and of course it was the only time when I didn’t have a spare tire with me; I didn’t want to keep my friends for too long with me and let them go ahead, but by the time I found someone with a spare tire it was almost too late to bike to Mohonk… Luckily, I got a ride almost all the way to Split Rock! However, my friends were already leaving by the time I got there, so as most other visitors.

naturist 0001 Mohonk Preserve, NY, USA

I could see only one [naked] figure wandering in the evening fog. I found another split rock water hole, much smaller than the first one though. The water was clear but pretty cold. I guess that’s why it’s called skinny dipping there.

naturist 0002 Mohonk Preserve, NY, USA

A bit later, the only other visitor came by and we started talking about this place. He was surprised to hear that I was going to return by bike and offered a ride to the town of New Paultz. I actually wanted to ride my bike, as I didn’t get to do it much that day. Then, as I was unlocking my bike at the parking lot, the ranger on duty also raised her concern as it was getting dark and the road didn’t have shoulders. When I saw a ver dark cloud coming and heard thunder, I finally gave up. Few minutes later, on the way to New Paultz, a sever downpour started! So it wasn’t a bad decision to drive to New Paultz and stay in a hostel there… Next day, I hitch-hiked back to Split Rock and when checked on my bike, found this big (I thought at the moment) garden spider under my seat!

garden spider 0000 Mohonk Preserve, NY, USA

The weather was quite good again, so I went to the creek once again. This time could sunbathe on the rocks, so refreshing in the water hole was more pleasant. Then I noticed something awesome on the bank of the creek:

wolf spider 0000 Mohonk Preserve, NY, USA

Now, that is a BIG spider! To be honest, I had no idea there were such huge ones in New York state (just look at the fir-tree cone next to it for comparison).

wolf spider 0001 Mohonk Preserve, NY, USA

Well, after posting this, I guess Split Rock won’t get any more popular… On the other hand, it’s not exactly the place that you want to get crowded, so it’s up to you if you want to face this monster! 😉

Another justification for writing about spiders now is that it’s Halloween! That’s my contribution here. I remember one of the readers wrote me he freaked out about the picture of harvestman (aka daddy longlegs) that I posted in my first story about Harriman State Park. Let’s see the reaction to these! It’s worth noting though, that while harvestmen are among the most poisonous animals out there, they are simply not able to bite a human. Unlike wolf spiders! (That’s the name of this beauty, if you haven’t guessed.) Apparently, nothing bad can happen if they do bite you, but it won’t be pleasant.

wolf spider 0002 Mohonk Preserve, NY, USA

I have to say some good words about wolf spiders though. They are actually caring mothers. The keep their their eggs in a special sac that they carry around everywhere with them; on the photo above you can even see how the sac is attached to her spinneret (silk-producing organ). And what’s even more remarkable, after hatching, little spiders stay on their mother for a week or so. Maybe I’ll see that next time.

wild stuff in Harriman Park, NY

This post will summarize some of our experiences in Harriman State Park, a beautiful woodland just 1-1.5h away from Manhattan (driving or by train + bike).

There are scenic views, numerous lakes, and plenty of wildlife. It is nothing but stunning to have that land of [nearly] unspoiled nature so close to the biggest urban area in US… This fact is only evident by the view from Bear Mountain.

By the way, the name was not given to this mountain in vain – yes, there are bears in the park, and we have even seen one! I have to admit this is not the best photo of a bear – unfortunately it was not close enough to make a good shot, but I just had to add it here as a proof.

Other animals, like the Canada geese on the photos below, might be less unusual for an urban dweller but also appear less menacing.

But before I go on with the list of animals we have seen there, here is a bush that every year turns those woods into a truly fabulous place for about two weeks early June. It is mountain laurel.

In places where mountain laurel is concentrated, e.g. at the Lake Skannatati, its white-to-pink blossom is outstanding.

In the height of its bloom, the woods look more like Garden of Eden than just a wild forest. Of course, you’d feel like wearing nothing but Adam’s (or Eve’s) suit there.

… which provides plenty of opportunities for nice photos. Just wandering around there feels special.

But don’t think it would be the only type of flowers you’ll see there.

Lily Pond is rightfully called so because it is almost entirely covered with water lilies!

Other lakes, on contrary, have totally open surface and clear water, like Second Reservoir

or Silver Mine Lake, for example.

And there are many more lakes.

It is warm enough for swimming from May to October.

If you’re not up for swimming, you can just walk on water.

Seriously! Well, it is just that many of those lakes are reservoirs with dams. It is like those infinity pools but in a natural setting.

Main activity in Harriman Park is hiking, but some trails are good for biking too.

I’d recommend wearing a helmet though.

But of course, it is hard to resist temptation to relax in such a tranquil place… especially when you have a hammock with you.

And especially after some nice food.

By the way, there are some wild fruits there too, like grapes

and blueberries, but better leave those for animals.

And if you bring food with you, make sure not to leave any garbage, it is really disappointing to find any in such a pristine place.

But even if you don’t have a hammock, sitting by the lake will make you forget about all daily troubles.

 

There are also some springs and falls connecting the lakes and reservoirs.

 

After all that chilling, it is definitely worth going for a walk again, and don’t forget your camera for there will be a plenty of opportunities to shoot photograph animals.

There are many colorful insects.

Dragonflies are the easiest to spot, and some come right to you or even on you 😉

Other arthropods that drew our attention were these huge centipede and harvestman.

Recently, we’ve seen this juvenile eastern newt (eft), that had amazingly bright orange skin (they loose the color when they go back to water and mature).

Common Garter snakes are common there indeed (and do not pose any threat).

As in any healthy forest, there is plenty of birds; we’ve even seen some nests with nestlings.

Some of the most common bigger birds are turkey vultures and herons.

The latter probably feast on fish like this school of young catfish.

Most likely you will see some species of sunfish family. There were many nests of theirs at Silver Mine Lake, and it was interesting to see how protective they were around them.

At Lake Skannatati, they could easily hide among water plants but they preferred not to,  perhaps they were even attracted to my underwater camera.

After I mentioned bears, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that there are some more common mammals, like hares,

raccoons (even though you can see them in Central Park too, it is somehow nicer to see them not feeding off a trash bin),

chipmunks,

and of course deer (white-tailed deer, to be exact).

Seeing a horned stag among all that blossom will make you feel like in a fairy-tale.

As Christian says, you may get to see unicorns coming out of those bushes any moment.