”And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul”
After two and a half months of total lockdown it’s time for some outdoors activites away from the city. One of the safest places to be outdoors is somewhere in the mountains. During Memorial weekend, we went on a three day vacation on the Catskill Mountain, in Upstate New York.
On our first day, we felt quite adventurous and decided to go on a hike with a local guide. Since the famous Kaaterskill Falls were still closed due to the world latest pandemic, we thought it was a good idea to ask a local for advice on the best way to discover the heart of the Catskill Mountain. A couple of days before our weekend gateway, I got in contact with hikeonguides.com, and few days after we were hiking the Windham Mountain, 6.2 miles (9.9km) trail. This place is well-known between New Yorkers, as its their escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Some say this area is quite astonishing during fall season, in which one can find a great foliage, while others visit during the winter when the ski resort is opened. I might say that spring has it’s beauty too, when you get delighted with the blooming flowers along the many trails. The whole region of Catskill Mountain counts with 51 amazing hiking trails of different levels, as well as biking trails and camping areas.
We’ve been recommended the Widham Mountain as an introduction to the Catskill Mountain, a moderate-intensity level trail. This mountain is without a doubt unique for the gorgeous tall trees, most of them imported from Norway. The landscape here is quite outstanding and the views from the top are absolutely worth the effort. We were initially doubting if it was the best day for hiking, since the forecast gave us a couple of afternoon showers. However, it didn’t stop us from making the most of our trip. So, we went on a hike anyway, and I must say it was quite rewarding to see a few orange lizards and a frog showing up after the rain. Our local guide prepared us for the upcoming showers with rain ponchos and offered us a couple of hiking sticks for a more enjoyable trail. By the time we got on top of the mountain, the sun came up and the views were priceless. So much greenery and beauty around were part of a magnificent forest therapy. After all this lockdown, we all need some outdoor activities and an energy boost to keep us going.
On our second day, we went kayaking on the Esopus Creek, in the North-East of Catskill. It was my first time kayaking and I had a great experience. It was a gorgeous sunny Sunday and the whole landscape was incredibly relaxing with the birds singing in the background. Afterwards, we stopped for lunch in the famous town of Woodstock. This place is the center for artists during the 70s, where famous bands like The Who and Jimmy Hendrix performed for the impressive mass of people. Once we visited the place, we surely had to watch the documentary of Woodstock: Three Days that Defined a Generation on Netflix. On the years after the Vietnam War, many young people showed their desire for peace and freedom. Although, the festival didn’t take place in Woodstock, due to the necesity of an enormous peace of land, this place gave birth to many artists and welcomed many hippies.
On our last day, we visited the charming town of Pheonicia, where we checked on the different shops that opened on a curbside pickup basis. This place is ideal for antique lovers and any kind of gifts and souvenirs. Before our trip back home, we explored the Saugerties town and had a picnic at the Falling Water Preserve.
Lastly, our accomodation deserves a special mention for being so incredibly authentic and truly american. The Colonial Inn was like a fairytale place in the middle of the woods. This is not only a welcoming accomodation for the visitors but also a historic place that dates back to 1790, when it was built by Aaron Adams, cousin to John Adams, the second U.S. President. Previous to becoming an american-friendly accomodation, it was a stagecoach stop, a toll booth, a post office, a meeting hall, and also used for church gatherings. This place has several taxidermy mounts and animals featured for decorating such as, a bear, a moose, and a deer among other antique objects. By choosing this accomodation, we were totally immersed in the american culture.
All in all, it was without a doubt a fantastic experience in the middle of the mountains with little to no connection to the internet and the outside world. It was a so much needed mountain therapy, boosting us with lots of energy, positivity and good vibes. I would certainly want to come back during the fall foliage and hopefully next time I will get the chance to visit the Kaaterskill Fall.
Until then, ”A nomad I will remain for life, in love with distant and uncharted places”.