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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Lake Taghkanic State Park

Bright, sunny skies and unrelenting cold were the big stories for today's hike at Lake Taghkanic State Park in Ancram, NY.  A popular park and lake in the Taconic Region of NY, it has plenty to offer with over 10 miles of hiking trails, two beaches, playgrounds, basketball courts, playing fields, a nature center, cabins for rent just to name a few.
Formerly known as Lake Charlotte, it was renamed Lake Taghkanic when the land was donated to the state.
I hiked the Lakeside Trail, which basically runs the perimeter of the lake for a total of 4 miles.  
The trail offers almost non stop views of the beautiful 156 acre frozen lake.  
A view of the cabins on the far shore that are available to be rented.
The late February sun was doing its best to warm things up, but the biting northwest winds kept the windchill in the single digits.
Although it was a cold weekday afternoon, I was still surprised to not see any ice fisherman on the lake.
There are several benches and picnic tables throughout the trail offering the hiker a chance to relax and enjoy their surroundings.
This deer seemed very at ease as I approached.  I took several steps closer to get a better photo.
When he still didn't get spooked, I ambled in even closer to about 25 yards away and took a very nice photo.  As I began walking again, he quickly fled.
Through the trees and far beyond the lake, rise the breathtaking Catskills.
Most of the trail was compact, crust, frozen snow, so walking was fairly easy and made snow shoes unnecessary.
Most of the trail is pleasant walking along the shoreline with only a couple of difficult sections to navigate near wetlands.
The Lakeside Trail actually follows a gravel access road for a short distance near the cabins.
There is a row of cabins available for renting.  They sit up on a lawn, about 30 yards from the lake shore.
As the sun began its descent, I neared the end of the hike. The trail literally crosses the lawn in front of the cabins here.
A beautiful sunset was the perfect end to a nice day hike.  This is the sun setting behind the Catskill Mountains from a parking area off the Taconic Parkway.
The last of the sun's rays fading beyond the horizon.
I had a chill from the bitter winds, but 4 miles after a full day of work made for a perfect day hike.

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