‘The ancient hemlocks… Their history is of an heroic cast. Ravished and torn by the tanner in his thirst for bark, preyed upon by the lumberman, assaulted and beaten by the settler, still their spirit has never been broken, their energies never paralysed… Nature loves such woods, and places her own seal upon them…’
– John Burroughs (from, In The Hemlocks)
My hike to the summit of Indian Head Mountain was one of the strangest and memorable walking experiences I’ve ever had. The forest is so thick that one has no vantage points, nor views. My spacial awareness was informed by a different perspective: I walked beneath thick canopy, between markers, across ancient roots and through a fragrant, vast enclosure…until I reached the summit, then from a gap in the trees, the grand vista of the Catskills greeted me.