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Very near Port Jervis NY and Ellenville is Sams Point Preserve an area overseen by the Nature Conservancy. It is a got to go there kind of place if you enjoy hiking in an environment that doesn't fail to show itself off in the best possible light with a plethora of flowers, mushrooms, ferns, blueberry and huckleberry bushes, dwarf pine barrens against a back drop of white conglomerate rock, mountain vistas and waterfalls.
Among the highlights of this 5400 acre preserve are the "Ice Caves" Deep within the crevasses is the greatest open fault in the United States known geologically as the Ellenville fault.A surreal vista was created a half billion years ago when a layer of shale that had formed was forced upward into the air. The fault was caused as the shale ruptured and later was covered by huge quartzite boulders. Snow and cold air makes it's way in from the top and becomes trapped. Well into summer and even August your hard, hot hike will be rewarded by cold air and mist finding it's way out of the earth. If you make it this far It is a fantastic feeling of accomplishment as well as the refreshing blast of cold air!
To make it that far can be done in one of two ways the easy way or the hard way. We chose the had one and managed to get lost for awhile until one of our group contacted his wife at home who was able to get us co-ordinates. From that point on it was a difficult climb off trail over streams, rocks, fallen trees. The easier way would be to take a shorter easier route with a guide.
If you go check in at the modern reception center, obtain a permit if necessary for the Ice Caves portion, be in good physical shape, wear good boots and be prepared for any kind of weather. As you can see in the picture there are many large sections of rock that are slippery when wet. Just to clarify the only part of the Ice Caves hike that you would need a permit for is the more remote area known as the Ellenville Ice Caves within the "Grand Canyon" part of the preserve.
December 26th, 2012
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