I haven’t been very good at finishing the stories I’ve started on here thus far…the only reason the Arizona story was complete so quickly is because I’d already written it as an email series to my family upon my return (oops). But it’s a new year, and this blog has been real for a year now, so I’m going to do my best to continue what I’ve begun!
That bring us back to the Saugerties Lighthouse post. I had the wonderful fortune to return to the lighthouse in the fall, but I’ll write that story another day – and what a story it became, after the fact. For now, here’s the rest on that first serene weekend on the Hudson.
We creaked open the hatch in the lighthouse tower and squeezed ourselves up into the dome, with a 360* view of the Hudson and the surrounding areas. Creeping out of the dome onto the balcony, the Catskills were a deep blue in the background and the sun threw warm pinks and oranges over the top.
We stepped back into the dome and I took one of my favorite travel photos – not my ultimate favorite, but I really liked the reflection the sun threw on the dome, thus making a ghost image of the mountaints:
Wine in hand and bellies full, we stood in the tower talking until the sun had long set. One bottle down, we climbed back down the ladder – very carefully this time – and closed the hatch behind us. The other room was as-yet unoccupied, and Anna and Patrick had gone to sleep. We took our candy and the other bottle of wine and went to relax on the deck we’d played music on before. The weather was still warm and we stepped down the stairs, tiptoeing through the dark, edging toward the water.
“OUCH!” I yelled, probably far too loudly for the late hour.
“What did you do?”
“I stepped on something sharp. Ow ow ow!” I hobbled back toward the stairs on my other foot, grabbing at whatever I’d stepped on. It felt sort of star-shaped and all the arms were sharp. I pulled it out and tossed it back toward the water from which it had come.
The couple staying in the other room arrived as we ate our candy on the deck. They said this was their annual getaway from the kids and they’d been there before. We said we were hiking buddies who heard about the lighthouse from a travel article.
“Oh, I’ve always wanted to go camping, but then I met her, ” the man gestured toward his wife. “Have you heard of this program where you can pack your bags, and then at the trailhead someone else comes to get them for you, and goes up and sets up camp, and all you have to do is walk up the mountain? You guys might like that.”
Mike and I looked at each other, trying not to laugh. We were wearing our headlamps in the dark and would have looked even more ridiculous than we probably did. “No, we aren’t familiar with such a thing. We usually carry everything up ourselves.”
“Oh….well, you might be too advanced then. Well, we had a long drive, so see you in the morning. Patrick makes a great breakfast!”
We giggled once they left, and shortly thereafter, made our way upstairs too.
The following morning we were treated to pancakes, eggs, tea, and – for Mike and the others – bacon. Our housemates were correct: Patrick makes a great breakfast. The breakfast conversation was a bit comical as the other guests tried to find common topics to discuss.
“I really love these placemats. Where did you get them?” the wife asked Anna. I can’t even remember what Anna’s response was but I do remember Mike telling me later he hoped his life never revolves around placemats.
The couple left to pack their bags while we continued to eat. Patrick came back out and we picked his brain on local day hikes we could do before we headed home. “Where do you recommend we go?”
“I’ll print you out a list of local hikes. I recommend Huckleberry Point if you want something that’s more hiking. Overlook Mountain has neat ruins in it but it’s a gravel path the entire way up. Kaaterskill Falls is the highest two-tiered waterfall in New York and it’s an easy hike.” His voice was soft but his eyes danced as he described each hike to us. It was clear he’d walked them all.
“I have a question…what are those star-shaped spiky things out there on the sand? I think they’re plants. Mike thinks they’re sea creatures. Who’s right?” I asked, remembering the pain in my heel.
“You’re both half-right.” Patrick half-grinned as he pulled a nature book off the window ledge. “It’s a water plant.” He left us to read the description of what I’d stepped on in the dark, and Mike and I thought about what a cool job it would be to really know the land surrounding the lighthouse and not have to work in an office all day.
As we prepared to leave, we looked at the reservation book for the following year and were able to book a weekend in October to see the foliage – October 2016, that is. The current year was already booked. I bought a magnet and postcard to remember the trip, and then we were ready to go. Off we went down the path again, and into the car to go to Kaaterskill Falls.
The hike was short and easy, as Patrick had described, and it reminded me of the hike to Horseshoe Bend in Arizona. The bartender I’d met at Phantom Ranch had told me that was one of the least-challenging hikes with the best payoffs he ever did, and Kaaterskill was very similar.
Less than a mile and barely any elevation changes, and we were treated to this sight.
We hiked back out and headed over to the trailhead for Huckleberry Point. The first part of the trail was a steep vertical climb on what looked to be a riverbed and there was still some snow and ice on which we had to watch our footing. Then the trail split off and veered to the right, where we crossed a stream and then stayed nearly level until we reached the ledges. We could see the entire valley below, the river upon which we’d stayed in the hazy distance. The photo does absolutely no justice to the vastness we saw below – partially because the trees had yet to bloom, so everything was very open.
The hike took a couple of hours, and although it wasn’t strenuous, we were tired when we returned to the car. It was time to go home, and time for this adventure to come to an end. I knew I’d be back to enjoy the stillness of the lighthouse and the rugged beauty of the nearby mountains.