Hiking our forest is a way to be 3ft, 6ft, 600ft, or even 6 miles away from the nearest person and possibly the best way to soothe body, mind and spirit during these testing times. New York State is waiving all park fees in state, local and county parks according to the latest news on the NY State website, which will no doubt encourage everyone to get outdoors. Enjoy one of the Catskills’ easiest hikes, the Kelly Hollow Loop, in the northeastern slopes of Balsam Lake Mountain Wild Forest that has an elevation gain of about 500ft making is suitable for all ages, including seniors who are probably self-isolating and need to get outside the most.
The trailhead and parking area for the Kelly Hollow Trail is on Mill Brook Road about five miles or so further west from the Balsam Lake Mountain Wild Forest trailhead and parking area on Mill Brook Road, which is where you pick up the blue-blazed Dry Brook Ridge trail that runs south towards Balsam Lake Mountain with its fire tower. So if you’re much fitter and need something more strenuous, you could do both the Kelly Hollow Loop and the hike down Dry Brook Ridge to the Balsam Lake Fire tower in one day. So there’s something for the whole family on this short stretch of Mill Brook Road, due south of Arkville, NY.
Here in the Catskills a high percentage of the population are seniors and retirees, so the community is taking social distancing and self-quarantine very seriously. Gatherings, even of small groups like book clubs and language classes, have been cancelled, but we still need to support local businesses to keep them up and running. There has been much laughing over why there is no toilet paper. Why is toilet paper a rarity but fine Belgian beer and fabulous chocolate freely available in bulk? Strange. Perhaps because there are no leaves on the trees yet?
The natural world recently got a break when it was deemed that terms like “fire cider” are generic terms and can be used by everyone who makes the product. Companies had previously trademarked the product to stop small businesses and makers like local herbalists from using it. Now they’re able to continue marketing their fire cider products. Go here to learn about making your own fire cider.
Thieves Oil is also an ancient medicinal potion that dates back to the Middle Ages when Europe was devastated by the Great Plague that was so contagious that it killed one hundred thousand of people in London alone, which was a quarter of the population. It was only stopped in London by the Great Fire of 1666 that swept through the city. Before that however, there was a band of thieves that went through London robbing the wealthy people who had succumbed to the plague. The thieves were caught and the judge demanded to ask how they had not contracted the disease and died. They gave the recipe for this natural sanitizer that they had doused over themselves and covered handkerchieves and face masks. It was so potent that it stopped the thieves from contracting the plague.