Mother Nature's Son

On a rainy hike through Rochester Hollow this past weekend, my dog led us to a trailside oddity.

This large, weathered memorial commemorates the life of Catskills naturalist and essayist John Burroughs, one of America's little-known fathers of conservation.

I just love the idea behind this memorial! The land surrounding it had been an abandoned farm site that eventually became the property of New York State. Shortly after Burroughs' death in 1921, the boys of the Raymond Riordon School (way to go, boys!) reforested the land with white pine and Norwegian spruce. This lovely monument, flanked by circular stone walls, was placed amidst the newly planted trees. A perfect spot for a picnic, is it not?

The monument itself, although a tad crumbly, is still quite beautiful with its art nouveau embellishments and simple, forest-green lettering against a snowy field.

I found a fragment in the fallen leaves.

I believe it belongs here:

I wish the DEC would complete the rest of the puzzle and put it all back together again. There is another memorial to John Burroughs that I've visited before - a plaque on an upper ledge of Slide Mountain. Someday, I'd like to visit his childhood home in Roxbury, affectionately called Woodchuck Lodge and his Adirondack style home in West Park, curiously dubbed Slabsides. (I was wondering what that odd word on the monument referred to!) But until then, I'll leave you with a Burroughs quote:

"Each of you has the whole wealth of the universe at your very door."

So what are you waiting for? Open the door and take a hike!


  1. Why doesn't everyone on earth read your blog??

    and why is my captcha "hawingin"? Hawinging by a thread of concrete, I imagine?

  2. cherish real and virtual hikes with you guys. Thanks, as always, for sharing. -c

  3. Just found this blog. It's wonderful. Slabsides likely refers to slab wood. This is a type of planking where one of the length-wise thin edges of the board is left unfinished with the rough contour formed by the natural edge of the log.

    1. Thank you so much for visiting my blog, Bhubbell! And an extra thanks for your illuminating description of slabsides. So that's what it means!

  4. It is the Burroughs Monument erected by the Raymond Riordon School students in 1921. Rochester Hollow hike off Rte 28.