Snow that squeaks beneath my skis
Sunshine sparkling upon spruce trees
Kicking and gliding with a free heel
Watching a Red Tail swoop for his next meal
When the waterer's freeze
When the diesel gels
When I'm feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don't feel so bad
- with apologies to Richard Rodgers
There has to be something more to winter. More than fighting the intense cold that has settled in. More than the daily struggle to keep water and feed flowing to the cows. For me that something is little ski get-aways. I'm not talking about jet-setting off to Chamonix or St. Moritz. My escapes tend to be more plebeian. Usually just and hour or two in late afternoon. Usually in and around Washington County. As the season unfolds I'll try and post a few of them. Hopefully it will give you some ideas and inspiration for your own winter adventures.
New Years Day dawned, one more in a long line of 20 below mornings. It took till mid-afternoon to get chores done. By then it had warmed to a balmy single digits above zero. Perfect conditions for a holiday ski tour. But with only an hour or so till sunset my choices were limited. Fortunately, Hudson Crossing is just minutes from the farm. My old truck was willing to start (a good omen for the coming year) and soon enough I was clicking into my skis with a little daylight to spare.
I did a slow amble along the river, up to the point and back down beside the frozen canal. The Hudson was part open, part iced over. Ducks and geese seemed equally at home in the water or on the floes. Birders can get their fix here most any time of the year. Eagles and ospreys are always a possibility.
Cold Feet at Hudson Crossing
The 'Crossing' of the park's name is apt. Burgoyne's troops ferried the river here on their way to a whopping at the Battle of Saratoga. You'll also see the abutments of long gone trolley and railroad bridges. The shallow, bedrock riverbed made this a practical place to build. Today, the old Dix highway bridge has been refurbished for walkers, bikers and snowmobilers (but not cars). The snow machines use it to link trails on the east and west sides of the river. They stay on a corridor from Rt. 4 across Lock 5 to the Dix Bridge while walkers and skiers use the rest of the park. It's an arrangement that seems to work well.
People had skied, snowshoed and bare booted around the perimeter path. It's also a good place for winter trail running, if you have micro-spikes. For more milage you can continue on the old Champlain Canal towpath towards Schuylerville and beyond. The Crossing's trail isn't groomed which is fine with me. It's mostly level with just one short steep slope. For a little wiggle of a downhill run try the path down to the canoe/kayak launch. Just be prepared to stop at the bottom lest it become a canoe/kayak/skier launch.
I had a good time skiing my way into 2018 here. As a bonus, on the way home I got to watch a big, fat, Full Moon rise over the Argyle hills. And remember, if you need to defrost after a visit, Amigos is nearby with tasty Margaritas and sizzling Mexican fare. Let the rich and famous have their Vails, their Aspens. We've got Hudson Crossing - one of my favorite places.
* Here's a little New Years gift - a link to Julie Andrews singing 'My Favorite Things'.
A 'berry' fine New Year to you