YNA August 2016 Gathering Recap & Review of Stony Kill Falls
This past weekend, we took another trip upstate for our last YNA weekend gathering of the summer!
It was a bit of a re-do from our rainy weekend at Juniper Woods back in July. This time the weather was absolutely perfect.
We started camping out Friday night and had a sing-along bonfire with a drum and guitar. Saturday we spent the day at Juniper and got everyone together for a few activities.
We played water volleyball with the club members, who are always so nice and welcoming. We also had a holi powder toss, followed by a naked slip n slide.
The last time we did a slip n slide at Juniper Woods, the rocks in the ground caused a few minor yet impressive injuries. This time, they cleared an area for us ahead of time (thank you, Mike of JW), so it was really fast and smooth. The only challenge was stopping before you slid over the grass and into the pond. We all got a little grass burn, but it was totally worth it!
This is some advanced naked slip n sliding right here – 6 people!
In the evening we had a really nice potluck dinner as a group. Then we walked over to the bonfire pavilion area for the club’s annual “Gender Bender” show. We’d never seen it before, and it was a wonderful surprise that it coincided with our gathering. It turned out to be a drag queen show put on by some of the members. They lip synced and danced their hearts out in various gowns and costumes.
Afterward the DJ continued the music for an all-out dance party. We danced and had a great time around the fire. Our Aussie friend also put on a show with his fire poi. See the video clip below.
On Sunday, we had planned an excursion to Stony Kill Falls in Minnewaska State Park, near New Paltz, NY. Stony Kill is basically a wide creek that drops into a 87 foot waterfall at the edge of the park. There are big pools in between the rocks, and the first big one above the waterfall is known as the “nudist pool.”
It’s been a dry, hot summer so by the end of August, a lot of the water dried up. The waterfall has been reduced to a mere trickle, and there was no pool to be found at the bottom of the falls. Locals say the water is the lowest they’ve seen it in years.
We’d been told the nudist pool was still there, but only knee-deep. This didn’t deter us.
To get to the falls, you park at the end of Shaft 2A Road (in Wawarsing, NY). It ends at a gate, and there’s no parking lot, so everyone parks on the side. Then you walk around the gate and follow the road.
You pass a helipad, water treatment facility and rock quarry. As you get closer to the falls, the path splits. The smaller path up to the right takes you to the (now trickling) waterfall. If you continue straight, you’ll bypass the waterfall and get directly to the trails that lead to the top.
It’s a bit of a steep climb, or “scramble,” up the mountain. Due to ongoing erosion, it’s difficult to maintain one path so there are several. The sturdy trees, roots and rocks serve as steps and leverage.
At the top you can see right over the waterfall. The path continues alongside the creek, and the hike is much easier from this point. Since it’s so dried up right now, you can walk on the bedrock of the kill itself, sidestepping pools of water.
We were a group of about 15 people, and some of us stopped at the first pool, which is the “nudist pool.” There were some clothed non-naturists there, but when asked if they were okay with us skinny dipping, none of them had a problem with it.
The rest of us had continued hiking up. On the trail we ran into our friend Michal, who had found a bigger, deeper pool further on. So we walked on another 10-15 minutes until we reached the pool he’d found.
He hadn’t seen anyone else at this spot. It was quiet, beautiful and felt like our own private nude beach! The water was very, very cold but not impossible to get into. It was a hot day, so it felt nice to cool off in after the hike.
It seemed to be over 6 feet deep in the middle. There were no fish, but quite a few tadpoles. Since the water flow was so minimal, there was forest debris floating around the surface, but that wasn’t an issue. It was otherwise very clean.
One outside hiker came across our group. He got naked and joined us for a bit, then left. We did see quite a few people while hiking. It seems that a few were really surprised to run into a group of naturists, but nobody seemed upset. We just gave them a good hiking story!
It only took us about 30 minutes to hike from our swimming pool back to the entrance gate. The trip is not an easy stroll like in the Mohonk Preserve, but it’s not a very long one either. Apparently you can also keep walking along Stony Kill for miles past where we stopped.
It was late afternoon by the time we reached our cars. Most of us went home from there, and few others headed over to Split Rock at the Mohonk Preserve for more skinny dipping in nature.
We definitely want to return to Stony Kill Falls next year and will aim to go earlier in the season to see it when it’s filled with flowing water. It’s a gorgeous area and a great hike regardless.
So ended our last summer gathering in upstate NY. We can’t wait to do this again next year! Thank you to the lovely people that attended and to Juniper Woods for hosting us.