"The Heavenly Journey to Pine Meadow Lake", Harriman State Park
If you have a passion for beautiful cascading streams, pristine flowing water, and stress relieving activities, this place is for you! Get ready to embark on a graceful adventure with me.
In January, I wrote an article for the Wanderblog titled "Snowing Sloatsburg". This time, I revisit some special gems from that outing and discover new spectacular vistas.
It is a beautiful early spring day. I enter Harriman State Park from Seven Lakes Drive onto the Red Blazed Trail (just a bit west from the Reeves Visitor Center). This section leads back to the Reeves Visitor Center and enters deep into the forest. This is a day of outdoor therapy and fitness for me.
I begin with trail running, with my backpack along this Pine Meadow Trail. This sweatin' workout brings joy back into my life as I dash through trees and prance like a deer over logs. Alongside the trail are beautiful streams. Pristine cold waters flow over pebbles as you hear the songbirds chirp. There is nothing more magical.
I continue to hike along and notice changes in the stream formation. Sometimes they cascade through large stones-forming deep pools, sometimes they are shallow riffles.
Sport fishing has been a big part of my life since childhood. I packed portable fishing gear for this outing. Further ahead, I see a nice deep pool formed under a massive slab of rock, creating perfect cover for a trout habitat. I began making accurate casts with a lure under the rock, hoping a beautiful spotted trout would take. There were no fish, so I continue on.
My destination is Pine Meadow Lake. Many years back as a teenager, I was in the Boy Scouts program and hiked the Pine Meadow Trail. I don't recall much of the journey, but remember the beautiful lake. It was time to reminisce the precious past.
Eventually, you will arrive at the intersection with the Blue Blazed Trail. If you continue on the Red Blazed Pine Meadow Trail, you will be hiking through a forest of trees to the lake. I decide to have more of a workout by climbing up Diamond Mountain and descending to Pine Meadow Lake. Turn left and follow this Blue Trail. Very soon, the trail turns to the right and you will notice the start of an incline. Continue on and it will lead you to a short and fun rock scramble up a cliff. I trail run, hike, fish, and now climb…I'm loving this workout!
After climbing along the cliff side, you reach the top with an EXPLOSIVE, BREATHTAKING view of Harriman State Park-stretching miles and miles into the horizon!!! Have you ever wondered how big this State Park was??? Here's your answer! And there's more to it, beyond visual range!
Again, my heart is filled with gratitude for this experience once more, remembering the time in January, munching my lunch here and watching the snow falling from heaven before the park was entirely covered in a foot of snow. Times like this can bring a joyful tear. This is the moment...
After few steps further, the trail leads to the top of Diamond Mountain and offers a beautiful view of Pine Meadow Lake to your right. As the Blue Trail merges with the Yellow Blazed Trail, take the Yellow Trail downhill. During this descent, a gentleman kindly warned me that he has spotted two rattlesnakes further down. I picked up a thin long tree branch and made tapping sounds as I hiked over slabs of rock-potential hiding places for snakes.
Tapping can warn snakes of our approach so they may depart, and having a stick can be helpful for self defense in case the snake may strike. I was a little nervous because I've never encountered venomous snakes in the wild.
Further downhill, I see a group of young hikers taking photos. It was the rattlesnake, at a safe distance of 15 feet away, gliding slowly along a tree trunk. It was marvelous! My first venomous snake ever! I found the colors and patterns extremely beautiful with the corn-cobbed rattle on its tail...... Wow, what an amazing experience! I was unable to to take a clear photo of it, but recorded a video. Respecting the snake, I continued on. I warned other hikers of the snake as they hiked uphill.
After an hour to an hour and a half, I finally arrived at Pine Meadow Lake...It's so beautiful!
The waters are pristine and refreshing! They remind me of clear springs in Yellowstone and Green Lakes State Park from research. It's really amazing to have it here! My goodness, it's truly a gem!
I've spent some time exploring around this beautiful lake. At times I go off the Red Trail to explore the shoreline and do some fishing. No signs of fish yet. But I'm sure this lake is stocked with largemouth bass, sunfish, and other abundant warm water species.
Certain areas contain shallow flats. The clear waters are too beautiful!!!
Toward the northern part of the lake, there are rocks that lead uphill. I climb up to the top to take this panorama.
The lake is big. I decide to head back by taking the entire Red Blazed Pine Meadow Trail back to the Reeves Meadow Visitor Center, on to Seven Lakes Drive. Once again, I pass by the graceful streams and heavenly cascading pools. This was another hiking trip of a lifetime.
Since it is Mother's Day week, I want to share another precious photo of my mother and I, a few weeks ago at Almost Perpendicular. I was really happy that my mom joined me on this hike. We had lunch and even did some yoga at that amazing site! I am grateful to both my mom and dad for raising me up all these years, so that I can climb and stand on mountains.
Until next time, happy trails...