Magical Mystery Spot

Halloween is fast approaching and all the little ghouls and goblins will be out and about, demanding a sugar fix...all of them except this little imp, frozen in time in a dimension not only of sight and sound, but of mind. Journey with her into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination.

There's a signpost up ahead!

Your next stop - Homer & Langley's Mystery Spot!

What wonders await? Follow me inside, won't you, after the jump!

We'll leave the light on!

My last post led to the Burroughs Memorial in Rochester Hollow. For those who would like to spend the night in the area, I highly recommend this five-star accommodation found farther up the trail. No reservations are needed and there's always a vacancy, or at least a little corner to oneself.

This lean-to is the ultimate in camping comfort, hence the high rating (suck it, Plaza!) It's solidly built and the three walls are well-insulated.

There's a stone fire pit at the entrance...

and plenty of firewood.

A frying pan and spatula are included in your visit...

as well as a broom for cleaning up (or to serve as a pretend dance partner).

There are hooks for hanging your soggy clothes and shelves for storing your gear. On one shelf I found an EEKtm (Emergency Environment Kit) stuffed into a Tropicana bottle.

Let's open it, shall we? An array of its contents reveal...

-emery boards and nail clippers, because no one likes a messy manicure on the trail.
-needle and thread for when you have to sew up a gaping wound (C'mon, that's what  they always do in the movies!)
-a toothbrush (I'll take my chances with a twig, thank you very much)
-a Vicks inhaler (the ragweed count is pretty high right now)
-Chapstick (I'll pass on this, too)
-a dime (a coin toss is the only fair way to determine who gets the primo sleeping  location)
-a panoply of lighters
-a pencil for crossword puzzles & a pen if you're really good at them.
-plastic baggies
-dress socks, for that rare, but impromptu job interview in the forest.

I stuffed a surprise in the bottle...but I'm not sayin'! You'll have to find it yourself.

And lastly, but in NO WAY least (amirite, ladies?) is an outhouse!

And what an outhouse it is! It's HUGE! And CLEAN! And handicap-equipped! (I wish my dog would stop being such a camera hog. Jeez!)

In fact, disabled persons are permitted to use an ATV throughout all of these trails. How wonderful is that?! Seriously, this is the best lean-to I've ever come across in the Catskills. I wouldn't be surprised to find a mint on my bedroll in the morning.

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!