Harriman State Park…

March 14, 2011

About 30 miles north of my home town, just up a bit on the New York Thurway, is Harriman State Park.  This has been the outdoor stomping ground for the better part of my young life, and to me, it strongly rivals the beauty of all the spectacular places I have seen so far around the world.  Kurt and I drove up one Sunday with my Dad to visit his favorite market, Auntie El’s, and we took in a quick view as we passed along on the windy and picturesque road of Seven Lakes Drive.  Almost immediately we hatched a plan to get some winter camping in.

So, late one Saturday afternoon, accompanied by my cousin Morgan, we headed up into the snow and icicles.  The Appalachian Trail runs right through the most precious parts of the park, so huts are in place for all the thru hikers.  One of these cozy and well-built 3 walled structures was to serve as our spot for the night.  Though we arrived late in the day, our timing was perfect, with the sun was going down the glorious way I remember it being in those woods.  And the best part of all… our great friend Hubert came meandering through the snow, having taken the longer half-a-day hike in, just as Kurt was working his way into what would later become the wood for our not one, but two raging fires.  The night was awesome and merry, roasting pork and duck and donning our best beer jackets.

I was happy to add this experience to my list of fond memories of the times I have spent in Harriman State Park.

 

Heading up to the shelter...

 

And the beauty that resides in the park. I rest my case...

 

These woods are a home to me, this kind of moss on these trees more familiar than most things...

 

 

Morgan, Kurt and Hubert make their way through the dead wood. This process alone brings some good heat to the body...

New York state of mind. Kids sleeping in on a Sunday morning...

We spent the evening wrestling like 9 year olds and sliding down these snowy hills, and the night cozy and settled in the warm hut. Everything was about as perfect as it could be...

 

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…we found our home for a few days.  With surrealist sculpture creeping through all sorts of corners of the jungle, we happened upon one particular concrete room that looked unfinished and rarely visited by the masses.  It was from here we set off one day to explore our surroundings and found ourselves on an excellent multiple hour hike climbing up through streams and scaling muddy mountainsides.

Naturally, the place we were camping was most likely “off limits to camping” according to someone, so we kept a low profile.  The humorous bout came one night when, after settling into our tent, we lay quietly talking and preparing to fall asleep.  All of a sudden we saw lights flashing around outside the structure.  “Busted” we thought and prepared to give ourselves up and have to pack up everything and move.  Kurt got up out of the tent and moved towards the opening of the building and as his eyes fell on the jungle in front of him, he saw that there was not one just one light flashing around, but 30 or more lights flashing in all sorts of haphazard, seemingly confused directions.

When his eyes caught focus he realized there was tons of people trekking in a weird and organized fashion on this trail in the middle of the night.  Some had headlamps, some had flashlights and some had no light at all.  The concrete structure we were hiding out in was a bit off the path so the horde of night hikers did not really venture over, but one curious guy did.  Hilarity ensued when the guy got relatively close and Kurt, who was just standing in the doorway looking at him with his eyes having been adjusted to the level of darkness, said “Buenos noches.”

At this point the guy, who was viewing the whole experience through the eye of a camcorder while still wearing a headlamp mind you, jumped back so surprised and frightened.  He said nothing like the whole interaction never happened and spun around quickly and walked the other way back towards the very odd, very strange huge group wandering down the dark trail in the surrealists jungle area in the middle of the night.  We found it hilarious that this guy thought that he had been busted or caught somewhere he shouldn’t be.  Too funny.  We can only imagine what a bunch of folks were doing wandering around in the jungle in the middle of the night, seeking out surrealists sculptures and waterfalls and unable to communicate properly with another human being when spoken to.  I’m sure Ken Kesey would have loved this group.

Concrete camping...

Early morning light filtration...

What it was going to be we may never know...

Jungle coffee time...

One of the many, many waterfalls found nestled in the hillside...

The trail, just barely there...

It wasn't long before we chose this path instead...

Eight legs and kickin' it in the jungle...

I love these things. Air plants (hi Sharon!)...

This day of hiking was fun beyond words' descriptions...

Getting excited to head farther south and more into climates such as these...

The view of Xilitla in the mountainside, after our muddy scramble and popped out into a clearing...

Gila Hot Springs…

July 9, 2010

After seeing it as a mere 28 mile round trip detour, we decidedly could not miss the Gila Hot Springs.  We arrived late one night after taking our time to meander up and over the mountain that separated us from them.  The next morning was, yup…my bday!  We decided to stay the whole day, soaking up the springs, eating pancakes, playing shipwreck victims and building forts and camping in an absolutely-hey!-hi!-way-to-bring-in-yer-27th-year fantasticness.

Hot springs...

Daisy...

Lanterns...

And there we were...

Kurt soaking it up...

Birthday breakfast...pancakes!

Quite a spot to ring in your 27th year I think...

Carmelizing some onions on the fire...