May in the Catskills

The mission was to complete the remaining twelve peaks needed to scratch the month of May off the Grid, and accordingly I arranged to take a week off of work.  But the Rock The Ridge 50-miler left me with a sore ankle, which required a reduction in speed and mileage.  In Henry David Thoreau’s essay, “Walking,” he used the word “saunter” to describe the act of sallying forth into the woods, which was for him the adventure and escape of his day, and he likened this daily saunter to the motion of a stream flowing downhill to the ocean:

The saunterer, in the good sense, is no more vagrant than the meandering river, which is all the while sedulously seeking the shortest course to the sea.

— Henry David Thoreau, “Walking”

To complete the Grid for May, I’d need to saunter instead of run — and rather than pushing myself, I’d need to “flow” through the mountains, just like a stream, except I’d be going uphill as well as down…

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May in the Catskills

Losing Traction

Driving up to the Catskills early one morning, it was another dim day, with overcast skies smothering the light and fresh snow blotting out the subtle colors of the winter landscape.  The Shawangunk Mountains slid by in the rear view mirror, slate gray and dusky taupe.  The Catskills’ southern mountains looked like a bank of fog.  The scene lacked energy, but this doesn’t matter when there are mountains to climb….

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Losing Traction