Monday, November 30, 2009

Blackhead Range Hike - Part 5

I collected this series of photos to illustrate the eerie, haunted look which is so often characteristic of Catskill forests. In this first photo, you can easily see how the dogs would quickly disappear into the fog if they ran too far on ahead:

The Catskill woodlands have long been considered mysterious and sometimes full of spirits and spooks. Recall "The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow," set not far from here:

I used to hike with a buddy who believed in the "little people," spirits who inhabited natural places. He noted that the little people seemed straightforward and even sometimes friendly in the Adirondacks but quite different in the Catskills. Here, if not malevolent, they were at least mischievous:

These wild lands go on for miles and miles and miles. They are filled with bears and bobcats and other wildlife. On a foggy day, it's not difficult to imagine more other-worldly inhabitants also:

The silence of the woods may sometimes seem ominous, but so also may a forest filled with screeching birds and other noises:

A phenomenon which is common in the Catskills but which I've seldom seen elsewhere contributes to their eerie reputation. That is the tendency for tree growth to stop at a certain height after which the growth branches out wildly into a "witch's broom:"

More haunted Catskill woodlands:

And "witch's brooms:"
Those red discs are trail markers. On a foggy day such as this one, they could be life savers:

Perhaps Fergus is wondering what mysteries await atop that next ledge:

Is there a headless horseman nearby?:

Imagine a pioneer lost in these woods and looking up into these trees. Surely a few new legends of hauntings would result:

C'mon up, Dad. I've checked it out and there's no spooks up there:

Eerie, misshapen trees:

Wild, contorted scenes of haunted forest. What a Halloween hike this would make!:

And I end this series of foggy forest photos by taking a break with Seamus:

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