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.
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.
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.