The Boschee Farm Blog — The Continuing Sagas of the Trail Blazers

The intrepid trail foursome of Lynndee and Scooter, Kelly and Pai, made another venture into the Catskill Mountain forest in their effort to traverse the historic trails that vacationing presidents and dignitaries walked in the late 1800s. This trip proved much more successful in that Kelly had not only consulted her trail books beforehand, but even made a scouting trip to ensure adequate parking – and turn-around space – for truck and trailer. Hence, the trail ride party arrived at a trail head with not only ample parking, but also wooden mounting ramps (provided by state employees with likely no horse experience and who assumed one needs a handicap-style ramp to mount a horse) and even with latrines (for humans, not horses).

The drive to the trailhead was on a smooth but steep and windy, road but with beautiful scenery enjoyed by Scooter and Pai from their trailer windows.

Scooter: Wow, look at that ravine. That’s a long way down.

Pai: The humans better not miss a turn on this windy road or we’re all dead.

Scooter: It sure is much easier to ride up the mountain in the trailer than to walk up the mountain.

The foursome reached the trailhead, unloaded themselves and gear and, with Kelly’s guidance, soon found themselves on the trail and following the footpaths blazed by the visitors to the famous Catskill Mountain House nearly 200 years before (the famous resort opened its doors in 1824). And when we say “footpaths” we mean FOOTPATHS. The group’s infamous trail guide Kelly led them onto a foot-only trail (meaning not one designed wide enough or safe enough to accommodate horses) with the assurance that in just a little way, the footpath would reconnect them to the horse trail system.
But alas, the supposed horse trail never appeared. Hmm, did the group make a wrong turn? Did God pick up the trail and move it (to ensure the group would once again have an adventurous, as opposed to un-adventurous, trail ride)?

No worries, said trail guide Kelly. The group could stay on the footpath and it would take them back down the mountain to the parked truck and trailer. So onward they went. They passed the remains of an old airplane that had crashed into the mountain decades ago. They passed near the edges of cliffs with the most astounding views of the valley and the Hudson River below (although Scooter often expressed concern over the nearness of the footpath to the edge of cliffs, “it’s a long way down,” Scooter mumbled). Pai knew it was technically illegal for the humans to have dragged he and Scooter onto the human pathway. Hence, he decided to make sure that should some forest ranger later accuse the humans of violating the trail rules that the ranger would have the proof — horse poo easily found dead center on the footpath.

All was going well, until the moment Kelly informed the group that they could no longer follow the footpath back to the truck and trailer at the trail head. “The footpath becomes impassable by horse,” she said. So impassable that it would not even be possible to lead them down it by hand. There was only one option, get off and lead the horses down the mountain bushwhacking through the forest. And so, the group did, for a time, until it became questionable whether or not the group could find their way down the mountain and out of the forest before dark.

A thought occurred to Lynndee and she said to Kelly, “You do have that GPS thing with you, right?”
Silence for a moment and then Kelly said, “The correct answer is ‘yes,’ right?”

Hmm, thought Lynndee (and Scooter too as he listened to this conversation with some worry — “We must get home for dinner,” thought Scooter). “I’m going to assume then that the real answer is ‘no’.”

With the sun showing signs of quickly dipping below the mountain it was then decided the best option was to bushwhack back up the mountain in search of the point at which the group had left the footpath and then follow that back from whence they had come. Kelly expressed confidence that she could find the way back to the footpath and off they went. With Kelly in the lead, the trail riding group found the footpath, the humans remounted and off they went. As they made their way back down the footpath, Pai, still hopeful a ranger would ticket the humans, left more evidence of their trespassing on the human-only path. Looking back at Scooter during one of his poo stops he said, “There, I hope the ranger finds it and the humans get a HUGE fine.”

From the footpath, the group easily found their way back to the horse trail and back to the narrow wooden bridges that, once crossed, would get them back on the road to the trail head parking lot. Pai hesitated at the second bridge. A coating of snow had come to the mountain area the night before and not being an idiot, Pai knew that snow on wood was not a good thing, but alas, Scooter was anxious. His ride home to dinner was on the other side of the bridge and so he gave Pai a shove from behind. Pai went, he slipped — just a bit — and everyone was grateful that these wooden bridges had really high sides.

Once again, the trail riders made it safely home from their latest adventure. Lynndee silently vowed that she would look more closely at trail maps herself before the next trip. Scooter wondered how he could get the human to pack a snack bag for him for these trips (he had noticed SHE was snacking along the way to why not him?). Pai was wondering if he could get hold of Scooter’s computer and send an anonymous email to the forest rangers about horse riders trespassing on human footpaths (complete with their names and information on how to find them.) Kelly wondered if the other three were mad at her for leading them astray off the trail. But the other three had all agreed that trail riding trips were no fun without Kelly. She always found them great places to ride and she always got them home!