plateaus above Hurley Mountain Road
Monday, November 3 2003
This morning the weather was superb - in the uppers 60s Fahrenheit and sunny. I took Sally and Eleanor on a very long walk down from the Canary Hill trail system (600-700 feet elevation) to explore the two plateaus just above Hurley Mountain Road between Dug Hill Road and Canary Hill Road (300 foot elevation). These two plateaus are broken by a valley containing a single house, but the plateaus themselves are forested and mostly owned by Catskill State Park. When standing on the ledge of the plateau nearest Hurley Mountain Road, one is 125 feet vertically above the roadway (175 foot elevation) and the cars below look the way they would when passing on the street below a 12 story window. From this proximity and at this angle, the cornfields of the Esopus Valley looked vast. The unusually heavy haziness of the humid autumn air added to this impression, causing atmospheric perspective effects at abnormally close range.
On the plateau closest to the bottom of Dug Hill Road I found the remains of a house that had once stood there. It must have been a large house made of wood, since the only part of it remaining was the rectangular excavation of its basement, walled up with bluestone. There also appeared to be the foundation of a large chimney on one side. The house must have rotted away at least a hundred years ago, because there were several medium-sized trees growing from the center of the basement hole. I searched around for some artifact from the people who had once called this hole their home, and I managed to find a piece of beaten steel with a screw hole. It looked like it might have once been part of a hinge.
In the afternoon Gretchen and I drove around doing various errands - picking up cake baking supplies at Adams and researching tile options for the kitchen floor at Lowes and one other place. Gretchen, you see, has grown weary of the green and white checkerboard linoleum. We'd decided to keep it a year ago back when we were making our frenzied moving-in modifications, but in the calm of the present it seems this linoleum is the most obvious relic of the tastelessness of our house's recent past.
We keep discovering the right wing affiliations of local entrepreneurs. Today's discovery came when we saw a large "Conservative Republican" sign on Adams' front lawn urging us to vote for a grab bag of assorted creationists, right to lifers, and CoolAid drinkers. Gretchen had already heard bad things about Adams' labor and business practices, and this was just one more thing. It meant we'd be getting a little discount on today's purchases, that was for sure. While we were inside taking care of business, Eleanor managed to wriggle out of the window of the car and commence wandering around the parking lot. (In a way supermarket parking lots are her natural habitat; earlier in her life, when she was captured by the animal control officer in Duchess County, she'd reportedly been wandering around the parking lot of an A&P.) One of the Adams employees caught her and put her on a leash to keep her out of traffic. He realized Eleanor belonged to us when she went crazy upon seeing us coming out of the store.
For linking purposes this article's URL is:feedback
previous | next