Sometimes being outside isn’t exercise of the body, but of the soul. My last experience on the Catskill trip was visiting Stony Clove Notch. I was tipped off to it by a passing reference in Scott Brown’s book on New York waterfalls. Brown mentioned shooting photos at the lake was a good alternative to the waterfall hike he outlined, and he gave suggestions on how to frame the photo. While I never saw the lilypads he suggested focusing on, I found my own way. Mr. Brown and many other people are better photographers than I am, but the photo below gives me great pleasure.

Stony Clove Notch is a few miles north of the Town of Phoenicia on NY Route 214. The notch is a passage between the mountains Hunter and Plateau. At the foot of Hunter is Notch Lake, and on the edge of Notch Lake is a day use area and long-term parking lot for backpackers. A popular hiking trail, the Devil’s Path, crosses the day use area.

Aside from one person asking for directions – his accent placed him as from the Bronx, so he was very lost indeed – I was alone. I lingered as the sky grew dark and the mist began to form. I hated to leave. I’d not climbed a mountain in the Catskills. I wanted to. I wanted to be atop Hunter or Slide or Halcott or… but it wasn’t going to happen this trip. I’d fallen once, and I was bent like a question mark thanks to twisting my back the wrong way.

I delayed leaving as long as I could. But I had miles to travel before I slept, so I said “till we meet again” to Hunter and Plateau, and started the long drive to Pennsylvania and Pine Creek Gorge.