Catskill Mountains of New York: A Wonder of Nature
By Lucie Laura
The Catskill Mountains in upstate New York, just a few hours’ drive from New York City, attract millions of weekenders each year. New Yorkers have long loved the sunny mountains, the small farms, the colourful flaming autumn leaves and, in the winter, the nearby slopes for skiing. From childhood days I still know the legend of Rip Van Winkle, which is native to this area, and I am particularly pleased to be able to experience this legend firsthand.
Paddling and Fly Fishing on the Delaware River
The first thing I do is make my way to the Pepacton Reservoir, part of the Delaware River. At more than 595 kilometres in length, the Delaware is one of the largest rivers in the eastern United States. This place is just perfect for kayaking. Under a bright blue sky, I glide along the glassy water and admire the dense forest which surrounds me. This area is famous for the Indian summer, a time in the fall when the leaves on the trees turn the season into an impressive play of colours.
Next, I learned about the famous fly fishing in this area. For this, the Beaverkill River is particularly suitable and I am told that former U.S. President Teddy Roosevelt was an especially big fan of the area and the sport.
Historic Towns of the Catskills
I had heard a lot about the beautiful, historic towns in the Catskill Mountains, particularly the historic community of Kingston. In 1777, this small town was the first capital of New York. Kingston's architecture tells the story in different layers, from the Dutch colonisation in the 17th and 18th centuries, a commercial trading centre in the 19th century, and the rise and fall of industry in the 20th century. Victorian houses, small shops, cafes and galleries can be found everywhere. Another wonderful part of this region is the many farm-to-table dining establishments which can be found in these charming small towns.
The Summit of Slide Mountain
From Kingston, it is only a short drive to the next outdoor paradise, the stunning Slide Mountain. If you want to experience an unforgettable hike with great views, this is the right place. The summit of this hiking trail is at nearly 1,220 metres, the highest in the area. The forest I crossed on this trail is impressive and amazingly beautiful. On my walk, I found white quartz pebbles and I was told that these pebbles are unique to Slide Mountain. Once at the top, you will be rewarded with a spectacular view of the valleys and hills of the Catskill Mountains.
Adrenaline on Hunter Mountain
No visit to the Catskills would be complete without visiting Hunter Mountain, where 55 ski runs await you. From smooth, wide beginner slopes to steep, narrow slopes for ambitious skiers, there is something for everyone. In the mood to test my courage, I decided to join a zip line canopy tour. The cable ride offered me a completely different view of the mountains and the surrounding countryside as I went from one adrenaline rush to the next.
With its proximity to the metropolis of New York City, the Catskill Mountains is a perfect destination for nature lovers and those with the spirit of adventure!