Saturday, August 15, 2020

Into the Woods

Dateline: Cattaraugus County, western New York state

In all the time I've been here I'd never before been to the State Forest. Or rather the State Forests. These pockets of wooded idyll are dotted around the landscape. Occasionally you see a rustic wooden notice, bump along a country lane  and find yourself lost in the simple splendour of nature. No car park, no visitor centre, no manicured trails, camp sites or collections of cabins. Best of all, no sentry box asking you to cough up some money as happens in the State Parks. The State Forests are a simpler, wilder experience. And when you see a path like this....

With the sun glittering through the trees, an incredible stillness in the air, save for the rustling of deer scampering out of the bushes, you want to keep on walking forever - around the next corner, and the one after that, wondering if you'll ever reach the top of the hill.  And there's no one around. It's social distancing heaven. It's so quiet that you notice things lying on the ground. What's this? Autumn already?

Of course you're never truly free of the scourges of modern life. The barrier to stop cars going up the path had suspicious ruts on either side. The local citizenry on those noisy off-road tractor things probably. But they weren't there today.

  Plus you can never really get away from the strange times we live in. What does that piece of paper say?

Wouldn't you know. Even out here. 

And another of the special charms of rural America. Roads signs used for target practice.

If you don't believe me, look at the other side.

But we'll definitely be back to the State Forest again. Just don't tell too many people about it.

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