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…

Continue reading “May in the Catskills”

May in the Catskills

Finding Energy in the Dark

Driving north on the Thruway, I peered through the windshield, seeking a glimpse of the Catskill Mountains, curious how their appearance today would compare to past trips.  But a layer of clouds had spread across the sky and blocked the sun, and when the mountains’ southern escarpment finally came into view, it was just a dark gray wall beneath a gray horizon.  A dim and gloomy scene, with little contrast or detail, lacking energy, listless.  My heart sank.  Gone was the dazzling light I’d experienced in late December, when a fresh cover of snow and rime ice flashed brilliantly under clear skies.  Today it seemed better to sit by the fire, drink coffee, read a book — yet I was determined to climb several mountains this weekend, even if it was pitch black:  surely there would be something to see and feel. Continue reading “Finding Energy in the Dark”

Finding Energy in the Dark

Another Barefoot Adventure in the Catskills

Behind me the sky had colored with the rising sun, while to the front the southern escarpment of the Catskill Mountains was silhouetted in mauve and cerise.

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Odie and I were headed north for a minimalist adventure, the objective to climb three mountains, of which one would be a bushwhack.  The protocol for me would be climbing barefoot and descending in LUNA sandals; Odie is always barefoot.   Emboldened by slow but successful ascents of Peekamoose, Hunter, and Southwest Hunter, I had developed the peculiar ambition to climb all 35 peaks in the Catskills barefoot, and today’s activities would hopefully get me to number 6.

To make this expedition appropriately minimalist, I was carrying a small safety kit, but no food or water.

Continue reading “Another Barefoot Adventure in the Catskills”

Another Barefoot Adventure in the Catskills