Ashokan Reservoir


Ashokan Reservoir photos: Nina Shengold

Just before I turned 60, I decided to walk at the Catskills’ Ashokan Reservoir every day for a year and write about whatever I noticed.  This place of mercurial beauty is practically in my back yard, and I walked there in every season, in all kinds of weather, at all times of day.  Sometimes I walked with companions, most often alone.  I went back there again and again, and I found something new every time.


I started out on the 2.5 mile public-access walkway over the dam, but curiosity led me off-road.  I picked up a fishing license and started exploring the lesser-known paths and coves along the reservoir’s 44 miles of shoreline.  I studied its seasonal changes, its resident eagles (and great blue herons, white-tailed deer, black bears, and equally colorful humans).  I learned about how, in the early years of the 20th century, more than a thousand people were uprooted from their ancestral homes to slake New York City’s insatiable thirst. I got obsessed.


I’ve distilled the fruits of that year into a book called Reservoir Year: A Walker’s Book of Days.  As it wends its way down the path to publication, I’ll post excerpts here.  Meanwhile, here are some photos I took at the Ashokan.  (Not one was taken during my “walk year,” when I was adamantly tech-free; I didn’t even take notes on the path.  I carried my daily walks home like a golden retriever with a prize stick.)


I hope you’ll find these images enticing, and please check this space often for more information on Reservoir Year.


Click on thumbnails to see enlarged.

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