Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Monday, May 24, 2010

John Burroughs

" I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read and all the friends I want to see." ~ John Burroughs

"I do not think I exaggerate the importance or the charms of
pedestrianism, or our need as a people to cultivate the art. I think it would tend to soften the national manners, to teach us the meaning of leisure, to acquaint us with the charms of the open air." ~ John Burroughs

Burroughs was born in the Catskills and although he traveled far and wide to go on nature expeditions, hike and camp and talk nature with men like Theodore Roosevelt, Luther Burbank, John Muir, Henry Ford, and Thomas Edison, he was always overjoyed to get back to the Catskill ~ Hudson Valley region.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Today I took a walk around Old Mystery Point.

Walked down to the Manitou Metro North Station and found a Kennedy half dollar that had been quite flattened by a train. I wondered who put it on the tracks, and supposed they didn't find it afterwards because it flew off to the side. I'm always looking for interesting stones, so the coin caught my eye.

Wandered on various trails through the cool woodlands to the marsh where I saw so many turtles and frogs. The walk was a little over three hours, a mix of sunshine and cool shade.

The trails were all pretty narrow and wild, with plenty of fallen trees to climb over, or in this case, go under.

The Tulip trees were dropping flowers on the path.

Found these "devil" pods.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Catskills Region

Heading up to The Catskills region this weekend. Looking forward to a break in the work schedule and taking some seriously long walks.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Hiking Update

I just liked this tree on the side of a very interesting path.

A heavy work schedule and some thunderstorms have kept me from hiking as much as I'd like to. But I was lucky to be able to hike when I could. One hike was a sweet unplanned ramble lasting nearly eight hours. There is a lot to be said for having meals outdoors and wandering aimlessly, just exploring. Rain today but that's okay.

It is no use to grumble and complain;
It's just as cheap and easy to rejoice;
When God sorts out the weather and sends rain -
Why, rain's my choice.

~James Whitcomb Riley

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Bridge Thoughts

On the Popolopen Trail, going under the Bear Mountain Bridge.

Bridges ... The Bear Mountain, a rail bridge and the footbridge. (snapshot taken from the 9W highway bridge.)

Admiring the Bear Mtn. Bridge from a ridge on Bear Mountain.

The Bear Mountain Bridge from the footbridge down in the gorge.

The bridge has been an excellent symbol for me lately, since I have work deadlines. Hiking helps me think more clearly and I'm more productive. I have my eye on a spot that would be a perfect outdoor "office" for a few hours every week, and I can see part of the bridge from it. You may see me sitting there on a yoga mat with pencil and notebook.

"Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment."
~ Jim Rohn

Monday, May 10, 2010


You can learn a lot from trees.

They can rebel against things they don't like.

Living is important to them, even if the going is tough.

They're flexible.

They get along well with others.

(that's the NYC skyline in the gap.)

Bobby D's Forty Winks

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Time Travel

Some places feel wild even if they aren't really. They've seen mining and quarrying and logging and dam-building and all sorts of activity. When I took this snapshot, I had been wandering through a very serene and wild feeling world, on my way to Bald Mountain. I didn't see or hear another human being for over 3 hours of steady wandering.

I have two state parks that are easy walking distance from my house. Since the closest one leads right into the other, it's even better, since I only have to walk through a little bit of suburbia to get there. But they aren't wild at all. They've been designed and landscaped a bit-- iris and daffodils have been planted near cozy little picnic areas under blossoming trees chosen to shade the picnickers. I enjoy seeing kids on bicycles or skateboards zip along on the black-topped paths. It's all good.

There are almost wild places within these parks, where you can dream as you go along, that you've gone back in time...

I hope to vacation in The Adirondacks this September. Here are some Bill McKibben quotes from his book
"Wandering Home: A Long Walk Across America's Most Hopeful Landscape: Vermont's Champlain Valley and New York's Adirondacks."

" I'd hiked Giant several times in my life--the best was on the first anniversary of meeting my wife, Sue, when we walked up in a grey fog with a bottle of champagne, only to have the clouds instantly part as we sat on the summit, pulled away like stage curtains to reveal the late-September glory below."

"A world without Giant Mountain, or a Giant Mountain with a toll road on it, or a gondola, or an ATV mosh pit, seems more worth fighting against than ever. 'Forever Wild' as the New York Constitution puts it, even if 'wild' means a little less than it used to."

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Perhaps the truth depends on a walk around the lake.
~ Wallace Stevens

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Like a kid in the Park

View from a ridge on Bear Mountain (yesterday's hike.)

Saw some Mayapples in the park.

Climbing up to the top (went down a different way.)

Chipmunk near the museums.

Hike time: 4.5 hours (rained for about twenty mins, but some of it was mist and sunshowers.) Very comfortable hike, but 20 mins of it were stops to take photos/ catch my breath on the steep climbs --also took 20 mins to sit & eat lunch.
I was going to wander around some more, but dark clouds rolled in with some good wind gusts, I decided to go home--like a kid, I always get this feeling of disappointment when it's time to leave the park. There was more rain, but not the thunderstorm that was predicted.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Big & Little

Big view (Doodletown)

Little friend on the shady path.

My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was sixty. She's ninety-three today
and we don't know where the hell she is. ~ Ellen DeGeneres

Monday, May 3, 2010

Around the Next Bend

One of the joys of walking is never knowing what will be around the next bend.

When I walk, since I'm often walking in the same areas, I try to go off trail and explore a bit. Yesterday I walked down a hidden lane on my way to Rockland Lake State Park and spotted a sign promising an encounter with a rooster. I didn't have to wait long--the instant he spotted me he came running up the hill as fast as he could, in an attitude of extreme huffiness. I did not grab one of the sticks.

He took a bold stand and waited for me to either charge him with a stick or run away.

When he saw I wasn't going to play the usual game, he got very timid, and to save face pretended that there was a piece of corn or something in the road.

I walked over to him, into the shade.We just stood there, saying nothing, just resting. It was so hot yesterday, and there was nothing to say. We just stood there in silence. He groomed himself a little, looked me up and down a few times, and eventually walked back down the hill, perhaps to see what was happening back at his coop.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Nature Reclaims

Nature reclaims Doodletown

This old oak witnessed the beginning and end of Doodletown, today it gets hugged a lot by hikers passing by.

Mr. T.'s family has lived in Doodletown for many generations.

One of the 3 cemeteries is the Weyant / Herbert Cemetery.

Steps that once led to an old farmhouse that included a general store and blacksmith shop, now lead to brambles, bushes and 45 year old trees. It's a birdwatcher's paradise.

A Walk Through History

Doodletown was an isolated hamlet on the Hudson River, a slowly dying village that became a bit livelier in summer when throngs came to Bear Mountain State Park. The park was growing, buying up acres and acres of the old abandoned iron mine lands there and many residents were ready to move on. The old quarries were shut down,and many Doodletowners loved the park more than the average visitor could imagine-- The park was a good employer for residents and people also loved the land. A few wanted to stay forever, but eventually sold to the park. Some dismantled their own homes so they could cart the lumber and materials to their new homes nearby. While they felt sad, they didn't feel the outrage that non-residents felt about the park absorbing the town. with it's growing number of abandoned buildings, it was only a matter of time. Many were planning to move on anyway, since by then, Doodletown was better suited for use as a summer community. Winters could be brutal and it was a long walk to the train station, and another walking journey beyond for those who had to go to school. At one time residents depended on small deli grocers to deliver food once or twice a week. (Most of the businesses in Doodletown vanished in the 1940s,except for the nearby munitions plant which was going " Full Blast " at the time.) Doodletowners really depended on their Victory Gardens to get them through hard times during WW2. After the war the government de-activated the munitions depot, and many jobs were lost. The hamlet finally got electricity in 1946, and residents bought appliances and television sets. Life was pleasant during the 50's, but people were moving on. The last homes were taken down in the 1960's.
All that remains of Doodletown today are three cemeteries, lots of walls, foundations, steps... wisteria that once covered the porches of Victorians and humble cottages now grows rampant. All has returned to nature. It isn't a ghost town, it's alive with hikers and former residents who still enjoy a ramble through the place where they grew up. Sadness is mixed with being grateful that no part of their hamlet was paved over for a parking lot, but that it has become a hiking trail with many historic markers ... a popular place to wander and imagine what it was.