Yurt - Two Nights Solo - Sullivan County - Solitude
The car is packed, dogs ready to go - lets be off
The owners ask you to park the car a ways down the hill - which l think adds to the allure of escaping it all (along with no cel service/electricity). A short five minute walk
and there it is. Far more generous in size than l expected -you could throw a party in this thing. Thoughtfully placed among the tree's at the summit. The owners meet you there to take care of all your bags in a little four wheely buggy type deal - l said l didn't need any help... until my first trek uphill with my food alone. "yes please to the help Bob!". His wife Mary (who turns out is from a town not only 20 minutes from my hometown in the U.K...nuts!) was there to greet me also. A very sweet couple, brimming with obvious pride of this amazing structure they had erected. A Yurt in Willowemoc.
After a short how-to with the walk talkie, compost loo, and food instructions -- off they went.
So straight to unpacking and sorting out the food into provided coolers (ice blocks included). The dogs restless from the long drive - myself knackered from the driving. A short hike needed to invigorate us all..... and then back for a hearty supper.
Perishables always first (fish) - Grilled the Swordfish/Baby Courgettes, Local Tomatoes and a salad with that yummy spicy caesar dressing l made (romaine lasts better in a cooler for travel). Chowed all that down with a wee brownie and espresso to polish it off. Cant beat that with a bat! Happy camper.
Decided to get my fire ready before dark, take a good walk through the property - marked trails through the forest (care of the owners), then clean and pack up the food before sunset.
At this point l was longing for a couple episodes "Broadchurch, Season ll" mind but left all my devices at home with the intent of having a break from an increasingly bad habit (iPhone tick)
The night was coming to a close my first evening in the forest. The dogs reacted to every rustle in the tree's ...something l hoped would remedy itself by bedtime, but still... l was beginning to relax. My thought would be to light a fire, stare into the starry sky, and reintroduce myself to me - reconnect - give myself a good talking to and a meaty hug. Besides - why else push myself to make this trip alone. A nagging feeling of late l had forgotten who l was, where l was going, and for what reasons. It has been a tough year emotionally, and l think on some level have let it get the best of me. Despite all my jolly trips, endless love for my kids, and my incessant need to explore/be social...its a pretty safe bet avoidance was playing a pretty significant role regards emotional-self-care.
So Ms Gibson - Buckle down, light a fire....and lets get started. Use these two days of silence to quiet the voices of doubt, smolder any insecurities, and get back to focusing on what makes me feel confident and secure. Importantly make a pack to surround myself with good honest people only.
Day 1 - Check
Woke up early bird - freezing cold! Piled on the warm clothes - quick breaky, then off to explore. Willowemoc Covered bridge first stop, along the way endless pull-in's to access the river for anglers. Every spot much alike but never disappointing. I took many peeks/stop offs to either take snaps or just stop to listen.
Long Pond Trail - A good mile uphill (rocky footing throughout) which then opened up to a beautiful pond on the summit. Not a soul to be seen along the way...which can be a bit unnerving. Dogs had a good dip with limited access - l needed to strip of all my winter clothing since at this point the sun was high and at least 30 degrees warmer now.
Time to head back for lunch ...only l took the wrong turn when the trail forked (idiot!) and ended up on the other side of the mountain (which turned out to be a good 3 miles back to my car), not that l minded..as the trail was far more interesting than the assent coming up. Took me back along the Willowemoc creek the entire way.
Lunch - Smoked Trout, Ceaser, local Toms and cold boiled egg. Plenty protein/sodium after a good hike. A nap was in order before off again..
A rather disappointing 45 min drive out to Roscoe in search of Russell Brook Falls. Certainly not the first time its happened. Trail backs onto a caravan site with no trail marker in site. l followed the trout pond stream less than 1/8 of a mile but still no marked trail - bummer - l was destined to get lost Beth Gibson style - best turn around.
l found Alder Lake on my map N.E of Beaverkill - Balsam Lake Wild Forest. Another hours drive but no matter..the drive was beautiful. Came across Beaverkill Covered Bridge stunningly restored - a real treat. Folks dotted either side of the bridge swimming/picnicking, basking in the sun. Beaverkill Campsite a stones throw away (one to check out for future)
On the way to Alder Lake - Route 54 was dotted with oodles of old farmhouses which all had been restored, acres of consitantly manicured acres...obviously city folk had found their sweet spots. At this point l had wished my car roof was installed with a GoPro camera.....l was desperate to stop every two minutes to take snaps!
Alder lake was a treat. Tall wild flowers hugged the looped trail with intermittent paths that lead to the water. Perfect weather and again..not a soul to be seen along the way - be nice to see a friendly face at some point!!
After a good afternoon of driving/hiking l was famished. Quick stop off on the way back to take a dip in the Willowemoc creek to clean rinse the pups. Back to H.Q and we were all pleasantly knackered. Easy clean up/Supper l reckon. Grilled steak, Baby Yukons with homemade pesto, and the last of my local tomatoes. Brownie and tart cherries to polish it all off. Yum.
Shower and feet up, check out the map for drive home tomorrow. Directions call for highway most of the way, but l've decided to make my way back down Route 206 way and find a nice trail in P.A. With no cel service - its been liberating not to be checking my emails every 20 minutes...a habit l'd like to break. Rome wasn't built in a day!
My shoulders have dropped, my nagging back ache has subsided, all together feeling de-stressed. Hoping the kids have had a grand time on their adventures in Vermont with cousins, and enjoying some space from Mummy - always a good plan for both parties.
A game of cards - read my book....nodding off - 8.45pm! Glad l made the trip...
Recap - Plenty of hikes, dips, couple of roadside near misses with deer and raccoons, got in a few more sunrises, unscathed by the local bears, howling coyotes at bedtime, good food, a sole owl hooted me to sleep both nights, l stopped traffic for a Wild turkey mother and her babies to cross, zero bug bites, 67 road kills (none on my hands), no wine, chewed 43 pieces of gum, many butterflies ( which l like to think is my deceased brother keeping me company), frogs underfoot, happy dogs, and happy Mummy.