As we drove toward our kayaking adventure, the weather turned nasty. We didn’t care. We were hardcore adventurers driving a Subaru with Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive and Subaru EyeSight®1.
The EyeSight1 driver-assist system alerted me the moment I deviated from my lane and when I hesitated too long behind a car that proceeded when the light turned green. (I was distracted by something on the side of the road – silly me!) The audible alert was a gentle reminder to pay attention and get moving. EyeSight1 also applies the brakes automatically if there's danger of a collision. Fortunately, I did not put that function to the test.
At one point, it was raining so hard the roads were partly submerged. The Forester barreled right through, creating impressive waves of water and shocked looks from drivers struggling to navigate the road.
At our lunch stop, we agreed that the rain wouldn’t keep us from kayaking to Bannerman Castle. That is, until Mother Nature whipped up more ominous weather with a side of tornado. We took a larger boat to the island instead.
Bannerman Castle is located on a small island in the Hudson River. Frank Bannerman, a wealthy Manhattan businessman, bought the island and used it as a storage site for surplus munitions in 1900. He also built a simulated Scottish castle and residence.
Now in ruins, the buildings are still surrounded by colorful flowers and shrubs. It was raining, but the Nikon 1 AW1 didn’t care and delivered beautiful images.
Weary and wet, we enjoyed the boat trip back to the mainland and called it a day – an amazing day.
A photographer's paradise: Bright flowers against crumbling ruins on a rainy day.
Bannerman repurposed radiators, steel pipes, even bedsprings into the foundation and walls of his buildings. Remnants remain on the property as the buildings have deteriorated over time.
I put on my bravest face and joined my group for breakfast. I opted to use positive thinking and focused my thoughts on how not to die while rock climbing.
The day was stunning with plenty of sunshine and blue skies. Our caravan of Subaru vehicles made its way to The Gunks – a coveted destination for serious climbers. We arrived at the historic Mohonk Mountain House resort and gazed upon the majestic Shawangunk Ridge.
We geared up and began our trek upward. Reality of what lay ahead set in when the needle-covered carriage path turned into a rocky scramble. I needed all four limbs, and, frankly, I wondered why my harness wasn't attached to anything.
I watched the first eager beaver work his way up the rocky face. While thoroughly intimidated, I noted that he came down in one piece with a huge grin on his face. I decided then and there I needed to step up next or I might freak out and hightail it back to the lodge. Flight or fight, baby.
Our guide let me practice on a smaller climb to get the feel of it.
“Let me fall,” I demanded, in my sweetest voice, because he literally had my wellbeing in his hands. “I want to feel you catch me.”
Trusting my belayer and my equipment was critical. I let go and felt the rope catch and support me. Feeling confident, I completed the climb and was ready to tackle the monster ridge named “Lakeview.”
The first part of Lakeview was the most difficult – a 12-foot vertical crevice with invisible toeholds. I honestly don't know how I did it, but the risk of failure and embarrassment propelled me upward. Heart pounding, I made slow-but-steady progress.
Note to beginner climbers: It is difficult to find a toehold if you refuse to look down. That was my biggest challenge.
At last, I reached the top of the 50-foot climb. The view was something to behold! But even grander than the landscape below me was the confidence the climb inspired within me. I surprised myself. I was Queen of the Mountain, and it felt good.
1 EyeSight is a driver-assist system which may not operate optimally under all driving conditions. The driver is always responsible for safe and attentive driving. System effectiveness depends on many factors such as vehicle maintenance, and weather and road conditions. Please remember to turn off EyeSight when going through a car wash. See Owner’s Manual for complete details on system operation and limitations.