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

Shatamuc, Part Two: November 14, 1973

The Hudson Highlands, Bear Mountain, Dundenberg, and many other well-known mountains, are among the most beautiful highlands in New York. Spectacular views, high altitude, and temperate climate make it an enjoyable region indeed.

At Bear Mountain Bridge, the Appalachian Trail enters Rockland County. This famous trail, which extends from Mt. Katahdin in Maine to Georgia's Springer Mountain, wanders through Bear Mountain Park.

Stony Point is of great interest to historians, as it was the site of "Mad Anthony" Wayne's encampment and battle. Incidentally, Anthony's Nose, the mountain which looms over the eastern side of Bear Mountain Bridge, was not named for Anthony Wayne; rather, it was named after Anthony Corlear, Peter Stuyvesant's trumpeter. It is said that his nose was so big it resembled a large mountain!

Past Peekskill, several points jut out into the Hudson. Verplank Point, George's Island, Oscawana Island, and Croton Point all have their own special flavor and history. George's Island was once a great Indian encampment, as mounds of oyster shells can attest to. I have also found oyster shells on Oscawana Island.

Croton Point, in between Furnace Brook and Croton River, is quite industrialized, but Croton Point Park is quite beautiful. This point was the delta of the original Croton River.

Across from Croton Point, in Rockland County, lies Hook Mountain, nearly the northernmost of the Palisades. This mountain is the site of the main autumn hawk-watch. Many flocks or "kettles" of hawks fly over it each day.

The river now broadens as we enter the part called the Tappan Zee. This is the large bay for which the Tappan Zee Bridge is named after.

After the Tappan Zee, the river narrows, past Sing-Sing, past the mighty New York Palisades. Gradually, the river from the Adirondack wilderness goes by the New York City "wilderness" and slips slowly into the Atlantic Ocean.

Next: "On Barns," November 29, 1973