It’s 90 degrees in the valley but there’s still snow in the crevices of the Swan Mountains. Strawberry Lake in the Jewel Basin hiking area is a quintessential alpine lake. Hidden in a crevice between the peaks, the water is cold and clear. If you stand and watch you can see the trout surfacing for flies on the surface. There’s one. Wait a minute, one over there also. No, I didn’t have my rod with me.
Day one of the American cross-country odyssey, here are a few initial observations:
1- Pennsylvania is longer than I thought going from east to west.
2- Rather than go around the many mountains in western PA they tunneled through a few of them. It reminded me of roads in Italy. Very cool.
3- I’m doing this trip at about 70 miles an hour on roads build just for me by my tax dollars. How did the pioneers ever get over those mountains?
4- You can break America into thirds going east to west. The first third is, or was, forest. The second third prairie and desert. The final third, almost to the coast, are snow covered mountains. The pioneers were much tougher than me.
Arctic Convoy to Murmansk: A Conversation with Captain Hugh Stephens By Anthony Palmiotti and Captain Hugh Stephens
The only thing that really frightened me during the war was the U-boat peril,” Winston Churchill
Considering the challenges faced by Britain and the Allies, that’s quite a statement. It’s a statement that puts into stark reality the fact that almost everything needed to fight and win a war in Europe would have to be brought to the war zone by ship.
The temperatures had been up and down, cold one day warm the next. But it’s still winter and the thermometer read 25 degrees as I left the house, still considered cold in most places. Not real cold, but cold enough to keep the mountain lonely. That’s good, I like it better without troops of hiking club members turning the trail into a social event.
The mud from yesterday hadn’t frozen solid overnight and a good part of the trail was crunchy underfoot as I stepped through the surface frost to the muck underneath. That’s ok, my boots were mud proof.
"He was born in the summer of his 27th year, coming home to a place he’d never been before. He left yesterday behind him, you might say he was born again."
Rocky Mountain High, John Denver
Located off Route 9D just south of Beacon, New York, the trail starts its climb at the northern side of an old stone tunnel. Parking is next to the Breakneck Metro North train stop or along the road. It’s tight, be careful.
I grew up and have lived most my life in the northeast. That means woodlands with oaks and maples, maybe some fir here and there. It means rocks and streams. It means humid heat in summer and damp snowy cold in winter. That’s ok, seasons are good.
‘That’s why they call it fishing and not catching.’
I’ve heard that before but it seems I prove it more often than not. I’ve never calculated it mathematically but my success rate fishing is something less than, well, good.
About this time last year my wife and I went for a hike along a piece of the Appalachian Trail in the Hudson Valley. The objective of this particular hike was to put a sign-in book in a wooden box at a spot called Highpoint (not the most original name) between Greenwood Lake and Harriman. The trail here is not terribly overcrowded, as some local sections seem to be, but does get a fair number of hikers. Today I wanted to see how many of those hikers had signed the little notebook we put in the box last year.