So the plan was to go to one of the places on my Top 10 List today, and I picked Caumsett State Park. One of the main reasons was that I was picking up my daughter’s friend for the day and he lives in Port Washington. Even though it was 45 minutes from his house, it was, by far, the closest one on my list.
We got a later-than-anticipated start on the day, so as it was, we only got to the park around 3:30 in the afternoon – still plenty of time to walk around. The kids would meander and I would make my own pace. We had all been really excited driving up, because it is a lovely drive through Lloyd Harbor to get there. And the sun was shining, and the water sparkling. (Hint: This is foreshadowing)
So when we got there, we just loved it. The old dairy farm is the first thing you see when you park, and we looked at the trail map to see where we would go. I noticed way in the distance that the clouds were looking a bit dark, but it was such a sunny, beautiful day, that I didn’t think much of it. At first.
We had been in the car so long that of course the first thing everyone wanted to do was go to the bathroom, which was behind the dairy farm. In the time it took to go into the bathroom and come out, everything had changed. There were dark clouds overhead and the first hint of sprinkles in the air. I could see sunshine in one direction, but I suggested we start heading back to the car “just in case.”
We barely made it. The rain started pouring down on us just as we hit the parking lot, and by the time we jumped into the car everyone was drenched. We had seen exactly 1,000 feet of Caumsett’s miles of trails. Now what?
The kids were hungry (of course) so I suggested finding something to eat and seeing if the rain lightened up. Now there is nothing anywhere near the park, so it was another 10 minutes to get back to civilization and the rain kept pouring. Once we made it into the restaurant, however, we could see it was letting up, and we discussed going back up to the park after our food, but that ended up not working out. The rain was still coming down, off and on, and I said “forget it” and we just headed back to Port Washington.
On the way, we passed right by Cold Spring Harbor State Park. I had never heard of it, but it wasn’t raining and the harbor looked beautiful, so I asked the kids if they wanted to stop and get some fresh air while we had the chance. This isn’t like the other state parks. There is no entrance fee. In fact, the parking lot is just a small lot on the side of Harbor Road (25A). As far as I could tell, there were no restrooms or amenities of any type.
The only way into the park was a steep trail of steps. My daughter took one look up the hill and said she wasn’t going. She and her friend decided to walk along the water’s edge and look at the scenery (which was beautiful), so I was on my own on the trail.
I soon learned that the steep steps weren’t the entrance to the trail, but the trail itself. I didn’t get as far into it as I would have liked, because I knew the kids were waiting and they only have so much patience for stuff like this. It was steep, rough going up, up, up, and then steep, touch going down, down, down. As far as I could see, the whole trail was like that.
Now, I’m not that great at steep. Going up is a nice workout, and I can enjoy the cardiac workout as much as the next person, but I really struggle with downhill. I have bad ankles and can easily lose my footing. And it wasn’t just steep. There were branches and rocks all through the trail, which help keep you from sliding too far, but also tend to reach out and trip you up if you aren’t too graceful. It probably didn’t help that I was wearing sneakers, and I thought more than once that I’m going to need to invest in hiking shoes if I’m going to continue making these forays into nature.
Whenever there was a flat section I would break into a slow jog, but there weren’t too many flat sections at all. (Check out my GPS elevation map.
So I’m not really sure how far I did get. The GPS on my phone said I walked 1.5 miles, but my fitbit said I did 6,300 steps. (Since my usual gait for walking is about 2,200 steps to the mile) my fitbit and my GPS are off by about 1.5 miles. Ummm????
I don’t really understand why that is. I mean, the GPS records my elevation, so why can’t it figure out that I went farther than 1.5 miles. (And for the record I don’t think I’ve ever walked 29 min miles in my life, unless I was walking backwards). And I don’t think my fitbit is accurate either. For one thing, I know that going down hill I was taking lots of tiny steps to keep from falling down. For another, I know that I didn’t walk 3 miles in 43 min. Maybe on flat terrain, but up and down hills, I think my pace was probably closer to 19 or 20 min miles.
So despite the best laid plans getting totally screwed up, and technology failing me, I have to say it was a pretty awesome day and I would love to go back to this park, without kids and with proper footwear.