Posted by: oceannah | July 25, 2012

Hiking the Catskills

It takes a concentrated effort some days to stop working and go have some fun, but you know what they say about “All work and no play” right?  So we’ve been enjoying some hiking in the cooler upland forests of the Catskill Mountains this summer.  Here are some of the sights on the trail.  The above plant is Moosewood or Striped Maple (Acer pensylvanicum).  A lovely shrubby little tree with crepe like blooms.

Growing in the creek we found a bunch of water cress.  Deliciously snappy and fresh.

This lovely dappled path was an old carriage road at one time.  A path Frost himself would approve of!

This is Indian Pipe (Monotropa uniflora).  This plant is a parasite that makes no chlorophyll of it’s own (that’s why it’s white).  It has a mycorrhizal relationship with the local fungi and trees.

Traveling through forests and popping out onto clearings we kept coming across all manner of wonderful things to see.  The Thistle plant above we found at the edge of an old field.  Although it’s covered in spiny thorns, the thistle is an important source of feed for birds.  It also happens to be a terrific source of pure water if one should find themselves in need of a drink and smart enough to not drink from the crik!  By peeling back the stem and chewing on the fibrous matter a person can wind up with a mouthful of pure water courtesy of the Thistle.  Sure, it’s easier to carry a water bottle, but I happen to like all the lore of plants, including their obscure uses….never know when a survival skill may be needed 😉

The little creeks that flow gave the pup some much needed drink and provided comic relief as he ended up with ‘socks of mud’ in the process.  We marvel at the numerous rock walls in this area.  That the old timers were farming these steep upland areas is a testament to their utter grit in my opinion.  This is not  bottom land!

Idle old machines litter the area.  As well as a very interesting arrangement of a car-turned-home…

Even with the recent rains, this waterfall is a spit of it’s usual self.  Still a charming place to cool off on a hot day though.  I hope you enjoyed this mini tour of the beautiful part of the world we call home, the Catskill Mountains.  Have a fine day!



  1. Very nice…need to do some hiking…but at the moment going through the basement…yard sale coming…lots and lots of junk. Why do we keep stuff that should be thrown out? Love your pictures.

    • IYEEE! I have a barn that needs a clean sweep. Just to think we arrived here w/ the contents of two small cars!?

      • I told my son-in-law as he was helping me carry stuff up from the basement…when you have a house and you decide to get rid of something, don’t bury it in the house or garage or barn….make it leave the property!!!! I have had enough of junk!!!

  2. Love the Catskills and it’s been many years since I was there. Thanks for the tour!

    • You are very welcome Kaye. It’s a small rounded old Mt. range, but we like it.

  3. Ahhh…takes me back.

    • Very well! Glad you enjoyed.

  4. So beautiful…

    • It’s a lovely part of the globe, agreed. Thanks for your kind words Amy.

  5. Love the drinking Thistle water idea (although still pondering exactly how you’d approach such a thorny issue; )
    Keep that plant lore coming (please: )

    • P.S. Beautiful photos – thanks for sharing… I bet there’s magic aplenty in those old hills.

    • Actually the easiest way to do it Deb is to grab it by the base and give a good tug then peel it like a banana it’s less thorny down low.

      • Yeah well “less” thorny… I’d still like a heavy duty leather work glove. Unless these are the smaller Canada Thistle and not the mega-nasty monster Scotch Thistle I’m imagining? (Kinda hard to get a sense of scale, hey?) LOL!

      • Haha Deb it IS all relative right!? I mean if I were actually in such dire need of a drink of pure H2O that I’m considering sidling up to a thistle, well…I think the thorns become secondary…although using a rock to abrade the stem is helpful in removing many of the buggers.

  6. This is my first adventure into the Catskills, Anna. Many thanks. I didn’t know that about the thistle – very handy to know. Here, we have the threat of beaver fever if we drink from creeks and streams. I’ve had it once and it’s wickedly draining.

    • Glad to share. The Catskills are an OLD mountain range re: veritable bumps in the ground compared to the western ranges, with Slide Mountain the highest peak at only 4,180-feet (1,270 m), they are home and well loved by us.

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