aborted slice of heaven
Friday, April 27 2012
Michæl (from KMOCA) came over this afternoon with his dog Penny and Deborah's dog Allou as well as two puppy mill Boston Terriers he is dogsitting for a friend. They all joined Gretchen, Eleanor, Ramona, and me for a walk in the woods out to the Canary Falls. During nearly the entirety of that walk, Gretchen and Michæl were talking about an art project wherein Michæl may or may not get some inner city African American tattoo artists to tattoo any image they choose onto his body, a solution to Michæl's main problem with getting a tattoo: that he has nothing he really wants to say for himself in the form of a tattoo. Though it was somewhat interesting, had I wanted to jump into this conversation it would have been impossible; Gretchen was neatly filling every pause in what Michæl was saying with a dovetailed question or statement of her own. It's occasions like this when I'm reminded why I don't always enjoy walking in the woods when friends are visiting.
The farm road leads to a 19th century farmhouse where a guy we jokingly refer to as "the Duke of Luxemburg" has his own private getaway. Recently he got married to a young woman and decided for whatever reason to install a pool. Today we had a look at the progress of its construction. As there is almost no soil in our area, the basin for the pool had to be jackhammered into solid bedrock (it mostly looked like shale). There had also been a number of elaborate ditches dug to supply the water and drainage lines.
At the falls I managed to break into Gretchen and Michæl's dialogue long enough to suggest that we keep walking southwestward into a region that has always been terra incognita. It turned out that there was fairly well-maintained logging road to follow along a wide shoulder in the landscape between a bluff above us to the west and a steep escarpment downward to the east. There were many indications of recent road maintenance, mostly the clearing of trees that had fallen in last summer's hurricanes. There was also an enormous pile of woody debris that looked like it had been bulldozed into place about ten years ago. It was the size of a house and probably supports a unique ecology of creatures within it.
Eventually the rough logging road took us to an opening in the forest where there was an artificial pond about an acre in size (41.916701N, 74.117678W). It had been built at considerable expense by damming up a small creek with a wide earthen berm. Given all the effort that had gone into the project, we expected to find a house nearby. But the only permanent manmade artifacts other than the pond itself were a cluster of lawn chairs and a power meter outfitted with a small breaker box and four 120 volt electrical outlets, suitable for electrifying a recreational vehicle. There was also a good gravel road continuing southward, probably ending up at Lapla Road (though at the time I thought the nearest road might be Johnson Hill). It was hard to imagine going through all the effort of building this pond only to make a pretty place to park an RV, so I theorized that perhaps someone had hoped to make this into their own little slice of heaven, building the pond in hopes of then building a house. But then the housing bubble had collapsed, lines of credit had dried up, and now all they have left is a place to bug out to when the Mayan Calendar somehow kills us all.
On the way back home, we noted the name on the no trespassing sign we'd missed as we'd entered from the logging road. It claimed the pond belonged to an entity called "Stoney Ridge Springs LLC, Marbletown, New York." Perhaps they're a fishermans' club or group of crazy Christianist apocalyptarians.
Back at the house, I gave Michæl a tour of the greenhouse to show off the maturity of my tomatoes. He's been there before but he couldn't help marveling at the greenhouse itself and how much work it represented.
Gretchen ended up having a ladies' night out down in New Paltz with Nancy and Sarah the Vegan, leaving me on my own to drink booze and watch teevee. What man doesn't want to spend the occasional evening this way? Even Mitt Romney wishes he could somehow do it without burning in Mormon hell.
The map of things we saw today. The Stick Trail is in red, the Farm Road is in dark blue. Just south of its end is a "pond icon" representing the Duke of Luxemburg's new pool. Further southwest is a "falls icon" representing the Canary Falls. From there the new logging road we discovered is represented in purple, and the artificial pond is represented by the southmost "pond icon."
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