I love living in New York City! Still, sometimes it is very important to get away from all the hustle and bustle. I spent last weekend in Ulster County with family friends. We went to Lake Minnewaska State Park Preserve to swim and hike around the lake. It was so much fun!
I loved hiking in the Shawangunk mountains. It's so green, especially compared to the city.
We hiked along the carriage road around Lake Minnewaska, but I loved climbing on the rocks that surround the trail. We hiked along the trail until we reached a little turn off to go to the beach!
The lake was so cold and refreshing! I sat on a big rock and tried very hard to skip pebbles on the surface of the water. I was not very good at it and just made lots of splashes! It was so nice to sit by the water. We ate peaches, cherries, and almonds. We also had cold water in our bottles. Hurrah!
Lake Minnewaska had a lot of little salamanders- or maybe newts? They swam around looking adorable, but every time I tried to take a picture, they'd swim away! I saw some minnows too. Lake Minnewaska is a sky lake- it's up in the mountains. Apparently it is very deep.
After lots of swimming, we got dressed again and decided to hike the loop around the lake. I was surprised at how high the little cliffs above the lake feel! From the lake, they look high up, but when you're actually up there, looking down to the water is a little bit intimidating. I took out my binoculars so I could look at the people swimming below in the cold blue lake.
There was an SCA volunteer who had an information table about Emerald Ash Borers, a type of beetle that is destroying the ash trees in the area. SCA is the Student Conservation Association. Students can join and do cool jobs in different parks. Maybe I'll do it someday! After I had thoroughly scared myself with information on ash borers, we continued along the path until I found these ferns. Don't I look like I'm in Jurassic Park?
Mama's friend, our host, told me lots of cool stories about scuba diving and caves. I decided to play in the rocks and pretend to be caving for a little bit. Maybe I'll try that someday too!
The last thing I did, after completing the hike around the lake, was climb a tree! It was really nice to stretch my limbs and smell the sticky sap. Someday, it would be really fun to spend the night in a treehouse, don't you think?
I'm glad that Mama and I got to visit our friends in Ulster County! Apparently, our family has roots in Ulster County going back a very, very long time. Isn't that cool? I love having connections to people all over the world.
Have you every gone on a weekend trip? Where did you go? What did you do?
Last year, my friend Reine and I celebrated Pride together. We had so much fun that we decided to do it again this year! We met up for ice cream at the Stonewall National Monument. Stonewall is one of the newer national monuments, designated by President Barack Obama. It commemorates the Stonewall uprising that began on June 28, 1969. It's a great place to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community! I have two moms, so the monument is particularly special to me.
The Stonewall Inn is decorated for Pride with lots of rainbow flags and lights. Rainbow flags are a symbol of the LGBTQ+ community that I love! Rainbows are so cheerful, don't you think?
I had fun climbing around on the inn's facade. Because of the amazing people who have fought for LGBTQ+ equality over many, many years, I am able to grow up with married moms and attend celebrations like Pride. Of course, the struggle is not over. Someday, I hope all people will be treated equally. Still, I think it's important to celebrate successes and also keep working to improve our society.
I'm very excited, as efforts have been underway to introduce a Junior Ranger Program to the Stonewall National Monument! I would love to be a junior ranger at Stonewall! Who knows- someday, when I grow up, I may even be a ranger at Stonewall for my job!
I'm so glad Reine and I got to visit Stonewall and celebrate Pride together. Have you ever fought for something you believe in? What was it?