The Gunks and Walden Too

Catskills Week 8 007_crop

From our campground in upstate New York, we took a Garmin-selected back roads trip through the Catskills (passing through Rome and Cairo), and arrived at the home of our friends, Dave and Donna Cason, in Stone Ridge, NY.  Parking the Airstream in the Casons’ driveway, we then traveled to Walpole outside of Boston for a weekend visit with Patty’s sister Denise and Mike.  The highlight of the weekend was dinner at Legal Seafood next to Boston harbor followed by a “Rock and Blues Cruise” with live music from a local band, URO, that played mostly British rock from the 70’s.  The music was great and it was also a great venue for people-watching—the  average age was probably around 55.  Patty talked to one couple in their 70’s who had seen URO perform 13 times—the oldest groupies we have ever met.  The weather was perfect and the views of the Boston waterfront at night were beautiful.  Here are a few photos:

Boston Week 7_8 002_cropDenise and Mike at Legal Seafood

Boston Week 7_8 023URO performing on the cruise (We Won’t get Fooled Again)

Boston Week 7_8 020_cropThe Boston waterfront as the sun is setting

On our way back to the Casons, we stopped at Walden Pond in Concord, where Ed’s hero, Henry David Thoreau, lived alone in a cabin for over two years beginning in 1845 and later wrote about his experiences in Walden.  Our initial impression was not very good as we had to park in Parking Lot F because A, B, C, D, and E appeared full (this was on a Monday), and it cost $8 for parking.  In Walden Thoreau summarized the costs for the materials he used to build his cabin and the total was about $28.  At $8 per car, they could have paid for Thoreau’s cabin after four visitors with $4 left over.

Staying optimistic, we proceeded with all the other visitors to the pond and were generally happy to find a pretty pond surrounded by woods and hiking trails.  It’s certainly no longer a place you would go to for solitude in the wilderness, but it is still a nice place to swim, kayak, or hike on a warm summer’s day.  Here are some photos:

Walden Week 8 008_cropWalden Pond, probably just as it would have looked to Thoreau

Walden Week 8 001_cropWalden Pond—at least people are enjoying the pond but Thoreau would have quickly moved out

Walden Week 8 004_cropPatty hiking around the pond.  Note the fence on each side to keep everyone on the path—Thoreau would not approve but probably necessary with all the visitors.

Walden Week 8 011_cropA replica of Thoreau’s cabin—it’s about half the size of our Airstream

Walden Week 8 007_cropThoreau’s most famous quote from Walden, on a sign near the site of his cabin in the woods

Returning to the Casons’ home in Stone Ridge, we discovered several of the many outdoor activities available in this part of New York.  One of the prominent features of the area is the Shawangunk Ridge, commonly known as the Gunks, one of the best locations for rock climbing east of the Rockies.  But the Gunks are only one of the many natural features we enjoyed during our visit.  Here are a few photos:

Week 8 Shawangunk 002_cropLake Minnewaska on top of the Gunks—a great area for mountain biking

Catskills Week 8 005_CropThe Gunks as seen from the Wallkill Valley Rail-Trail

Stone Ridge Week 8 004Dave and Donna on the Walkway over the Hudson in Poughkeepsie, the longest pedestrian bridge in the world

Catskills Week 8 012The Ashokan Reservoir and the Catskill Mountains—the reservoir supplies drinking water to New York City

Catskills Week 8 013_cropEd and Patty next to the reservoir

Catskills Week 8 020_cropDave and Patty along the reservoir trail

All in all, week 8 of our trip was another great time with family and friends.  Next week–Patty returns home and on to the Jersey Shore.

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