It’s funny how things rarely go to plan. This week the foliage in New York is supposed to be hitting its peak, so I wanted to visit somewhere with lots of trees. Van Cortland Park sprang to mind. so I set off on a mission, camera in hand, to capture some glorious foliage pictures. I first trekked up to the very top of the whimsically named Hare and Tortoise trail, which is nice and steep and great for getting the pulse racing, but I came away disappointed with a single shoddy photograph of some muddy brown leaves. Next I tried the Putnam trail, which is absolutely gorgeous, and was rewarded with some bright splashes of autumnal colour, but they were few and far between, and mostly muted colours.
However, I got distracted from my search for eye-catching foliage, because the area was absolutely hopping with wildlife, and I ended up spending most of my time watching these little cuties frolic in the brisk November air.
Then I happened upon Van Cortland Lake, and got so many gorgeous photographs of the wildlife there, with the autumn leaves reflecting golds and russets into the water, that it deserves a post all unto itself, so see my next post, On Golden Pond, for those photographs. The most spectacular sight of the day came just as I was heading back home. I was watching the antics of a couple of squirrels when a massive hawk zoomed over my shoulder.
For more about my hawk encounter, read The Van Cortland Squirrel Murderer, but only if you’re not squeamish. 😦
So what started out as a mission to see autumn foliage ended up as a wildlife spotting bonanza. I love it when plans don’t work out. Although I only saw a fraction of Van Cortland Park, what I saw was spectacular. It is easily accessible from Manhattan – just take the 1 train northbound to the last stop. You can be sure I will be visiting this lovely place again.