Returning to beautiful and refreshing Pawling, NY for only a day, I knew I had to take advantage of the town’s trouble-free access to the great outdoors. So without a moment’s delay, I checked in with my sources for local knowledge, good old mom and dad, and before I knew it I was off to the Appalachian Trail.
For those of you in the hiking community, this legendary trek is of no obscurity. Beginning at Springer Mountain in Georgia and finishing at Mount Katahdin in Maine, the trail spans a distance of approximately 2,181 miles. Although short, Pawling takes liberty to a diverse and comprehensive section of this epic route.
This day I chose to explore only a mere portion of the trail through Pawling. Beginning by the Metro North Appalachian Trail stop off Route 22 North, right before the storefront of Native Landscaping, a section of approximately 3 miles heads west. Rather than trudging through the expanses of the Great Swamp, one can bring dogs, kids, family members, and friends along a finely constructed raised platform courtesy of the Pawling Nature Conservancy. There you will be exposed to sprawling northern and southern views, beaver families, turtles, glorious wetland vegetation and even some of the area’s most distinct and colorful birds.
Continue west and you will traverse an easy to moderate hike over the eastern face of a large hill. Fret not, for breath-taking open field views on the western face anticipate your arrival. Moving farther west you will cross West Dover Road, or County Rt. 20, to the more difficult trek up the south eastern face of Cat Rock. Transcend this challenge and you shall be rewarded with what this journalist believes is one of the most fantastic all-season views of lower Dutchess County.
Plan to spend three to five hours round-trip on this section. Make sure to bring plenty of water, check for ticks regularly, and dress weather appropriate.
Listen:” Appalachian Trail in Pawling”[audio:http://www.pawlingpublicradio.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/app-trail_day-tripper_3-92.mp3|titles=Day Tripper – Appalachian trail]