On Friday I decided that on Saturday I should head up to Sam's Point Preserve which is the Ice Cave mountain area in Cragsmoor, NY. My goal was more toward hiking then a photography trip but, I could NEVER leave my camera home. Heading out around 9am the morning was already hot and humid. After grabbing coffee and some food I reached the Nature Conservatory around 10:15am paid for my parking permit and headed straight for the Ice Caves. WOW!!! Walking down the trail I could feel the cold air coming out of the many huge crevasses I passed. The Ice Caves are located in the heart of the northern Shawangunk Mountains just south of Minnewaska State Park. I finally reached the main opening to the cave and entered through an opening into a dark and cold environment that felt like something out of a JRR Tolkien book. Looking down at the cave floor about 30 feet below me I could see ice and snow still sitting on the stone floor. Once I made my way out I decided to hike over to Verkeerderkill Falls, a journey which took me across a ridge top of pine barrens through streams and blueberry bushes. This piece of wilderness is home to nearly 40 rare plant and animal species and represents one of the highest priorities for conservation in the Northeastern United States. The Falls were spectacular to say the least. Relaxing up there I ate lunch, hung my feet in the cool water for some needed relief from the heat and shot some photos. Due to the time of day the photography wasn't great but I was able to capture the essence of my trip. The whole trip weighed in at about 10 miles and not only gave me the workout I was looking for but some amazing views and a feeling of calmness that's has been so hard to find back home in our over achieving society. With all the hiking I do I still am amazed at all the new places I am still able to find that exist almost in my back yard. Finishing this blog I leave you with this. Children learn about the rain forests, animal life, plant life, ocean life, marine life and its importance to our planet and our existence. The question is in today’s world how many children are really getting out there to experience what they're being taught in the confines of the classroom and man-made zoos and gardens? How many children are taught that there's "natural" nature that exists an arms length from their back yard? This hands on education to our children is what's going to keep these precious places alive! Hope you enjoy the photos. Till next time, get out and experience nature for yourself - you won't be disappointed.