On Sunday, Theresa Serr, about 20 hikers and I gathered at the main branch of the Brooklyn Public Library to embark on our Get Lost in Prospect Park hike. The front doors and gate to the library are nothing short of stunning.  

With all sorts of imagination and adventure towering above us in iron and gold, how could we be in for anything BUT an epic quest?! 

Younger members of our group ran in circles through the courtyard (and even somehow found a stray puzzle!) as we all met each other and gathered into our group for the excursion.

We used our big hiking steps to stride valiantly through the Endale arch and head towards the Vale of Cashmere! This part of the park is a glacier-carved valley once full of gardens, and currently being restored to its former glory! As part of the restoration of the woodlands, goats were brought into this section of the park to clear underbrush, just like they do for us at camp! (Long-time F&W goat fans will appreciate the name of the meadow right next to the Vale: Nellie’s Lawn!)

The grand fountains in the rose garden had been drained for winter, but the final pool in the grouping of three was still half-full of leaves suspended in icy waters, and we procured sticks to poke and prod at the glassy ice.  

From there, we forged along the path towards the Zucker Natural Exploration Area. When Superstorm Sandy downed trees in the park, rather than haul them all away, park attendants transformed this area into a spot for nature play. Tunnels and seats have been carved by chainsaw into horizontal trees. Stacks of giant wood cookies make pathways or climbing towers. An inverted black locust tree-top invites others to gather sticks to create smaller debris shelters. Indeed, this area of the park alone could easily have been worth the entirety of our day together as we all balanced on logs, crawled into forts and shared cool finds with friends.   

We emerged from the Zucker area and almost immediately found a cluster of large rocks just begging to be climbed!  

Having conquered water, trees and rocks, we then blazed a trail right across the large grassy lawns of the Longmeadow where people chatted and dogs frolicked until we found ourselves drawn towards a split in the path. What drew us there?  

 The Magical Park Stool of Indecision, of course! A mysterious barstool appeared at the side of the path and I took a seat on it as we discussed our options. Long we stood regarding this path diverging in a yellow wood, until reaching consensus. A fitting moment, as the falls and lakes we headed towards originate in Quaker Hill! 

Local knowledge from our NY participants (and some helpful signs) informed us that the path to the left would lead us to waterfalls. Off we strode once more as a group, counting ducks along the way as we circuitously circled the body of water, working towards the waterfall we could see in the distance.  

Upon arrival, I was struck with how much the area reminded me of Buttermilk Falls: a waterfall dropping through craggy hills into a large pool, with a second lower waterfall spilling into another water habitat for wildlife, and then a third pool of water even bigger than the last! These waterfalls are a popular destination for Farm and Wilderness excursions and are mere minutes from our camps!

All of this adventuring satiated our hunger for adventure, but we found our bellies hungry for lunch!  

Thankfully, the aptly-named picnic house was in sight, and we gathered around picnic tables and unpacked our satchels and enjoyed each other’s company as we tucked into our meals. As we went our separate ways, I couldn’t help thinking about how much I felt at home in the city. In the same way many families come from a city to Vermont for a change of pace, so too do I go to New York. And in the same way, I found a lot of what I treasure about Vermont in the city: amazing views, outdoor adventure and fellowship with friends, new and old.  

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