See that old house? You know what that means? It means I took a hike.
I’ll wait while you pick yourselves up off the floor.
It started out very innocently and, I thought, very nice of me. Over Sunday brunch I asked Hubby “would you like to go for a walk today or something?” My fault. Never should have included the “or something.” I thought a nice local park, with a flat paved path showcasing charming native flowers and grasses. He thought Mount Olympus.
We decided a trip up to Jockey Hollow, site of Washington’s encampment during the Revolutionary War (not to be confused with the Valley Forge encampment of Washington’s during the Revolutionary War which I have also hiked), would make for a pleasant walk. From the information we gleaned at the visitor’s center (meaning we listened in as the uninterested Center Guide (complete with uniform!) explained the different trails to a foreign couple) about all the trails and how long they were, we chose the two and a half mile walk instead of the four mile. This probably saved my life.
Something like this, I could walk all day. It’s flat, it’s prepared, it’s cool in parts, it’s just lovely. But first, we visited the charming little Wick House.
I love houses. I love driving around neighborhoods and looking at houses and taking pictures. That’s not at all creepy, is it?
From my scant recall of these things, Mr. Wick who owned this house would have been wealthy because he could afford glass for his windows. If I’m not right, please don’t tell me. I like to feel superior to myself sometimes. It’s very little I ask in life, I don’t need you to take away my one guilty pleasure.
This was the
major’s general’s officer’s room, with another small bedroom nearby. That is one tiny bed.
Adjacent to the bed was this desk, covered with plans and maps and such. I looked for a knitting basket but no such luck.
The other side of the house was where the owner, Mr. Wick, stayed while the troops were encamped. This is his messy desk. Again, no knitting. What kind of people were they?
This was a cool stump. This was also the last point of the afternoon where I was happy. We set off on the yellow trail. There are no pictures of the trail while hiking because I was doing my best to not fall and to keep breathing. The trail was not exactly well-worn; there were boulders, and when I say boulders you probably would call them rocks but good heavens they were everywhere on the path, and I had to make sure I didn’t wrench an ankle or fall because these boulders would throw themselves into my path so I had to be vigilant! After about 40 minutes, we came to a somewhat flat area:
There’s a little creek running under that bridge, and I wanted to stay there for a while and enjoy the heft of the mercifully straight flat boards under my feet, but there was a family behind us with three young children who enjoyed screaming as a hobby and I felt obligated to keep going. It’s like being on a miniature golf course, where if you want to line up your putt and get a good score you can feel the impatient breath of the group behind you muttering about how slow some people are so you just forget about enjoying yourself and keep it moving.
There are no pictures of the next forty-five minutes because it was a freakin’ mountain we were scaling with tall grass and I could only think about the ticks that must be gleefully hitching a ride with me and the snakes that could slither out at any time and good heavens that is one impressive pile of bear poop which means there are bears and for gawd’s sake what the hell are we doing out here? My heart was pounding so hard I thought I would die right here on this mountain that was impossible to scale and who were these irresponsible people who let us go wandering around this area with no homing signals or Life Alert bracelets? Hubby was gazing back occasionally and asking if I was okay, but I needed all my waning strength to continue breathing so I didn’t answer which he took to mean I was just fine and he kept going. We got to the top of the mountain (okay, you might call it a hill but I swear it was a mountain) and my heart said STOP. So I leaned against a tree praying that a snake wouldn’t fall down onto my head and panted “how ….. far….. walk?” Hubby answered cheerfully “probably about half a mile” and if my muscles hadn’t been burning I would have brained him with a boulder. Surely we’ve come four miles at least and that stupid Visitor’s Center Guide had lied to us about which path to take.
Deciding to put on my big-girl pants and deal with it, I determined to get through this thing alive. The only good thing was the Happy Screaming Family didn’t want to scale the mountain so they were no longer behind us. We were alone.
I have no idea how long it took, but we finally emerged into a clearing and saw this beautiful sight:
Look! A threshold! Someplace to park my weary bum and gaze at nature and glare at Hubby. These huts were fascinating, completely built with local trees and no nails, only pegs. Of course, the modern cement foundation is probably not authentic, nor is the mesh holding the fireplace in place, but it’s still authentic enough for me. And a threshold! Inside of each half were two wooden shelves serving as bunks and a fireplace. That’s where the winter was spent. Yikes.
Looking down from the hut (yes, down! No more uphill battles, yuk yuk) we saw more huts:
Again, really fascinated with the construction:
And the view looking down some more:
And the view from below looking up at the huts. Can you tell I was trying to buy time by taking all these pictures? The more photos we took, the more I delayed the rest of the hike:
We resumed the
torture walk and plunged back into the woods. We passed a few people coming from the other direction, and I marveled at the ability of some folks to wear flip-flops when getting ready to scale a mountain and do battle with boulders. We saw very little wildlife, including birds, and I have to think it was because my breathing was so heavy and my tread so heavy that all the critters must have thought a bear was rampaging and so they wisely hid.
Every time we topped a rise or rounded a bend, I anticipated a clearing where I would see the roofline of the Wick House which signaled everything Good and Wonderful and the Visitor Center nearby (where I was planning to smack the Guide for misleading us so horribly) but I only saw more trees, more boulders, more long grasses, and more walking. We finally saw a little map guide that told us Heaven was straight ahead, about ten more minutes. I began to think I would make it, that I had triumphed over anything Nature had thrown at me, that all was good again in the world. I thought maybe we should do this on a regular basis, it would be good for us and keep us healthy and in touch with nature. I thought maybe I had lost my marbles on that ridiculous mountain back there and if so, the mountain was welcome to them because I was NEVER GOING BACK THERE EVER AGAIN.
I love nature. Especially looking at it through a window in my house or my car.