The Catskills

The four hour drive is always hell, but if we're going for 3 or more days, it's worth it. Interstate 287 to 87, then off the highways heading west... each section has its special ants in the pants factor. The highways: "Hon, you can slow down. You're a little close to that car! Should we stop at this rest stop? If this is the one with the escalator, that could be fun." The local ways: "Beren, we're getting closer, just another half hour," one of us will say as we pull another novel item or snack from a canvas bag.

Hay scented fern. I never knew it turned such beautiful colors.

We usually visit in the spring and summer, but my in-laws wanted help on a building project. Last weekend was the first time we could string more than a couple free days together. September was busy.

The meadow down to the spring-fed pond. 

We all went into the pond each day to clean up. Jared went under, delighting Beren, who happily splashed us with "refreshing" water, his words. I went in up to my shoulders, making my chest spasm. Jared likes to say, "It's good for you, good for the heart." The highs were in the upper sixties.

When we exit the water, fine silt we stir up sticks to body hair. Beren looks as hairy as a full grown man. I shaved my legs, so I looked a bit sooty. The generously furred husband appears like a wooly mammoth. We laugh every time.

Sedges around the pond

 In just a couple days this golden ring of ferns faded to brown.

All the asters were going to seed.

We discovered gentians on the far side of the pond a few years ago. Their numbers have increased.

A couple gentians retained their stunning color, but most were bronze or browns.

The dwellings. No phone, no cell phone service, no television, no running water.

In the hornbeam thicket.

We returned with sacks of feral apples. Each tree's fruit had a different flavor. We've been making sauce and apple chips all week. Today, the yellow jackets found us, and flew into the kitchen. A spider web caught one, and a spider had lunch.