Thin places are moments in space – and time – when you can feel very alive. And one characteristic is that they are not forever. They come and they go. Tempus fugit and all that. Those weather furies, Irene and Sandy, have been helping us understand all this. So, for the moment, it’s possible to explore the backside of Sugar Loaf, NY by kayak.
Sugar Loaf, that sleepy hamlet of arts and crafts, got a modest creek dammed up a few years ago by the local beavers. That damming, followed by big storms, has created a yet unnamed body of water that has claimed several acres of real estate in Sugar Loaf. Just behind this quaint arts and crafts world is yet another world of green-slimed water, ducks, herons, fish, growing aquatic plants and dying hardwoods. It’s a vital, raw, almost primal place. There are no Park Rangers, Army Corps of Engineers, or Department of Environmental Conservation officers – yet.
Four of us put our kayaks in near an old parking lot which now looks like a boat ramp. It took some maneuvering and squeezing to get around sodden fallen trees, but finally we got into a good half-mile of open water to paddle around in and explore. There were no unusual aha moments, just the subtle feeling of being a part of some new and old nature soup. There were surreal moments when we were in kayaks with a freight train going by one way and Canada Geese the other way.
The edges of this pond are shifting and new access opens up every once in awhile. You can get there from the back of the main street in Sugar Loaf (Kings Highway) or from the Citizens Foundation property on White Oak Road, which has cleared a path down to the area and is promoting a bog garden. Part of the pleasure of this experience is the hunt, your hunt for access. Opportunities to explore newly forming natural habitats are rare and this seems to be the time and place to experience it. It feeds that sleeping primitive in all of us. Daniel Mack