we were scheduled to leave at 6am so i was up by 5am to use the bathroom. i like to give myself plenty of time before a trip to get ready. instead of a shower, i cleaned myself off with a moist towelette. i heard the automated coffee machine brewing a fresh batch. we left pretty much on schedule, the car parked just a few houses up the street. we left early for two reasons: to have more time at minnewaska state park, but also to beat the morning rush hour traffic.
it took use about 2 hours to arrive at new paltz, the town next to the park. we decided to get something to eat and properly fuel up before we started our hike. that early in the morning (around 8am) not a lot of businesses were open, but we did find one place, the main street bistro, that was serving breakfast. business was good as the place was crowded with customers; we grabbed a pair of seats along the counter. i ordered the bagel nosh - smoked salmon, cream cheese, tomato, red onion, capers all on a bagel $6.95 - with a fresh-squeeze glass of orange juice. i thought the sandwich was going to be a little thing but it ended up being like 2 sandwiches with meaty slices of delicious salmon. definitely a worthy breakfast before a long day's hike!
we proceded to drive into the park entrance, which was still a few miles away. as we got closer, i could see the shawangunk ridge rising out of the landscape like a giant rock wall, the top of which would be our hiking destination. when we arrived at the entrance a bit before 9am, there was a crowd of cars outside. after we got in line, john went out to investigate. turns out the park doesn't open until 9am, which we thought was an excuse for the lazy rangers to sleep an extra hour on the weekends. admission was $10 (a parking fee) which i volunteered to pay since john did all the driving.
* took forever leaving the park due to poorly designed roads into town that creates instant congestion at two locations
* trying to find a place to eat; first place nowhere to park; second place too expensive; then we parked at the municipal lot and walked around trying to find a place. burrito place had a wait time of 40 minutes. we ended up going to a burger joint. i treated, john ended up paying for gas before we left town.
* returning to new york, trying to catch the 8pm megabus leaving for boston, but we got there a little bit late so i ended up taking the 9pm instead. hoping to get back to boston by 1am to catch the last subway to alewife but arrived at south station 1:40am due to traffic leaving manhattan and some night time round construction on the turnpike. had to call my father for a ride back home.