My Shawangunks page
and Cragsmoor, NY – and Sam’s Point – and Verkeeder Falls…
“How many are your works, O Lord! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is
full of your creatures.”
Personal Statement of Belief in Jesus
Although it does have caves, Shawangunk does not rhyme with
“spelunk”. The following may be helpful:
How to say Shawangunk:
There were two brothers named Gumm,
Their names were Donald and
Dick Gumm died in a car crash,
Hit by his brother Don Gumm.
“Don Gumm” rhymes with Shawangunk. Just trust me, that’s how it’s pronounced.
6/2007: See my Verkeeder Falls videos on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/cujamison
The Shawangunks (pronounced SHON-gums) are magical mountains
to me. I spent many days hiking around
their trees, streams and cliffs. I went
to high school in Pine Bush, NY (now apparently the UFO capitol of the east!). In my senior year I took Physics. I sat at a desk along the windows, and had a
daily view of the Gunks, specifically Sam’s Point. Many times I wished I was there instead of
here. I could see the opening of a
ravine which I knew led to Katykill Falls (or Verkeeder
if you prefer). I would try to project
myself to that place, imagining the cooling spray of water in the permanent
breeze of the falls.
My area of the Shawangunks has four lakes: Mohonk, Minnewaska, Awosting and
Maratanza. I guess my favorite is
Awosting since it requires the most effort to reach. Further south of the public park areas is the
hamlet of Cragsmoor, NY and the Bear Cliff nature preserve. In Cragsmoor is a stone church, The Church of
the Holy Name. Linda and I were married
at this church in 1992.
Once when my daughter Claire was very young, we took her
hiking at Bear Cliff. While looking out
over the valley, we could see black storm clouds heading our way. We watched as the storm came up from Orange County
and over the top of us. Linda, Claire
and I took refuge under a small rock ledge, safe from the cold rain falling all
around. We waited about 20 minutes for
the rain to pass by, then crawled out and went back to the car.
Another favorite spot is in the Verkeeder Kill valley, just
below the falls. Where the ravine formed
by the falls opens out, there is a large balanced boulder, which forms a small
room below it. My friends and I used to
hike up to the falls from below (parking along Upper Mountain
road). This spot was on the way, and we
would stop and rest in the cool of this shallow room.
I mention the hike from Upper Mountain
road only because you can’t go that way anymore. We used to park at a place called
Daschner’s. We would stop at Mr.
Daschner’s house (we called it the castle) and ask permission to pass on his
land. He would ask for a donation to go
toward homeless animals. In speaking
with him once, I found that he knew my Grandfather’s brothers, Phil and Baird
Jamison. We had a nice talk about
farming in the 1930’s and pulling milk on a sleigh through snowdrifts in route
52. 2/2004 – An interesting
addendum: Mr. Daschner and my uncle
Baird ended up sharing a room in a nursing home at the end of their lives. Mr. Daschner passed away there. After that, my uncle apparently decided that
he didn’t want to be there anymore. He
went back home an lived on several more years with his extended family. Uncle Baird died in 1991 at the age of 97.
I used to hike the mountains in the wintertime. I remember one hike after a snowstorm. The snow was a couple feet deep and had
hardened in the cold and wind. This
allowed me to walk up above the level of all the low bushes & scrub,
thereby making great time in covering distances. It was a completely different hike than in
the summer, when you must wend your way through & around the bushes.
One spring day I hiked up to the Verkeeder Falls. I started at Daschner’s Castle and hiked
straight up. This took me up a cliff
face that had separated off from the main mountain body, forming an ‘island’ of
maybe an acre or two. My scramble up the
cliff face took all my attention & energy.
Upon reaching the top I collapsed on the exposed rock and turned around
to face south into Orange
County. There before me was spread out a view all the
way down to West Point & the Ramapo mountains of New Jersey.
After catching my breath I finished the climb up to the top of the
island. That’s where I was overwhelmed
by the realization that there is NO WAY this world could have happened by
accident. I was SURE in my heart that
God had created it on purpose, just the way it is. The thought came to me: what possible evolutionary reason could there
be that I would find this sight beautiful? I can only find this beautiful if God has
placed in me the capacity to find his creation beautiful. Thus we can come to believe in God based
solely on what we see about us. Much
later on I read in Romans 1:20 that ‘…since the creation of the world God’s
invisible qualities … have been clearly seen, being understood from what has
been made…”. This was my ‘mountaintop
Thanks for visiting! New: fear and joy. Also, my memory
to Chris Jamison’s home page: http://www.mindspring.com/~cjamison/
I had the pleasure of taking a hike from the Nature
Conservancy’s Sam’s Point Preserve conservation center back to Verkeeder Kill Falls. The weather was cold and windy, but
sunny. I’ve taken a few photos &
movies of the trip here: Shawangunk Hike
2006. I like what the Conservancy
has done with the property, and the $7 parking fee is a pleasure to pay. It’s a small thing to give up in order to preserve
the beauty that so many people enjoy.
FAQ: No, you cannot
drive up to Sam’s point anymore. It’s an
easy ½ mile hike. Yes, the ice caves are
reopened. They’re about a mile from the
This afternoon I was at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, GA
touring the exhibits with my son Alex.
He called to me from across a gallery – “Dad, this is from Sam’s
Point!” We were viewing the Annie
Leibovitz exhibit “A Photographer’s Life, 1990-2005”. She had taken some photos of Sam’s Point and
Verkeeder Kill falls in 1999. I started
to take a photo of the work, but was quickly dissuaded by a museum guard. Here’s a link to the exhibit while it showed
in San Diego.
Here’s Annie’s photo of the birch trees from 1999: And mine from 2006:
I can see why she
gets paid for her photos! But it was
really special to see my favorite place celebrated by our nations top
photographer and then exhibited around the country.
See my YouTube
page for Verkeeder Falls videos from Dec., 2007.
How could I have forgotten Marc Fried from this page? Here are his books on Amazon.
I still need to finish my ‘hike’ page & add another page
of laptop wallpaper images from the mountains.
These people have spent much more time and energy than I in
showing off the Shawangunks’ beauty.
- The Shawangunk Wine Trail
website, & the similar New York
the Hudson Valley Pottery Trail,
found at the Ulster Co
Tourism site, in the ‘where to wander’ section.
- Fun: an e-book of Philip Smith’s Legends of
the Shawangunk (1887) http://www.usgennet.org/usa/ny/county/orange/legends/index.htm
Meyer’s page: http://www.ulster.net/~emeyer/welcome.html
Shimmrich’s page: http://www.shawangunk.com/shawangunk/main.html
G. Steve Jordon: http://www.mohonkimages.com/
- NY –
NJ Trail Conference site.
of the Shawangunks: http://www.nynjtc.com/clubpages/fos.html
- The Shawangunk Mountain Home Page. Includes a photo gallery.
Mountain House (commercial): http://www.mohonk.com/
Chong’s page: http://acheron.cilia.org/~herbie/minnewaska.htm
Barnacle gallery (commercial): http://www.kbart.com/
views of the Gunks: http://www.silewen.com/gunks/
Free Library: http://www.rcls.org/crg/ (as of
- A nice
hiking guide: http://www.catskillhikes.com/gunks.html
description of the long path through Sam’s Point area: http://members.aol.com/howiedash/ellenvle.html
Lloyd’s page: http://home.earthlink.net/~joelloyd/
Lisa Lebofsky’s page: watercolors
History & news: http://minnewaska.org
of nearby New Paltz, NY:
what they’ve done to the old Galeville airport: http://shawangunk.fws.gov/. I haven’t been here yet, but am looking
forward to checking it out. – I
went to see this page in December, 2001.
The entire Department of Interior website was shut down by some
lawsuit from an Indian Tribe!
What’s going on here?
government page: http://training.fws.gov/library/pubs5/web_link/text/sha_kill.htm. Shows the watershed info for the
Shawangunk Kill. Here is the site
for the ridge: http://training.fws.gov/library/pubs5/web_link/text/skr_form.htm. It contains great quotes like “unusual
diversity of vegetational communities”.
Why couldn’t they just say ‘a lot of plants’? These sites contain links to maps of the
area and something called the New York Bight watershed.
not sure what Lindunida is trying to accomplish here: http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Woods/5078/shawangunk.html.
Si Lewen’s Shawangunk series: www.silewen.com/gunks/.
- And a
poem by Phil Robson: www.pbunited.com/PBWeb/Poetry/Shawangunk.html
- 3/2003: Here’s a site for climbers: www.gunks.com
- 2/2004: Someone’s Mohonk pages (with
- 3/2004: From the local paper, the Times Herald
- 6/2004: A page on Palmaghatt Kill Ravine –
ancient Hemlocks SW of Lake Minnewaska:
out this whole site sometime: The
Catskill Archive. Here, a book by
Charles Rockwell - http://www.catskillarchive.com/rockwell/index.htm
- 7/2004: All the ‘save the…’ sites: Save
the Gunks/Ridge Shawangunk Coalition
by New Prospect Church on
your way to visit the mountains.
- 8/2004: An article from
the Hudsonian Magazine.
all about New Paltz; and here.
And SUNY New Paltz. Stay at the New Paltz Hostel. Enough links; just use google
magazine Kaatskill Life.
Consultants site. Interesting presentations on Hudson River &
- A page
put up by someone we know, Sally Matz of Cragsmoor, on her grandfather A I
of Shawangunks & environs by Scott
Marshall. Very good!
the gunks for Jesus’: http://members.tripod.com/HIGHERGROUNDHIKERS/HIGHER_GROUND.htm
Take me Home last
home page links: sitemap mindspring tripod/lycos geocities/yahoo Comcast
2002-2007 by Chris Jamison This
page last updated 10/12/2007 at 9:53 AM