Friday, January 27, 2012

Hiking Vroman's Nose, Part 3

I was hiking to the top of Vroman's Nose, a small mountain in New York's Schoharie Valley, with my four youngest dogs. I put them on leashes when we'd arrived at the first cliff's edge and scenic overlook. Then we climbed higher to another and then, just ahead of us, I saw a rocky crag where I was sure there'd be a third cliff and scenic overlook:

And there certainly was. The houses and barns which had looked so very far beneath us at the beginning were by now looking downright minuscule, like toys:

Those picturesque, twisted evergreens growing all over the rocky cliffs were a mystery to me. I wanted to call them Junipers but they were not the Juniper one might grow in a front yard. They were different. They had bark much like an Eastern White Cedar but the needles were not the same. I looked them up when I got home and decided that they were Eastern Red Cedar which are, it turned out, a variety of Juniper. Or you might be happy just enjoying their beauty:

Just in case you've been thinking I was exaggerating about the dangerous steepness of those cliffs, here's a photo to change your mind:

We kept hiking upwards and discovered yet a fourth rocky crag. This one had a little path right up through the bulky rocks:

And when I took that path I discovered a broad, flat expanse of rock. I've read that this is sometimes called the dance floor and it was actually much larger than it appears here:

I walked cautiously to the edge to take a look, keeping the dogs on their leashes and behind me:

Adventurous souls had been chiseling their initials into the rock of the dance floor for centuries. This one, with the initials of A.J.M., was chiseled in 1863:

I timidly approached the edge to look down on the farms and barns I'd seen at the very first overlook. Yep, they were still there but getting smaller:

And the view through the Red Cedars out across the Schoharie Valley was grand:

But we had lots more trail to hike. As I began, I kept the dogs on their leases because, as you can plainly see, the trail was very close to the edge of the cliff:

I don't remember how this photo of Daphne without a leash got in this sequence, but here it is. She's a sweet little sprite who can brighten up any experience. But we still weren't finished with this hike. I'll post more tomorrow:

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