Friday, April 12, 2013

Fantasy Writing: Reposting

This was originally published 2 years ago, but it's good enough to share again!  I will, however, write another fanatasy story about the tree filled with concrete this weekend.  Stay tuned! 

I want to share an experience I had LAST Sunday with my husband while hiking in Duchess County. This is a beautiful time of year to hike; however, few people hike the mountain trails along the Hudson Highlands during the winter due to the rough terrain and extreme winds that blow along the ridge.
Frankly I was hesitant to go hiking in that area on Sunday as I expected the run off to be significant and knew that there might even be some snow at the top. No matter what, we would probably be the first people to hike that trail in months and so the hike would be challenging and the markers might be missing. I had suggested a kinder and gentler hike across the old railroad bridge; however, the my husband had a burning desire to do something more challenging and so I reluctantly agreed!

We were indeed the first people up the mountain in many months but the quiet beauty of the trail that parallels the Hudson River mesmerized us as we slowly made the arduous climb up the the top of Mount Beacon. It got colder and colder as we climbed and the wind became stronger and stronger making some places on the ridge beyond scary. At times, my heart was beating so fast, I thought I might not even make it all the way to the top. It was a long and arduous climb and as we neared the top, I knew we would BOTH need to rest before starting the climb back down. We were, however, both too exhausted to even speak at that point on the trail as so I just hoped that we would be able to find a quiet spot out of the wind in which to rest.

There was still quiet a bit of snow when we reached the top and the wind was indeed howling, but we surveyed the majestic views while holding tightly to the sides of the remaining walls of the old hotel and casino at the top.

As some of you might know, there was an incline railway built to the top of Mt Beacon in the early 1900's and it transported people (in a much easier manner) to the top of the mountain where a small hotel and casino with panoramic views of the Hudson Valley awaited them. The hotel and casino were abandoned at least 80 years ago after a fire swept through them in "breakneck" speed with obviously devastating results to all who were there at the time.

I was indeed thinking of those people as we crouched down in the remains and quickly devoured the dried blueberries and almonds I had in my backpack. We were careful to not drink all the water as we would, at some point, need some to get back down the treacherous hill; however, we did joke that we SHOULD have brought some fabulous mixed drink from the Roaring Twenties with us to celebrate our victorious climb! We decided we should do some reserach to find out what they were drinking at Mt. Beacon a hundred years ago! Anyway, as we rested before our inevitable descent, we continued talking and wondering and THEN, something very strange happened.

At first I THOUGHT it was the wind but indeed it did sound like laughter and maybe even some music. There were moans and groans but also the clinking sound of glass and the sound of someone talking in the distance. I looked at my husband who had shut his eyes and was even snoring softly. I was panicked but curious at the same time and so I shifted my weight so that I could look around the corner of the old brick wall. There was NO ONE there; however, the noises I heard really were NOT the WIND!

I lay there for a LONG time listening to the sounds and wondering if indeed these were the ghosts of the victims of the fire. I was scared out of my mind that we too might die on the top of this mountain as a cloud blew over briefly blocking the sun; however, my hsuband insisted on a powernap before his descent and so I lay and listened to the sounds of Mt. Beacon. At one point, I too drifted off in a powernap but I awoke to what certainly sounded like a motor and I was BRIEFLY certain it sounded like the old tramway motor! But then, as I came too, I realized the sky was getting darker by the minute and the wind was blowing snow and ice pellets down upon us and so I shook my husband awake and insisted we get down the mountain.

The first part of the climb was very tough and so we did not talk for at least 45 minutes....but then I said something about my dream during my powernap...and Ray wanted to know more.

Slowly the story emerged that we had BOTH heard the same strange sounds and had BOTH wanted to know more. He thought it was indeed the ghosts of the victims of the fire and not the wind; however, I tried to be very rational about the whole afternoon. We were literaly shaking with fear, excitement and wonder as we reached the safe bottom of the mountain that afternoon, particularly as we saw a lone hiker preparing for his ascent of the mountain. He asked about the climb and noted that he usually tried to get up in late March but with the weather....well it was already April. Although the sun was shining and it was LOVELY at the bottom of the mountain, we did offer that it was cold, windy and snowing at the top.

He smiled and said something about the magic of getting to the mountain in early spring - and something about connecting with long past relatives - but in a flash he was gone and we were left to wonder if indeed there was something magical or mystical going on at the top of that mountain over the long winter.
We'll probably never know for sure if what we heard that afternoon was a figment of our imagination or long lost ghosts; but Ray and I have settled into a quiet acceptance of an unusual afternoon and we DO intend to go back with some snacks that might go more appropiately in that setting!

Picture taken with my phone from atop Mt. Beacon looking out over the Hudson River


Anonymous said...

I give you so much credit for hiking Mt. Beacon! My brother and a few of our friends did that hike last summer....I stayed home. That is TOUGH. Great post :)

Anita Ferreri said...

I guess that is a remindre that I LOOK like I am a push over but I am really TOUGH!