At the north end of Chodikee Lake in Highland, NY there’s the remains of an old mill. Hidden amongst the gray sky and bare trees are the remains of somebody’s enterprise. People may have lived here, they certainly worked here. Dreams. Now there’s nothing left but a stone foundation and questions about it’s past.
A few years ago we started putting a Log Book into, what had been, an empty box on a portion of the Appalachian Trail near our home. The box is about an hour walk in from West Mombasha Rd. and a little less from the next road crossing near Fitzgerald Falls, Greenwood Lake. A nice hike either way.
The woods and trails near me can be crowded most weekends. A lot people like to hike, walk, hunt or otherwise wander through the woods and solitude in the forest can be difficult to find, unless, it’s a cold winter morning and three days before Christmas.
About a month ago I pulled a tee-shirt out of the pile of old tee shirts in the closet to go for a run. As I shook it out I read the words across the front, “Turkey Trot, 1998.” 1998? Twenty years? As I read the words across the shirt it dawned on me that my tee-shirts were older than most of my students.
The first snow of the season came early this year, November 15. It doesn’t take much to make the New York area gridlock but this was a nightmare for thousands.
My wife is a very talented witch. Water witch that is. Using only a couple of metal hangers she can find water buried deep in the earth. “Drill right here.” She said.
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.