Wildcat Ridge: The Spring of Our Discontent

“I’m bummed out about the premature end the season.” In light of the exponential change in our lives, this sentence now seems selfish and self-centered. But in the time since I originally submitted this piece, a lifetime has passed. As we’re all hunkering down, I hope this piece gives you some respite from the news that surrounds us.

Split Rock Reservoir


During the second week in March, organizers cancelled the Lake Placid Loppet due to deteriorating ski conditions. I wasn’t surprised: the long-range weather forecast had been awful, with rain and high temperatures over 45 F on several consecutive days.

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Hunter, the Hard Way

“Is this the way to Hunter Mountain?”

Here we f’n go, I thought. We were on the Spruceton Trail, a jeep road leading to Hunter’s summit and fire tower from the west. One of the biggest trails in the Catskills, it’s a veritable highway. How could you not know where you were.

Annapurna

Biting my tongue, I replied, “It’s a mile or so up… do you have a map?”

He pulled a crumpled piece of paper out of his pocket and unfolded it. Definitely not a NY-NJ Trail Conference map. But it was something.

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Poaching the Smiley Road

“Four mile post. Entering the lost community of the huckleberry pickers. You are not forgotten.”

Someone had carved this inscription into a board and nailed it to a tree at mile four, coming from Ellenville, on the Smiley carriage road.

Smiley Road
Along the Smiley Road

Earlier this month, I’d run a loop in Sam’s Point Preserve, partly inspired by Marc Fried’s book The Huckleberry Pickers. The Smiley road figures large in Fried’s book.

In 1900, the Smiley brothers, owners of Mohonk Mountain House and Cliff House and Wildmere on Lake Minnewaska, expanded their already extensive carriage road network with a seven-mile road from Lake Awosting to Ellenville.

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