Friday, July 16, 2010

Sleepy Hollow Catskills Trail - Part 2

I was hiking with four dogs on the Sleepy Hollow Trail in the Catskill Mountains. We'd climbed up a very steep and rocky creek bed looking for Rip's Boulder, the place where Rip Van Winkle was supposed to have slept for 20 years. Alas, I never found it. I looked upwards toward where we could climb farther in search of this boulder but the climb appeared endless. So we began a cautious descent back down that pile of mossy rocks:

Going downhill is almost always more difficult and treacherous than going uphill, and all the more so when trying t navigate so many rocks. Daphne and Fergus were quite nimble, but Seamus and I were, shall we say, a bit overweight and long legged. And Clover was just a tiny puppy. So Fergus and Daphne simply had to wait for us slow pokes to catch up:

I snapped photos of the rocky scree hoping they would show how steep this was. But as is usually the case, the small amount of scenery captured in the photo looks almost level. I guess you'll just have to believe me that this was extraordinarily steep:

Besides the piles of giant boulders and smaller, ankle twisting rocks, there were mossy sections, fallen trees and weedy patches to navigate. I was glad I hadn't tried to climb any higher:

About half way down, I walked off into the woods and traveled the rest of the way on comparatively smooth (though still steep) ground. This way we avoided any more rock hopping:

When I got back to the trail, I saw this old rock wall near the bridge and wondered if this was the foundation of the Rip Van Winkle Inn. It was on a different mountain, so I may never have found the famous Rip's Boulder even if I'd made it all the way to the top of our former climb. And this mountain was even taller and steeper than the first. I was glad I'd turned back to the trail:

So we continued merrily on our way, now on the legitimate trail up, up, upwards into the heights of the Catskills:

Seamus huffed and panted, but appeared to be doing well. I'd brought along a big jug of water and a dog bowl just in case - but there was enough water along the trail that it was never needed:

Clover ran ahead and wouldn't come when called. When I finally got a hold of her, I put her on a leash. Well, she wanted no part of that either, so we had a lesson in how to walk on a leash. Then I let her drag it behind her for a while. When we met four horses and riders coming down the trail, I put Fergus, Seamus and Daphne on leashes. Clover was so excited by the horses that she again wouldn't come when called. First she wanted to get close to the horses, than ran away in fear. Finally I walked the other dogs quickly off the trail into the woods and Clover followed us. I'm happy to say that by the end of the hike, Clover was walking well on a leash and coming when called:

A short video of the dogs playing while descending the steep, rocky creek bed. In the beginning, I am encouraging her to climb the rocks. Then she attempts to scale a fallen log with Daphne and Fergus, but Daphne decides it's time for wrestling. Seamus pants and waits patiently to see which way I decide to go. I did eventually decide to follow the dogs up over that log and finish my descent on the smooth ground instead of the rocky scree:

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