Panther Mountain, Catskills, New York, USA, Earth.
Today I hiked West Kill Mountain, in the Catskills. It was a gorgeous day, 75*, a few wispy clouds, and hardly a breeze. The drive from Ithaca was easy, as far as three hours drives go. Happening upon a group of kids at the Diamond Notch waterfall, I only saw five more people on the hike from top to bottom, and all were amicable. The trail was quite rocky, but the elevation gain was not as bad as described, and the trail was dry, for the most part. Only at the top did the black-flies start to swarm, and even then, they very seldom landed; they seemed to prefer buzzing about. The lookout near the summit was a good 270*, certainly rivaling the view from Mount Wittenberg, which I hiked in 2010 (or so). 1:40 minutes to the top, and hour at the summit, inspecting strange noises of critters, conversing with a convivial chipmunk, and finishing my ration of almonds and cranberries. The return trip took 2 hours, accounting for a long detour at the waterfall for pictures, and a quick bath in the freezing mountain water.
Thousand Foot Drop to Pacific, from Tillamook Head
City and Colo(u)r- Forgive Me
I went into the mountains, today, for the first time since last October. Revisiting Old Rag. 3,300’, an East coast legend.
I feared that the trip would rekindle memories of our first ascent. By chance, I arrived at a different parking lot and traversed the back-side of the mountain, seeing the earth-form from a completely different vantage point.
The sky was mostly clear, but the clouds steamed over the mountain peaks with ferocity. Wind wiped my skin dry, and threatened to take my pack, and empty tuna fish can, off the shear ledge.
Sometimes I feel like the mountain. Serene, and unbridled by turbulence. Other times, I’m lashed with memories, fond and fatal, or regrets, and questions of the reality of this thing.
When those winds do happen to pass, I settle into the knowledge that change is constant; everything is everything.
But that doesn’t mean it is easy.
I appreciate the cool breeze in my window, these summer nights.
Simplifying my life has brought a calmness I haven’t known in some time. I am remembering that I enjoy being alone. Not without somebody, but with myself.
The view from Pyramid, before the final climb to Gothics, ADK 46.
'Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.'
These next few are from in and around Ithaca NY, my backyard…
Taughannock Falls - 215’. 33’ higher than Niagara Falls, and the tallest single drop waterfalls east of the Rockies.
I felt bad about never having been to the Adirondacks, despite the fact that I’ve lived in New York for almost 25 years, so I decided to have a go at Gothics, only the 10th highest mountain in NY, but apparently one of the best hikes. It was 13 miles of straight up and down torture, with intense scrambling and border-line rock climbing, but the views from Pyramid and Gothics were worth it.