• Upcoming trips

    13-23 January, 2018 Cruise out of New York around the Caribbean on the Norwegian Gem. Note : this trip has been cancelled altogether because of the damage caused by the hurricanes to the Caribbean islands.

    October 31st - 11 November. Caribbean cruise to break up the winter. Note: The itinerary has not yet been determined owing to the havoc wreaked by the hurricanes.
  • theatre and Concerrts

    October 8 Went to BAM, for the first time since Ethel died, to hear a wonderful modern opera composed and written by Matthew Aucoin called “Crossing”. It is based on Walt Whitman’s experience and the libretto is largely taken from his poetry.

    The story is multi-themed, as modern plays tend to be; the first is a harrowing anti war depiction of the suffering wounded seen through Whitman’s eyes when he volunteered as a nurse during the American civil war; the second is Slavery and its effect upon a run-away slave who fights on the Union side; the third is treachery portrayed by a guilt-laden deserter who spies for the South. And forth, inevitably these days, is the (entirely fictional) homosexual one.

    The powerful music fits the story perfectly and the voices of the lead singers and the chorus is magnificent; Rod Gilfry, bass-baritone, sings the part of Walt Whitman, Alexander Lewis plays John Wormley, the deserter, and Davone Tines, whose baritone reminded me, distinctly, of the sound of the legendary Paul Robeson.  Both Christine and I were extremely moved by the work. We newly discovered Walt Whitman’s poetry, too.

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Babes in the Woods

In order to escape the 97 degree, humid, city, we consulted our “Walks & Rambles in Westchester County”  and decided to motor up to the parks of Westchester. Our aim was to enjoy the cooler, oxygenated, air of the woods. On the Saturday, this worked out perfectly. We took our sandwich lunch in a cooler, and drove to Cranberry Lake Park in Harrison. This park is very well maintained with clearly marked trails of various lengths, made more interesting by  plaques explaining the flora and possible fauna to be seen along the way. Excellent line-maps of the trails are provided at the entrance to the park. And, By-the-way, the lake does, in fact, have  cranberry tufts  rising up from it’s shallow waters!

The next day, our choice was disastrous. We drove to Silver Lake just north of White Plains. The “Google” directions led us to a remote entrance where there was nothing but a board displaying the name of the park and it’s illustrious sponsors. As we were wondering what best to do, a younger French couple drove in to take the mile-and-a-half trail which they had walked once before and found the terrain well suited to their physical challenge needs.  They were fully back-packed and equipped for the fray. Before they set off, however, they warned us that the trail was quite rugged; steep rocky slopes and downed trees abounded.

We determined that we would take the trail for half-an-hour and then return to the car park for a picnic lunch. The trail started off with a fairly gentle slope downwards with which my breathing equipment and legs had no trouble what-so-ever. As we progressed, the slope got steeper and we had to negotiate three or four downed trees–some we had to clamber over  (which Christine found somewhat difficult on account of her replacement hip), and some we had to crawl under on our hands and knees (which I found difficult on account of my having to get up afterwards).

When we reached the lowest point and the trail began to rise again, I looked behind me and saw, to my horror (which I was very careful to hide from Christine), that access to our lunch was now barred by a great  mountain of impassable, rock-strewn and slippery scree! After a short review of my resources, I concluded that only the most determined team of stretcher-bearers would get me back up to lunch that way, so I persuaded Christine that we should  stay on the trail and perhaps find a shortcut home. The trail, at this point, did have some spasmodic marking–white or cream patches painted on trees at lengthening intervals, but these led us to more mountainous climbs and in one place, seven downed trees in a row obstructing what was left of the trail. The trail marking became more and more spasmodic and, eventually, utterly confusing. The few markers we searched out, pointed in every direction.

Three-and-a half hours later, we were completely lost. We contemplated trying to find the way back but quickly gave up the idea as impracticable. Christine thought she might call 911 or something but her phone battery was dead as was mine. At this point I thought I had better bring my Boy Scout expertise into play–I scrambled to the top of a berm, on the other side of which, I thought I could hear voices across the lake. I did, in fact, hear the voices coming loud and clear from the other side of the lake but there was no path through the undergrowth. As I was scrambling down to the path where I had left Christine, I heard her voice; she appeared to be talking to herself out loud? But, no–a couple of  practiced hikers had entered the woods from another direction and were refining their trail skills for a longer trip they were about to embark upon in Wisconsin. They took pity on our plight, gave us some of the water from their flasks and decided to take us back to the carpark where they had entered. One of them ran ahead to move his car into a better position while the lady led our slow progression out of the woods. Half-an-hour later we were met with bottles of cold water, towel-wipes and a bench to rest on! What a relief! Our Good Samaritans then drove us to our car which was a mile-and-a-half to two miles away. We didn’t bother with lunch but drove straight home!

Pictures taken on Christine’s smart phone before the battery went dead . . .


. . . .




4 Responses

  1. I suggest a quiet, air conditioned home (yours), a travel film and a lovely (delivered) lunch the next time.

  2. Ditto I agree with Amy.

    • Thank you both. I don’t care for air-conditioning much but I will certainly not let myself be caught without maps and proper equipment again. Ben

  3. This certainly was a great hike! Ben, I’ll give it to you…you’re a trooper!
    Thanks to those through -hikers, they a blessing.
    Glad to have seen you and Christine on our Monday evening picnic at the Pool in Central Park. Love Nereida

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