Since Ecuador Erin and I have been thinking about hiking to these ice caves. We found out about them in an old issue of Backpacker Magazine laying around the lodge. The magazine claimed 24 Trails Near You. Erin felt it was unlikely to have a hike near Poughkeepsie, New York and I had my doubts as well but sure enough, there were the ice caves, right there on page 36, across from an ad for Primus stove. The ice caves were a beacon to us from under the heading Heat Busters; something saying, it’s going to be ok going back to the U.S. It was hope that life didn’t have to be all humdrum, dull and disappointing, even with normal 9-5 jobs (we got jobs at Best Buy to cover expenses when we got home). Maybe with a title like Heat Busters, the article’s author intended for people to hike it in the summer, an escape from a milk curdling heat wave. We however took our first really good opportunity to visit the ice caves, an escape for a Sunday from jobs about as exciting as watching milk curdle.
Even though the day was mostly foggy, the fall colors on the hike in didn’t disappoint. All my life I’ve heard about New England fall colors and although New York isn’t technically New England, the colors were vibrant, varied and omnipresent. The caves themselves were more caverns than caves but interesting anyway; according to the National Park Service, Ellenville fault is the largest exposed fault system in the U.S. So for me seeing the largest exposed fault system was fun, even if it wasn’t the most spectacular cave I’ve visited (there was also no ice while we were there). It was a good hike and Erin and I went with her brother and his two kids, the youngest really got into climbing on the rocks and squeezing through cracks in the rock walls. It was a success and I’d recommend this as an easy hike to anyone who happens to be in the area.