What? Paradise in the winter? It is hardly paradise, but momma said I should use this word. I am still learning how to read and write, so although I am not totally familiar with the word, she said it means the best thing you can get after cycling, that takes place outside in the winter, when there is snow on the ground!
But aside from the frozen paws, the huge snowballs of snow attached to my pads, and the wet, cold conditions, I would agree being outside in the winter is some form of "paradise."
Momma and I abandoned the bike during the cold days of December in favor of skis. And when it got too cold for me, she put me in her NEW PETEGO bag, http://www.petego.com/products.aspx?catId=26&prodId=205 (sorry the freakin' blogger.com html linker is on the blinker and can't embed), and carried me like a little papoose in the back. Although I was frozen from head to toe, the next time we go she promised she'll wrap me in her down jacket before thrusting me into the pack.
But for all you cyclists who are getting fat eating chocolate and cookies, and who don't think going to the gym is exciting enough (I certainly don't) here are some terrific, close by cross country ski jaunts you can take barely minutes or an hour from the city.
Rockland Lake to Haverstraw, NY
We did this one right after the first snowfall. You need to drive or take the bus to Rockland Lake, and travel around the interior road inside the park to the midpoint.
If you don't have wheels, you can take the no. 9A bus from 177th St. Port Authority bus station and get off at the first (south) entrance to Rockland Lake, and ski to the mid point along side the road, or on the road if it hasn't been plowed yet. The ride from 177th st. is not even one hour long! Here is the schedule from both 42nd St. and 177th st stations.
Once at the midpoint, park your car (or ski) down the hill towards the river. Here we saw an entire family of wild pheasants (not to be confused with peasants) which I dearly wanted to catch but momma wouldn't let me. I also started after an entire tribe of baby deer, but again, momma forbid me to run into the woods after them. Maybe next time.
So you then go down the hill towards the river, and go past the little guardian's house (now that's paradise), and take a left towards Haverstraw. Here you can go for miles without seeing a single soul!
On our ski route we saw the old remains of the state park buildings, and the footprints of various animals. I smelled fox and heard the screams of a hawk which didn't make me feel so good, because I thought at any minute they could come and grab me. But safe inside momma's pouch I was okay.
We really wondered about these old state park houses along the pathway, and we wish Rockland state park or the State of New York would consider redeveloping these so there could be a lively and active ski route here, full of happy little skiers and stops with hot steamy interiors replete with hot chocolate and porridge along the way like they had in Switzerland during momma's youth.
When we ended the day, I was shaking from head to paw, and momma had to carry me and the skis up the hill. We saw ONE person the whole way. What a day!