Monday, February 21, 2011

Trip Report: 2/20/11

Those of us in the New York-New Jersey area are aware that we had a few days of late March weather just last week. Those of us in the New York-New Jersey area also know that we are covered with snow again and rather upset about it. Knowing this weather would come to an end soon, two friends and I went hiking to take advantage of the nice weather.

I laid out a pretty easy route about three and half miles long. My friend EB has limited experience and my other friend JS had no real experience so I figured that was more than enough. We got to the trail head at around 12:30, much later than I would have liked but we made it back to the truck before dark so it was not a problem.

We started with a bit of a climb to a rock outcropping that looked over some of the forest. Due to the fact that the trail up also acts as a small stream it was a little icy but luckily there were no mishaps. At one point we lost the trail, admittedly it was my fault, so we climbed the steep rocky side of the outcropping until we met the trail again at the top. It wasn’t the safest thing to do, but I thought it was fun….

The rock outcropping we climbed known as Almost Perpendicular

Once we got to the top we took a quick break and got moving again along the ridge. When EB claimed the ice on the trail was “treacherous” JS and I began mocking the statement and saying it would only be “treacherous” if there were pirates on dinosaur back. Just then JS slipped and took a spill on the ice. We swallowed our words after that.

The view from Almost Perpendicular
EB taking a break at the top
JS checking out the view
The three of us continued on chatting sometimes and in silence at other times enjoying the hike. We stopped at a good mid-point for lunch that even had a bit of history to it. The story goes like this: The year is 1774. The British and American forces in the region are fighting one another for control of the colonies. A man by the name of Claudius Smith sees an opportunity to exploit this situation and make good money. Claudius and his three sons began stealing horses and cattle from the people of the area and selling them to the British Army. Since Claudius and his sons become enemies to the locals they hid out at rock formation known today as Claudius Smith’s Den. There they would have a lookout on the top that could see the area for miles around while the over-hang below housed their horses. When fighting in the region ended the gang made their violent living by raiding homes and farms, often killing the inhabitants. In 1779 Claudius Smith was captured and hanged.

After lunch EB and I consulted the map and I gave them a choice: The longer way or the harder way. JS didn’t much care; he is in good shape and was enjoying himself so either was fine with him. We left the decision up to EB who decided to take the shorter route because none of us wanted to get caught out in the dark. Better safe than sorry.

We continued on while talking to each other and enjoying the peace. Having done the trail before I knew the remainder of the hike was rather uneventful. We set a comfortable pace and headed onto the last leg on the hike. Near the end we came across some turkey vultures sitting in the branches of a tree. While distracted I almost stepped in a large pile of deer feces and fur and quickly jumped off to the side. I was surprised at the size of turkey vultures when they are close. They really are pretty big birds. As we were taking pictures the flock began to take off and slowly fly away. EB and I tried pretty hard to get some good pictures of them. She was the only successful one. When we gave up on trying to get pictures I quickly realized while the pile of deer waste and fur was there and why a flock of turkey vultures were there. Ten feet off the trail was a deer carcass that had been torn open. JS and I approached it and began snapping close in pictures, EB stayed on the trail. Who can blame her? It was interesting to see nature taking its course and I was fascinated.

The pictures below are graphic. If blood or gore disturbs you do not scroll down further.

Turkey vultures in a tree

Discovering the carcass
Fascinated like two 6 year-olds

"Ohhh no more Bambi!"
Soon after we got back to the truck, put our packs in the back, and headed home. All in all, it was a nice leisurely hike with some of my favorite people.

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed reading this,thanks.