It's been a long time since the People Scouts of America embarked on a Local Adventure, but this past weekend, global warming allowed for what was probably the last hike of the season before real winter coldness sets in. The weather was gorgeous on Saturday, so we set out for Sterling Forest Park around 9:00am.
Some info from Wikipedia:
Sterling Forest State Park is a 21,935.08 acre (88.7 km2) park located in the Ramapo Mountains in Orange County, New York established in 1998; it is among the larger additions to the New York state park system in the last 50 years.
In addition to being a beautiful tract of undisturbed forest with numerous trails varying in length and difficulty, Sterling Forest Park was at one time owned and operated by Sterling Iron Works which mined and shipped iron ore on the land. The last of the mines closed in the 1920s, but there are quite a few old structures and ruins left behind on the property which are great for exploring and photographing, so even in December when the trees are bare and wildlife is scarce, there's plenty to see.
Trails within the park are really well marked and maintained so it was very easy to follow the map and chart our route. We chose the firetower as our midpoint goal, and it took us about 2 hours to get there from the visitor's center (granted, I was stopping a lot, to take a million photos.)
Not too far from where we hiked in Sterling was an old abandoned airstrip with a decaying radar tower at the far end of it, which was just another cool thing to check out since we were in the area. Technically it's on private property, so technically you shouldn't go check it out, but like. So what.
It was an excellent way to spend an unseasonably warm December day, though I did find a deer tick attached to my torso when I got home, so I guess we weren't the only ones taking advantage of the nice weather.