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September 2, 2013

This afternoon we headed out for a quick adventure before school begins. The bears were anxious to know just where exactly we were going.  No iPod, no Nintendo allowed on this particular drive.  The first ten minutes were a little sullen, but both quickly warmed up to the mystery of it all.  As we entered New York, the guesses came faster – Albany?  The Statue of Liberty?

Nowhere as busy as NYC this time around.  We stopped at the whimsical and lovely Circle Museum on Highway 22.  I’d passed it on my way home from the convent and filed it away as a potential spot to visit.  It was breathtaking and comfortable all at once.

Reluctant to end our wanderings so soon, we continued south on 22, hoping to find something equally compelling.  I had a back-pocket plan that was promptly thrown out the window when Lima Bean saw the sign for Copake Falls and yelled, “Turn here!  Let’s go see the water fall!”

We ended up at Taconic State Park.  A large sign at the gatehouse informed us that Copake Falls was the name of a town not a waterfall, but there was nothing to fear.  Bash Bish Falls were not too far away.  The park ranger gave us a map and sent us on our way.  We paused to play at the playground and then began our hike.  1.5 miles to the falls.  Pablo and I conferred quickly.  Could we do 3 miles?  Could the bears do 3 miles?  The Kettle Slayer was up for it, trusty cane in tow.  Yes.  We could do it.

The humid day made the climb even harder, but the shade cooled us off.  It was quiet and beautiful.  The bears ran ahead.  And behind.  And stopped.  And started.  And darted in, out, and around.

Halfway there, we crossed a road and found a second parking area.  Pablo laughed and presented option B.  When we’d  hiked all the way there, he would head back ahead of us and bring the car to this lot.  Even so, it would be three quarters of a mile farther than I’d done in one hike so far.  We looked at the bears.  Yes.  This was a good plan.

The second half of the hike was almost all uphill.  Up mountain?  We laughed loudly when we reached the Massachusetts border.  You made us walk all the way back to Massachusetts?  The bears thought this was hilarious.  At one point Ladybug turned to me and announced, I just can’t believe you haven’t given up yet.  I am learning to do this outside thing.  I am better and better at it and enjoying it more and more.  Two parks in one day!  Even though it was unintentional, it felt like a milestone worth celebrating.  We listened to the rushing water along the trail.  We listened to the wind.  We listened to each other.

The falls were stunning.  The mist was refreshing and heavy all at once.  We spent time watching and breathing, taking it all in.  The grownups realized that we’d forgotten our cameras.  Pablo took a couple of pictures with his phone, but mostly we just looked, touched, experienced.

On the way home, we took back roads and saw so many pretty things.  We ate together.  It was a good day.

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