Another opening in the trail leads visitors off the beaten path to enjoy the sun and water.
I step outside my car and take in a deep breath, soaking up the sun and fresh Adirondack air. Today, Plattsburgh, N.Y., is sunny and filled with life, a rare occurrence in my experience, considering the weather always seems as though it’s in a constant state of being hungover. The goal today: to walk along the Long Point Trail in Point Au Roche State Park.
Three peninsulas that jut out into Lake Champlain provide both a peaceful jaunt through the woods and an aesthetically pleasing view through the entire trek. The Long Point Trail is the longest walking path on the biggest peninsula Point Au Roche has to offer and is a personal favorite.
The west bank of Point Au Rouche sports a swap from the large amount of rainfall Plattsburgh has experienced within the past year.
This particular park differs from other hiking areas because the trails aren’t rigorous and the walk is mild in comparison to hiking the Adirondack High Peaks. This more relaxing and gorgeous nature walk along Lake Champlain used to be a popular campground until it was closed and made into a “Wildlife Park,” according to the Point Au Roche website friendsofpointauroche.org. The 6 mile park that stretches along the shores of Lake Champlain consists of the Connor Bay Trails (2.1 miles), the Middle Point Trails (2.1 miles), the Ram’s Head Trails (1.9 miles), and the Treadwell Bay Trails (2.3 miles).
The trails take hikers through heavily wooded areas, wide open fields, and to sandy beaches. Visitors can get a taste of the North Country without scaling a mountain or traveling too far.
As I start off on the trail, the sunny sky littered with clouds make my walk all the more pleasant. The sun helps mute out the hints of frigid air as it shines on my face. The wind howls as the lake creates a wind chill greater than any other place in Plattsburgh. Squirrels jump from limb to limb above me, playing what seems like a game of tag. All I can hear is the crunch of the gravel beneath my feet. I stop to listen; I can hear nothing but the water to my right. This is serenity and tranquility at its finest. I start to walk again, looking down at my gnarled sneakers that sink into the soft earth with each step I take. The trail is long in front of me and bends, keeping the next portion a mystery until I get there.
A sunny day, the flat Long Point trail is tranquil and will make anyone walking the path think they're in a different world.
Although much more luscious in the summer time (a positive balanced out by the negative fact that horseflies run rampant during those months), Point Au Roche is still a peaceful walk in the winter as well. As I enter the woods portion of the trail, signs start to pop up with information about the different types of trees indigenous to the North Country. The signs and trees bring me back to when I first visited Point Au Roche three years ago. Ever since then the park has been my escape from reality, to clear my head and enjoy the North Country’s beautiful scenery.
The west side of Point Au Roche is a perfect place torelax and skip rocks.
The sparkle of the lake and reflection of the clear blue sky help me relax as I take in the world around me. Seagulls squawk overhead, the branches of trees sway to the wind, and the clouds create sparkly-looking pillows as they are mirrored in the water. Lake Champlain looks uninviting as the rough waves create white tips and my hair, wild in the wind, whips around.
I sit at the end of the Long Point Trail and skip rocks as I watch the coming and going of water lapping on the out grove I stand upon. The stress leaves my body, and the fresh air fills my lungs. Nature will always have a way about it, the way it speaks to your soul, makes you feel free. Point Au Roche has been my escape for three years now and will continue to be my fortress of solitude until I graduate. Some people might say Plattsburgh is a boring place; some might claim it is a frigid place, but because of Point Au Roche, I know it is a gorgeous place.
Why do you like to hike?