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Thursday, June 5, 2014

Untouched Eden

Rocks at Kaaterskill Falls, 10X8, oil, by little ol' me.
I am going to leave it to my friends to argue about whether Kaaterskill Falls—at 260 feet—is the highest waterfall in New York, but it’s certainly a contender. And no busloads of tourists are going to roar by and disgorge occupants for 15-minutes visits, either, since you have to bushwack up the side of a mountain to get to the cascade’s base.

The trail is typical for New York parks. Not developed, but safe enough.
Nevertheless, it’s a pilgrimage site for anyone interested in the Hudson River painters, for it is an iconic image for them, defining wilderness to the romantic 19th century mind. And not just painters got in on the act. William Cullen Bryant wrote an ode to the waterfall that ends in youthful death.

MIDST greens and shades the Catterskill leaps,
From cliffs where the wood-flower clings;
All summer he moistens his verdant steeps
With the sweet light spray of the mountain springs;
And he shakes the woods on the mountain side,
When they drip with the rains of autumn tide…

Not the smartest footwear.
The last time I hiked in sports sandals (on the T Lake Trail in Piseco, NY) I sprained my ankle, so I was loathe to climb without proper footwear. Jamie Williams Grossman loaned me a hiking pole, however, and  I gingerly set out after my fellow painters.

Kaaterskill Falls, 10X8, oil, by little ol' me.
My pack is still too heavy, but the climb itself proved to be no problem. I made two sketches before it was time to leave. There are at least a hundred more there, awaiting a return visit.

There are still a few openings in my 2014 workshop in Belfast, ME. Information is available here.

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