By Marci Saulino
Skiing on Long Island… is that even possible? Well, I was about to find out.
After a little research, Wildwood State Park was the park of choice for this adventure. According to the Wildwood State Park description on the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation website, “Wildwood State Park comprises 600 acres of undeveloped hardwood forest terminating on the high bluff overlooking Long Island Sound.” At least it sounds picturesque. And we are in luck! Under Amenities and Activities, cross country skiing is on the list.
It is an unbelievable 12 degrees out, but we don’t even feel the cold. We start out on the yellow trail that is 3.8 miles long. The first thing we notice are the grooves carved into the snow by previous skiers, creating a white, sparkling path as if daring us to follow. This and the swishing noises of our moving skis.
Immediately we see the many deer trails that cross back and forth over our path — one direction leading to an open meadow which borders a fenced-in vineyard, and the other I’m hoping will take us to the bluff. Looking further ahead, there are several deer running and jumping, amazingly perfectly silent. All you see are white tails flitting through the woods.
According to our map, the yellow trail does lead to the top of the bluff. We end up on the blue and orange trails as well, for they run parallel to the yellow — some areas groomed, other areas ungroomed. There is a breeze that blows snow off the trees to land gently on our faces (and sometimes not so gently, ouch!). With a camera strapped around my neck, I stop every so often endeavoring to capture the beauty of the trails and the winter wonderland surrounding us.
There are mini-hills going up, which take a little more energy, and there are mini-hills going down, which give you a nice break to glide and catch your breath. And getting to the top of the bluff was certainly worth the effort.
As we come to the edge of the 50-foot bluff, we spot additional delicate deer hoofprints, which lead to more deer, plus five wild turkeys. They are all running the ragged, rocky ridge. What a sight, as we soak in the warmth of the sun, the blueness of the skies, and the sea-green of the water. Straight ahead, there is a clear view of Connecticut. To the left and the right, you see other bluffs jutting out into the water, as well as little inlets and coves filled with tall masts and white shrink-wrapped boats.
As the sun began to set, it added another dimension to the word beauty. The pinks and oranges floating across the water move quickly, changing the light and shadows and making for an interesting glide back down the trail.
And the best part? The only cost was our time, time well spent. Wildwood is a state park — thus there is no fee during the winter months. This may not be equivalent to other areas of the country in terms of the perfect trail, but it was beautiful nonetheless and I for one plan to continue skiing Long Island.
790 Hulse Landing Road
Mail: P.O. Box 518
Wading River, NY 11792
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