a childhood saved

A Naturalist's Notebook

When I was 14-15 years old, I wrote a series of 23 essays as a weekly assignment for my high school English class. I called the series "A Naturalist's Notebook." Naturalist's Notebook Table of Contents

Places to Hike: February 6, 1974

Quite a few people in our area are not aware of the many good hiking places that are within a short riding or walking distance from their homes. Some of these places are as untamed as a Maine forest, others are well traveled. I will start with the Peekskill area:

At the extreme southern portion of Peekskill, near Welcher Avenue, is the Blue Mountain Reservation. It is the largest park in the immediate area. The two major hills are Blue Mountain and Spitzenberg Hill. At the top of each is a stone shelter, and a nice view. During the summer I often climb to the top of Spitzenberg to get rid of pesky deer flies. They are terrible on the trail until you reach the summit. There are no flies at all there.

Peterson's Pond is a fine lake which is quite wild in places. At Loundsbury Pond, Canada geese rest. Mockingbirds are common. I've had my share of weird experiences in the reservation, including several run-ins with Tiny, an immense black dog the size of a small bear. He has chased me up trees, over hills, and clear out of the reservation. Besides timber rattlesnakes, which are very rare, Tiny is the most dangerous creature to be found there. He is a living legend, as I found out one day while I was inspecting an old cave. Written on the wall, with candle smoke, were these words: "I HATE TINY, HE BIT MY BEHINDY."

Next: "Croton Reservoir" February 27, 1974