Rainy Thursday in the Catskills

We set out about 2 p.m. for an ambitious circular swing through Hunter, Kaaterskill Falls, Saugerties and a couple of destinations near to it. It had been raining on and off all day, but lightly, and we hoped to take a few hikes of a mile or so each. 

Duncan drove, as he did yesterday, and I am resigned to my new role in the back seat. (What's not to like? The scenery is certainly more enjoyable when one does not have to keep one's eye on the narrow, curving roads, and at night, I pulled out my iPod Touch and, with a shuffle of Rickie Lee Jones songs playing in the background, I read a Jack Reacher novel on Kindle for iPhone. The more I play with this little device and the apps written for it, the more amazed I am by it.)

Hunter was underwhelming. 

As we pulled into the parking lot for Kaaterskill Falls, the rain seem to pick up. We pensively watched an Asian couple don ponchos and head out, admiring their preparation. But they only got as far as the edge of the parking lot before turning around, which sealed the deal for us. We'll do the Falls another day, perhaps with hikes to a few other nearby attractions, such as the former site of the Catskill Mountain House.

I told the family that the next stop was Opus 40, where I would be departing for my home planet.  The news was received well. Too well. 

It turns out, actually, that Carrick's friend Annie has been telling her about Opus 40 for years, but they've never managed to make the trip (and Annie is now incommunicado somewhere learning indigenous dance in Java). It also turns out that it's only open on weekends, Memorial to Columbus Day, but the caretaker read our bedraggled faces and took mercy (and the admission fee of $10 for adults, and $7 for students). 

Dogs are not allowed on the grounds, so we attempted to leave Sadie behind, with windows cracked open. We've never heard such moaning, groaning, yapping, yipping, keening and kvetching out of a dog in all of our combined days. She'd been fine when Deirdre and I left alone her in the car before the kids came up Monday, but seeing all four of us abandon her -- particularly after the bonding hike up the mountain the other day -- must have been too much to handle. When we got to the top of Belleayre Mountain, in fact, I'd observed that it was probably the first time ever that all five of us had walked together. Sadie seemed to revel in every moment. So Carrick and Deirdre took turns sitting in the car with Sadie while Duncan and I explored Opus 40.

I am drawn to stonework in ways I'm hard put to explain. One of the highlights of our vacation to California last year was a visit to the home, Tor House, and Hawk Tower, that Robinson 

Tor House 

Hawk Tower, May 2008

Jeffers handcrafted with stones on the Carmel, Calif., coast.  And one of the most compelling books I've read recently is In the Company of Stone: The Art and Work of Dan Snow. Snow has constructed stunning stone works in Vermont, which vies with the Catskills and the Hudson for my heart. (But the older I get, the more I think about someplace where I could be outdoors doing things all year, and I'm not one for skiing, skating or luge. Are we destined to be snowbirds upon retirement in 2029, Faire Deirdre?)

After Opus 40, we headed to said Hudson, and were happy to find that leashed animals are permitted on the Saugerties Lighthouse Trail. The rain had stopped, but high tide prevented us from making the entire circuit. We then strolled around downtown Saugerties for a while, and found it a lot more interesting than we found Woodstock yesterday.

After that, we dropped Sadie back home and had our second delicious meal in a week at the Public Lounge in Roxbury. If you're anywhere near the area after 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays, make it a point to stop here for a meal or dessert.

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