Saturday, July 17, 2010

Sleepy Hollow Catskills Hike - Part 3

I was hiking up the Sleepy Hollow trail in the Catskill Mountains with my four dogs - Seamus, Fergus, Daphne and Clover. We'd passed some people on horses but otherwise had the entire mountain to ourselves. Most of it was State land, but I kept seeing Private Property signs. The Catskill Park is, like the Adirondack Park, a mixture of State and private lands. Nevertheless, I was shocked to encounter this extraordinary building up on a rocky ledge overlooking the trail. It had a no trespassing sign and I didn't attempt to climb those stairs, but I confess that I was tempted:

The trail went continuously uphill without any breaks. Seamus and I were beginning to tire, but the young pups were still plenty energetic:

I passed by this giant, flat topped boulder with a soft layer of mosses on its top surface. I never got to see Rip's Boulder, where Rip Van Winkle reportedly slept for 20 years, but I'll wager it looked very much like this:

And we kept climbing upward. Even the puppies began to slow down. As many dog trainers are fond of saying, "A tired dog is a well behaved dog:"

And without warning, we came upon a broad, open space with a scenic view. The trees obscured much of the view, but if I stood on that boulder I could make out a good deal of the valley below:

The broad valley below us seemed perfectly flat and also seemed to stretch out clear to the horizon:

I stretched higher to get a better view and it was lovely indeed:

And then I noticed that long blue ribbon of water. This, I was sure, was the Hudson River. It was no wonder the valley was so broad:

This country was the historic Catskills, home of the legend of Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle. Far below us was the historic Hudson River Valley. I decided not to climb any higher, but instead to begin descending the trail headed for our parked car. So we were only at the half way point. I'll post more tomorrow:

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