Sunday, July 24, 2005

Pristine Lakes and Iron Mine Ruins

Through the rusted remains of an iron mine, furnace, and railway complex, under rustling greenery and over a bed of grass and wildflowers, around a long, pristine lake full of happy fish. Such was my Sunday, hiking through Sterling Forest State Park with Peter. It's about 40 miles north-northwest of the city, in NY's Orange County, west of the Hudson, near the NY-NJ border. In the park there are the remains of some twenty plus old mines. There are also several furnaces here. The Sterling Mine (under Sterling Lake) started in 1750. It lasted until 1902. Its water-filled mine shaft opening can be seen north of the lake. The outlet shaft lies at the southwest corner of Sterling Lake. The shaft stretched under Sterling Lake for 1,000 feet. No trace of the mine itself exists today. We had our bag lunches on a quiet, deserted beach along the northern rim of the lake before completing the circle on a ridge some 20 feet above the water. What a great day!

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