Monday, July 22, 2013

SOL 2013 Really Cool

With a title like Really Cool, you're probably thinking I am going to write about some hippie festival I attended.  Wrong.  On our Sunday afternoon bike trek, we did, however, see the remnants of a music festival along with dawdling deer, peaceful horses, snapping turtles, swarming fish, muddy rivers, pristine creeks, a restored trestle bridge and Joppenbergh Mountain.  While each was worthy of a post of their own, it was the really cool (almost cold) air wafting out of the base of Joppenbergh Mountain that piqued my interest and produced surprising finds! 
 (my picture)
In the sleepy hamlet of Rosendale, just to the north of Rondout Creek, there is a mountain, created, long ago, by glaciers and mined, long ago, for dolostone (used to make cement) and limestone.  The magically cold breeze that continually flows from under the mountain is indicative of its incredulous story!
Way back in December 1899, during a time when multiple companies were mining deep below the surface, there was a cave-in that miraculously happened when all the miners were eating lunch. The collapse certainly shook the nearby, and now restored, Rosendale trestle but also lead to a series of landslides and rock falls, and the total closing of the mines in 1907.
In the 1930s, the mountain came back to life when a skiing club build a ski jumping school there!  That was certainly a boost for the tourist trade in sleepy Rosendale, during the winter.  Then, in the summer of 1937, a creative ski club from Brooklyn found a way to make ski jumping a year-round sport! The jumpers took off on borax laden hills and landed on mats and topped with straw and pine needles! According to Wikipedia, Olympic skier Ottar Satre set a record with a 112 foot jump in 1937!  WWII put an end to using the mountain for skiing for many years; however, in the 1960's, the  Rosendale Nordic Ski Club built a 70 meter jump and attempted to resurrect the magical slope.  Wavering weather and lack of profits led to another "fall from grace" for Joppenbergh Mountain.

While I did not know this as I rode by on Sunday, rock falls continue, regularly, to this day!  
If all this is not strange enough for you, the base of Joppenbergh Mountain also has Willow Kiln, the site of several defunct cement kilns, and also the setting of art shows and a zombie-themed street festival!

In 2011, the mountain began its next chapter when after some cantankerous debates, the  Open Space Institute (OSI) purchase the 117-acre property complete with dangerous, abandoned caves, falling rocks and sinkholes. In 2012, OSI transferred ownership to the Wallkill Valley Land Trust (WVLT) which was likely thrilled to connect this mysterious mountain to its own Wallkill Valley Rail Trail via its newly renovated trestle bridge allowing us to not only partake in a magical, cold breeze at the end of a long, hot bike ride, but also to wonder at the magic under, on top, and around this mountain!  I'm reminded that while Six Flags might offer a form of adventure, the really cool stories are over the trestle and around the bend!  
 (my picture)

My References:
While I know Wikipedia has limits, it sure was helpful!
check out these video - you will feel like you were there and frankly, they are better than my pictures!
I did do a bit of checking on all of this,_New_York


Judy said...

Anita, I find it so amazing to learn about how our natural resources progressed throughout the years and to learn about the history of our local area. Thanks for sharing about your local area. And, yes, I agree, I wish we could get our youngsters excited about what happened in the past.

Lynn said...

What an amazing history lesson this morning Anita! ;-)SO many cool things in nature that should and can be exciting to learn about.

Nanc said...

I love your kind of adventures Anita! I would love this place and I appreciated the story behind the magical cold air. Someday we might be able to come! xo

Unknown said...

Great post! It would be a fun project to get students to find something nearby that piques their interest and then get them to research and write about it. THanks for sharing.

Linda B said...

I didn't look at all the links, but watched the video, Anita. Amazing bridge leading to such beauty! There is a trail all the way through MO called the Katy trail, on the old Katy Railroad beds. It's so wonderful that more states are claiming more open space. Love your cool, cool air too. And the great ending!

travelinma said...

I am so impressed with your curiosity about this area and the mountain. You are inspirational-there is so much about my area I wonder about as well.

Leigh Anne Eck said...

How cool is this. I have to admit I felt like that woman in the video. I do not do well with heights and my stomach got queasy just watching it!

This is a great example of using research too!

Anonymous said...

Such interesting descriptions of a fascinating place - thanks for sharing!

Paul Kelly said...

Hi Anita,
I just came across your post while looking at old photos of Rosendale on Google. I grew up in nearby High Falls and spent many summer days in Rosendale climbing Joppenburgh and sneaking (illegally, of course) across the trestle. That was early 70s. Your information on the area and its history was especially interesting and makes me want to dig for more. Many thanks! Paul