The Trail Ride that Nearly Wasn’t

Having decided it was time for a break from serious training and that the recent phenomenal fall weather is not likely to last much longer, Lynndee and Kelly decided they were due for an away trail ride. A previous effort to find the trail leading to the site of the old Catskill Mountain House (a popular hotel destination in the late 1800s) had failed miserably when Lynndee and Kelly got lost in the woods and were forced to resort to GPS to find their way back (despite the fact that Scooter and Pai attempted multiple times to inform them that they were on a trail to nowhere).

It was determined today that a second effort to find the trail to the Catskill Mountain House would be made – this decision based on the fact that Kelly stated her success in finding her old book on the Catskill Mountain trail system and now knew where to go. Hence, Scooter and Pai were loaded up and the foursome headed out. As the group made its way to the tail head, Scooter and Pai watched the scenery pass by from the windows of the trailer. The conversation in the trailer went something like this:

Scooter: I think I’ve seen that tree before. And that house looks awfully familiar. Haven’t we passed that before?

Pai: I think we are driving in circles.

Scooter: I guess we’re not having to get out and go walking about this time. Looks like they just took us along for a drive in the countryside.

Meanwhile, the conversation in the truck went something like this:

Lynndee: This doesn’t look right. Are you sure this is the right way?

Kelly: Hmm, I’m not sure. The GPS is saying to make a U-turn. Can you make a U-turn?

Lynndee: On this road? Seriously?

With a bit of help from GPS and Google maps, the humans managed to find the road to the trail head while Scooter and Pai continued to admire the passing scenery. The conversation in the truck soon turned to another issue.

Lynndee: So, is there room to park a truck and trailer at this trail head?

Kelly: I don’t know. I’ve never been here before.

Lynndee: I thought you said you’ve done this trail?

Kelly: Well, I started from the other end and never found my way down to this part. So, I have no idea.

As it turned out, there was neither parking for a truck and trailer nor space to turn around on the dead-end road that led to the trail head. But there were very friendly people living along the road who offered use of their driveway and property for turn around. Alas, the trail ride group made it to the start of the trail, which was a steep climb up a mountain, again justifying Scooter’s belief that every trail goes uphill — both ways. It was, however, an amazing step back into time as the foursome walked on the very path that was used by the stagecoach that in the 1800s took guests up to the famous hotel.

The trail group continued to climb, winding their way around the side of the mountain. They crossed over narrow wooden bridges (with no side rails), passed by the ruins of buildings long gone (and took their pictures by them too!), stared up at huge caves on the mountainside and imagined that wild animals were staring down at them (‘Hopefully nothing that eats horses,’ said Scooter), and made frequent stops to look in amazement at the views of the valley below as they climbed ever higher. What they did not see, however, were the ruins of the historic Catskill Mountain House. As each bend in the trail revealed only more of an uphill path, Scooter and Pai began to wonder.

Scooter: Where are these stupid ruins we’re supposed to be seeing?

Pai: I bet the humans are lost again. They better have that GPS thing with them.

Scooter: We don’t need GPS. The way home is simply make a U-turn and head downhill. We could just dump them off the side of this cliff and make a run back down the hill.

Pai: But who’ll drive our trailer home?

Meanwhile, the humans also began to wonder if the never-ending uphill trail would really get them to the ruins of the mountain house.

Kelly: We’re almost to the top of the mountain so the house must be just up around one of these bends.

Lynndee: Well, we’re at this lookout picnic area so how far is it from here to the top of the mountain?

Kelly: I don’t know.

Lynndee: I thought you told me you had found trail maps for this place, so look on the map.

Kelly: I left them behind.

Lynndee: (A moment of silence) Hmm, that’s a good place for them.

With daylight fading, and the horses as well, it was decided that it was time to make that U-turn Scooter had talked about and head downhill. The humans vowed that before a third attempt was made to ride to the ruins, they would consult every map they could find. As they made their way back down the mountain, still in awe of the beauty from the fall colors around them, a thought occurred to Kelly.

Kelly: So, this is going to be a blog, isn’t it? And I’ll be burned?

Lynndee: Probably. But you did get us here and it was an awesome ride.

That final comment was shared by Scooter and Pai who, while they won’t admit it to the humans, have discovered that adventures like today really do make life worth living.