FC: The Summer of Rabbits 2010 Explorations
1: Why did I call it "The Summer of Rabbits"? Well, it's because everywhere we went this season there were rabbits. Big ones, little ones, old ones, young ones - they were (and still are at time of writing) everywhere. I have never seen so many rabbits in one Summer ever. Not ever. This led me to believe that the spirit of the rabbit is trying to tell us something. Do you know what the Rabbit symbolizes? Rabbits symbolize many things including fertility, promise, fulfillment, and balance. They are the Goddess’ creatures and represent the Moon, night and dawn. They are also associated with abundance, rebirth/transformation and release, and are symbolic of the ‘tween times, dawn and dusk. Rabbits are also associated with transformation, receiving esoteric knowledge and intuitive messages. Many Pagans believe that seeing a moon gazing hare would bring growth, abundance, new beginnings and good fortune. I dedicate this book to all the Rabbits and their messages. EJL 2010
2: The summer started off with some lovely trail rides in Connetquot State Park. Good horses, good sunsets, great weather - Fun times!
4: The South Shore Nature Center in East Islip is one of the most lovely spots we've visited this Summer. The trail is just long enough for those early season starter hikes. Just enough but not too much! | The preserve is quiet and not highly traveled. The energy here is peaceful and soothing. Definitely a place to have a nice refreshing walk.
5: Robert Moses Park. We spent so many glorious days here! The trick to getting the best experience is to arrive early and beat the crowd. This way you get a really nice uncluttered beach day then you can bail before it gets too populated. At the height of the season this beach is packed with people by 11am.
6: You can take this little beach road past the Fire Island Lighthouse and into a small beach community. The sand can be deep in spots so if you decide to take a bicycle instead of walking you will get some good sand riding practice. We did it a few times during the early part of the summer. | The sunsets from the beach road can be really pretty, as well as the photos you will get of the lighthouse, dunes and beaches if you bring your camera with you. A short journey but a good one.
8: Avalon Preserve. Stonybrook. Chipmunks, rabbits, birds, bees, people, dogs, flowers. It's such a "good vibrations" kinda place. You can spend several hours here and still never get enough of it. .
9: David Weld Sanctuary, Nissequogue. Untouched, untraveled, private, quiet and beautiful. This is one of our beaches of choice. You can see why. It's a Nature Conservancy sanctuary. There are no facilities, no picnicking allowed, no pets, no bicycles. It's also somewhat of a hike to get to - but 100% worth it.
10: Took a day trip upstate NY to the Orange Heritage Rail Trail. The bike trail is paved and runs from Goshen, NY to Monroe, NY. Round trip it's about 12 miles one way if you go the whole way. Beautiful scenery, farms, cute little towns - it's a perfect bike path for any level of riding. There are plenty of places to stop and rest, and once you get to either end there are places to have lunch, or get a cold drink and relax. From Long Island it's about an hour and a half drive if you leave in the morning before rush-hour traffic. You can easily do the whole trail and get back to Long Island again before evening rush starts. Fishing out of Captree State Park is also fun if you've got an average of $50 a person. The trip we took was from 7-11pm. It was cool out on the water at night in June. A nice break from the 90 degree days, but I was glad to have long sleeves and jeans on.
11: Belmont Lake State Park in Babylon. What else can I say but the photo makes it look way better than it is. Sure there are about ten seconds of nice clean trails here to either walk or bike or bring your dog walking on...But overall this park is dirty and disgusting. It's over crowded, and the lake STINKS. Not a place we will ever return to. | There was a trail which exited the park towards Babylon. We considered exploring it, but we didn't have the time we really needed and well, we really weren't that into it. Honestly, from about ten minutes after we got here we pretty much started talking about leaving.
12: The North County Trailway. What a fabulous bike route! It's a 22-miles rail trail that travels between Eastview NY, and the Westchester County border where it continues another 2 miles north to Mahopac as the Putnam Trailway. The southern end of the trails connects with the South County Trail east of Tarrytown. I took my road bike here, and was glad for it, because there are a few sections of the route which are steady uphill grades. Not steep or anything but they go for a while. The section of highway you ride along has the widest bike lane I've ever seen. Eastview, where we parked is only about an hour from Long Island. We can't wait to go back!
13: The Croton Resevoir bridge. It was absolutely awesome to bike over this! We crossed over, and then sat on a bench (one of the many alongside the trail) and had a picnic lunch we had brought with us. | Sections of the trail. You can see how well maintained and smooth the path is.
14: The Cedar Creek Bike path from Cedar Creek Park to Jones Beach. An awesome evening bike ride spot. Loving the new guard rails they put up this year too. The only thing I'm now crazy about here is the ever-present wind.
15: Calverton Bike Trail. 8.5 mile loop which is easy enough but a little tricky where you have to squeak between a narrow spot with trees on either side of the trail | Aside from the beginner trail, there are more advanced loops (clearly marked) off the main loop for those who want to get a bit more daring. Me not being one of those people. Haha. | There are a lot of deer here and they run alongside the trail as you ride your bike. While they are so pretty, sadly, with deer come deer ticks, so bug spray is a must here. One ride in August I got covered with a swarm of larval ticks. They are about this big (.) - seriously. Ewww. So hard to get them all off! That was the day I didn't use bug spray.
16: Edgewood Oak Brush Plains Preserve Trail. It's actually a nice place with nice trails to hike or bike on. It's big too, and you can spend quite a bit of time here. The thing is, there is little regulation. Dogs off leash, shotgun shells all over the place, and the power lines road that runs behind the park - which is the kind of place you just might find a dead body on. It's a nice place to visit, but not one I'd suggest visiting alone. Especially if you're female.
17: Wildwood State Park, Calverton. It was a beautiful sunset, but aside from that the only thing I can say about this beach is that it's GHETTO. There are "gangsta" wannabes everywhere. Fishermen blatantly breaking the (posted) size restrictions on fish that they caught. Filthy bathrooms. Filthy over flowing garbage cans. Garbage pretty much everywhere - Ew ew ew. We will never go back. It's too bad, we hear the trails are nice. But not worth finding out due to the grossness factor of this park overall. I would never ever want to be in this place after dark either. There wasn't a ranger in sight for hours.
19: Caumsett State Park. Safe, beautiful and varied. You can do everything in this park - ride a horse, a bike, hike, birdwatch, fish, lay on a beach, visit a garden, read a book on a blanket in the grass, and take photos.
20: The dirt road goes all the way down to a beach, where you can pick up another trail that runs between the Long Island Sound and a marsh. It's quite the journey. I would not want to do it walking, although even if you ride your bike to the end, you will end up walking your bike part of the way because the sand just gets too deep to ride in. The wooden boardwalk is rotted through in spots, and there is poison ivy all over the place grown up into huge tree like beings. Although we rode our bikes over this the first time, the second time we opted for walking them. The privacy and wildness of this hike make it all worth it!
23: Sights off the paved path. I love the path here as much as I love exploring the trails. The building above was recently shown in an episode of Royal Pains - the one where Evan goes hunting with his girlfriend's dad and gets shot in the butt. They want you to believe it's The Hamptons, but it was really Caumsett!
24: There is never a bad sunset at Caumsett. This is the Labor Day sunset. Not a bad one for the un-official end of Summer
25: Blydenburgh County Park, Smithtown. This park is kind of small at only 627 acres, so you don't quite get that "wilderness" feeling that you get in other parks. You almost always see people riding their horses when you walk along the main trail. | The main trail is sandy and wide and goes around the lake. There are also smaller trails which run off the main loop. On these trails you might run into a jogger, or people walking their dogs. Overall it's a nice park, especially if you like to hike with your dog.
26: This was a summer of blue skies, dreams caught and Sunflowers. The weather was perfect, The sunsets were gorgeous, and the places we discovered were just fabulous!
27: "Summer Dance" Mixed media. Rapidograph, Prismacolor and Derwint Colorsoft pencils, and Acrylic on 140lb Arches cold press watercolor paper.