We finally had a nice-enough day that we felt like going outdoors, though we still didn’t feel like battling Manhattan traffic. Therefore, we went east to Long Island, to Connetquot River State Park Preserve, which I had visited on October 30, 2011.
It had snowed the previous Sunday, and also on Tuesday and Thursday. Luckily, the temperature had warmed up enough that the roads were clear, but there was still plenty of snow on the ground in the park.
On the drive there we saw large numbers of Canadian geese, and we saw a few in the park as well:
The lady at the entrance booth took our $8 entry fee and then told us that the park was only open another 4 hours, until 4:00 p.m. New York state parks are completely inconsistent: some have no entrance/parking fee while others have steep fees; some are open until dusk while others close at 4:00 p.m., etc. We were also told that the trails were not plowed, which was not entirely true.
We began hiking on the unplowed green trail, with our boots sinking into the snow. I lamented the fact that I have not yet purchased snowshoes. Every year I think that would be a good idea to do for the future. There were signs that others had been there with snowshoes, and we also saw people with cross-country skis. There were plenty of boot tracks besides ours, as well. Unlike my previous visit, I did not see any horses on this outing . . . there were no Budweiser Clydesdale horse commercials being filmed.
It was not that cold, and we were well-dressed and comfortable enough. Batya was happy to get out into the great outdoors:
For a few minutes we had a sunny blue sky, and stopped for lunch. I took off my coat and used it as a seat, while Batya ate standing. However, the wind began picking up and the sky began clouding up once again. Lunch over, I dusted the snow off my coat and put it back on.
Between the snow and the late start, we did not anticipate hiking the entire length of the park. Instead, we walked north only about halfway, to Bunces Bridge.
The bridge offered a nice view of the Connetquot River:
At this point, we turned south onto the blue trail. Whereas we had taken the green trail north to the west of the river, we were following the blue trail south to the east of the river. Here we discovered that some of the trails had been plowed, at least to a certain extent, which made for easier hiking than on the deeper snow on the green trail. Incidentally, I remember from my first visit to this park that the soil is sandy, especially in some places, and that while the park is very flat, the sand can make a long hike longer in places, with feet slipping in the sand. Thus, the snow may have slowed us down a bit, but bare ground in this park also makes for slower travel in some places.
At one point Batya spotted a deer and called it to my attention as it bounded away. I saw the tail end of it, but did not get a photograph. On my previous trip to the park, I had seen large numbers of deer, but they were being shy on this day.
The blue trail returned to the main pond at the southern end of the park, which made for a couple of nice panoramas:
It was only around 3:00 p.m. when we returned to the Main Pond. Not wanting to leave an hour before closing, we hiked north once again in the direction of the fisheries, returning to the car and driving away right at 4:00 p.m. I estimate that we hiked 4 or 5 miles over the snowy, flat terrain.