Thursday, May 24, 2012

taking a hike

A few weekends ago we went on a sixteen hour day adventure with our pals Samantha, Patrick & Nadia. Our adventure began bright and early with a difficult middle seatbelt that, even with the generous help of a tool toting coffee shop employee would not budge. We double bum buckled and were quickly off into nature equipped with coffee, snacks and a Catskills trail guide. After a winding trip (and the necessary salt and carbonated drink combo to calm a motion sick belly) we arrived at our first destination, the Kaaterskills Falls. A pleasant trek through the forest led us to one of America's oldest tourist destinations, a double cascade waterfall. The trail technically ends at the bottom of the falls due to the tenuous footing at the top lookout and being the Safety Susie that I am I stayed behind and had a private moment with nature (not really, was watching with horror young and old stumble their way up the rocky path in all variety of improper footwear) while the rest of my party ventured north to see a pretty falls view. The looks of sheer horror on both Landon's and Samantha's faces told me I'd made the right decision to stay behind.

After our first hike we went in search of a hearty meal to carry us through our second hike of the day (and hearty meals we did find). Three of us greedily ordered extravagant grilled cheese sandwiches (which I later deeply regretted) with superfluous side dish servings. This day was perfect and I'm not one to regret food but man alive, did I ever regret this lunch. We scanned through the trail guide and picked out an ambitious hike praising a glorious view which we hoped to enjoy the early stages of sunset with. This. Was. So. Intense. There was many a point where I stopped convinced I was about to either poop my pants or throw-up or combo party the two. My crew, my zealous hiking companions, went forward with eagerness while I slumped behind, bloody (accidental off path hiking/monkey climbing vertical with only branches and rocks securing us to the wall of the mountain), unbuttoned (shorts were too tight after lunch) and breathless. I thought "this must be my wake-up call, this is the moment that I'll share when I'm an aerobics hero" (has not happened). About 45 minutes in we noted that the sun was slowly ducking down behind the neighbouring mountain and if we didn't hurry up we'd be hiking down in the dark (worst nightmare, those drops were drops, big, big drops). So my fearless companions sped up and left Landon and I sluggishly (me sluggishly) making our way up through paradise. (There was a plateau that would be home to every mythical, fairy-like creature ever dreamed up.) And here is where the story turns tragic. Our friends made it to the top and we heard them clear as day praising the glorious view and cruel me could not go on and kind Landon would not leave me so we stopped, five minutes to the top. FIVE MINUTES. The second climax of the day missed by me because I am a baby. Mostly though because my stomach let out an audible bear like growl that I am convinced was a "you're going to poo your pants if you continue" warning. Our descent was speedy and chipper and we were rewarded at the bottom of the trail with a man laughing hysterically for a prolonged period of time while his wife affectionately looked on and informed us that he'd caught "a case of the giggles". I began to wonder if this was some sort of affliction and if so could I have this affliction?

Our next stop was Snyder's Tavern, a Catskills staple and one of the first bars to obtain a license in the area after the prohibition (I think). We were somewhat unsettled by the spot (do not have any photos as it was dark by this point but I did find this youtube video!) Our unease was put to rest once we entered and enjoyed a round of beers in the red light surrounded by stuffed wildlife . Our final stop of the day was a Chinese restaurant in Queens praised by Sam and Pat as the best they'd had in the city. It was close to midnight by this point and when we arrived we had the spot entirely to ourselves. There we feasted on duck (a first for me) and crab (another first) before retiring for the night and slipping into our beds for a well earned sleep.

Instagrams after the cut!

Explorer Sam!

A most pathetic picture, this was at the 1500ft mark at which point I was ready to start burrowing a hole to sleep in for the night. 

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