Bare Foot Trekking in Minnewaska

While trekking in wooded areas, you will see a variety of trees, plants, birds and even some wild animals.  Running into a deer is pretty common in upstate New York, but what happens if you run into a bear?

Fortunately bear attacks are rare, and they tend to keep away from humans when they hear them approaching.  You can help them run away from you by making noise, singing, or ringing “bear bells”.  However, avoid surprising them! I’ve posed a link below on tips how to escape from a bear.


On one memorable trek in Minnewaska State Park Preserve, I was hiking on a very narrow, bushy, and secluded trail when I spied a bare foot partly visible through the foliage about 15 feet below the trail.  As you know, hikers wear hiking boots, so an immobile bare foot protruding from the brush was a cause for alarm.  Making as much noise as I could, I dashed off the trail and ran down an incline through the undergrowth to get to the area of the protruding foot.  The numerous scratches from the brambles and small tree branches helped me to shout louder (practically screaming), and the impetus of my descent sent me rolling down into a small rocky clearing by a hidden stream.

I came to a rest plumb in the middle of a large group of skinny dippers!

I found myself surrounded by about 20 nude men, women, and children staring at me in awe.  Dumbfounded, I finally managed to stutter, “Sorry, I took the wrong trail”, and scrambled back up the incline.  As I dodged branches and brambles on my way up, I heard someone say, “I think we scared him away!”

I have nothing against skinny dipping or nudity, but I was caught off guard and totally unprepared for the sudden change in scenery.  I was expecting a bear scene, but fortunately it was just a bare scene.

beluga whales

Skinny dipping with the Beluga whales.

When scientists needed assistance in taming wild beluga whales at a captivity center off the shores of the White Sea near the Arctic Circle, they called on a Russian scientist free diver named Natalia Avseenko. Aveensko braved the -1.5 degrees Centigrade waters, diving in nude in order to interact with the beluga whales.

Minnewaska State Park Preserve

This preserve is situated in Upstate New York’s Ulster County on the Shawangunk Mountain ridge that rises more than 2,000 feet above sea level.  The terrain is rugged and rocky, blanketed by dense hardwood forest encircling two lakes.

There are also running streams that emerge in waterfalls. The picture below captures the waterfall in winter.

dsc_2357bwsmall-waterfall winter - serabi-meghan KW

Hiking, biking, horseback riding and cross-country skiing are very popular activities, with 35 miles of old carriage roads, and 25 miles of footpaths.  Swimming is permitted in the lakes at certain sections and posted times.  There are many beautiful scenic spots, and some require long hikes, so always bring maps and basic hiking equipment.  Remember to pack emergency supplies in case you get lost.


This is Lake Minnewaska surrounded by cliffs.  Cliff diving is not permitted, and there are designated swimming areas at lake level.  If you have visited this area, I would like to know your experiences, and if you have ever seen a bear around.

Link to: How to Escape from a Bear.

Categories: adventure travel, author, big apple, global, humor, lake, lifestyle, new york, novel, Photographs, photography, river, travel, trekking, Uncategorized, united nations, world, writer, writing | Tags: , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

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28 thoughts on “Bare Foot Trekking in Minnewaska

  1. That has to be ca-ca collldddd skinny dipping with the Belugas. But very cool! I would have been like you and made a retreat, not knowing what kind of looney cult I stumbled upon. Great post and pics Terry!

  2. Gus

    Excellent post and great photos!
    I like how you infuse wit and humor in your writing.

  3. Wonderful pics… thought I was sad to think of whales in captivity…
    Bears and nudists – even a stroll in the country is hazardous in the states then !!!!

  4. Amy @ Healthy and Fit for Real

    This place looks gorgeous!

  5. We’re both in ‘bear’ territory it seems. I hope mine remains ‘bear’ as opposed to ‘bare’. Haven’t had any of those around the ole cabin. Love your pics of the lake. So pristine.

  6. WordsFallFromMyEyes

    “totally unprepared for the sudden change in scenery” – that made me laugh 🙂

    Very interesting post – love how you unfolded it.

  7. Doris

    Wonderful photos, and stories, and tips, I would freak too.

  8. What a funny thing about the skinny dippers. I’m sure the sight of you coming down in such a loud flurry was just as alarming to them! Being from Wisconsin, I’m scared to death of running into a bear when I go up north. I know all the tricks about making loud noises, but if I came face to face with a big black bear…. yikes!!

    • Luckily I haven’t run into a bear at close range! I’ve seen them in the distance and they always run away.
      But close up, I might panic 🙂

  9. Thank you for sharing this spectacular scenery!

  10. It seems that hiking is not always a quiet peaceful experience! Fortunately we don’t have to worry about bears in our mountains! The woman diving with the Beluga must have been freezing.

    • Yes, that is why trekking is an adventure. You always need to walk with a stout stick. You never know when you may have to club someone! 🙂

  11. Well, that’s a totally unique experience. And the scenery looks fantastic.

  12. “I was expecting a bear scene, but fortunately it was just a bare scene.”

    Your first story was quite visual and hilarious, although I’m sure you didn’t think it was hilarious at the time.

    This is Lake Minnewaska surrounded by cliffs.

    That picture reminds me of a limestone rock quarry in Virginia. Several years back some friends and I decided to get in the car and drive, having no itinerary. We ended up in Shenandoah and came upon this quarry. It was a memorable and breathtaking experience. The water was crystal clear, around 90 feet deep, and the bottom was visible. It was a hot, summer’s day. We climbed the fence, kicked off our shoes and jumped into the water, swimming to the other side where the quarry was.

    When we reached the other side, we could see underwater cave-like openings, and dove under and surfaced in one of the quarried caves. I was awe struck, never expecting to see such beauty. Everything was illuminated inside, like dancing emerald green neon lights. The light passing through other openings made us curious so we’d hold our breath and go through tunnels and back up into another cave opening just as spectacular. Needless to say, we all experienced a major natural high that day. That’s when I fell in love with cave diving.

    BTW, thanks for stopping by my blog and for the follow. 🙂

  13. I just loved the bear/skinny dipping story!

  14. Thank you for your tip on how to scare a bear.I know I don’t intend to be anywhere near a bear.But having said that who knows.It’s always useful knowledge and may come in handy.

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