Moonhaw

I was dimly aware that people had climbed Wittenberg from a trailhead or parking area on Moonhaw Road in the tiny hamlet of West Shokan.

The name “Moonhaw” had caught my attention.  I pictured moon-glow in a dark forest, and then imagined a donkey braying.  “Moon” and “haw” are two familiar-sounding syllables, yet the sense conveyed was of some kind of atavistic lunar exuberance, an experience or feeling that would be completely alien in a modern, urban, high-tech world.

The Internet yielded no clues to the origin or significance of Moonhaw.  You would pronounce it, I thought, like this:  “moon-HAAAW.”

And so this became the focus for my next Catskills adventure…

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Moonhaw

The Eight

The goal was The Nine, a 20-mile loop in New York’s Catskill Mountains that connects nine of the highest peaks, with the special challenge that four of the mountains have no trail, meaning you must bushwhack through the woods using map, compass, and/or GPS.  I had completed The Nine before during the summer, so you might assume I’d feel pretty confident.  But now it was winter.  And the prospects of navigating over rugged terrain, contending with treacherous footing, braving the cold — this was a little daunting.

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The Eight