Catskills Live! Trails & Wilderness Association issues a challenge to all — venture forth and seek all 15 Quadricentennial Challenge geocaches. Go to many great places throughout Ulster County — visit the shores of the Hudson, feel the cool air in an historic cement mine, enjoy our small parks, ride on our rail trails, summit two Catskill peaks, and savor the breath-taking view from Gertrude's Nose in Minnewaska State Park Preserve. Bask in our county's treasures with family and friends, exercise your body, and build lasting memories. Specially minted commemorative Quadricentennial geocoins are being released from Challenge geocaches in celebration of the 400th anniversary of the exploration of the Hudson by Henry Hudson. All 15 Challenge caches will be available this summer. Funding for the Challenge was provided by Ulster County and the Hudson River Valley Greenway.
Minnewaska Lake is the third largest of the five crowning jewels of the northern Shawangunk Ridge. The lake's crystal clear waters, seventy-eight feet at their deepest point, are bounded on the northeast and northwest by sheer white, lichen-dappled, cliffs. Until about 1922, all five of the Shawangunk sky lakes had abundant fish populations before acid precipitation lowered the pH of water in four of the five ridge top lakes. Minnewaska Lake was known to have had perch, pickerel, trout, and catfish. Abundant perch and pickerel from Minnewaska and Awosting lakes were once sold in Ellenville fish markets. Today, the public enjoys 34-acre Minnewaska Lake for swimming and its many carriage roads that boast numerous scenic vistas and bountiful blueberries.
Archaeologic excavations in rock shelters in the Shawangunk Mountains have documented evidence of
Native American occupation dating back some 10,000 years. Similarly, excavations in the Wallkill and
Hudson valleys establish occupation before and at the time of Hudson's voyage up the river named for
Access to the cache is largely via carriage roads near Minnewaska Lake. The cache is a 2-liter
cylindrical poly bottle hidden in an opening under a small boulder about 25 feet from the Castle
Point Carriageway. Nearby, there is a sweeping view of the Catskill Mountain escarpment. High
Point Mountain is the peak to your right. Bring a picnic to enjoy on the glacially striated
bedrock table next to this cache.
The cache is filled with kid-friendly items and, initially,
three NYS Quadricentennial Challenge geocoins designed to travel throughout the
Minnewaska State Park Preserve is west of New Paltz, NY along Rt. 44/55. The 2008 NY-NJ Trail Conference Map 105 (Shawangunk Trails - North) illustrates access routes well. Parking for this cache is available at either the Minnewaska Lake parking area next to Minnewaska Lake or at the Lake Awosting parking area. The upper lakeside parking area is much closer to the cache and avoids a lengthy uphill trek. The park opens at 9 am and there is a $6 parking fee.