As Jeff Vincent explained a couple of months ago in our conversation, “one day of hiking with somebody, you feel like you’ve known them for months and months” and it’s true. Jeff runs Catskill Mountain Wild, an outdoor guide business and he is also authorized to conduct marriages on top of mountains in what he calls “wild weddings”.
Regular readers already know about my love of tea and my obsession with Earl in Paris from Organic Traveler’s Tea, which makes a delicious cold brew that I take on the road. Yes, I travel with the Traveler’s, which is an organic tea that’s blended and sold locally. Now that the weather’s good for hiking, I’ve found tea that’s perfect to take up a mountain: Trekker’s Reprieve. You can cold brew it or take bags up a mountain and make sun tea with it while you eat your lunch. It’s gunpowder green with orange peel, spearmint, cinnamon and blue vervain. Blue vervain is a native plant from the mint family that grows all over the American prairies, meadows and plains and allegedly revered as a herb of great healing powers by the ancient Greeks. According to the USDA, it’s used internally to treat depression, fevers, coughs, cramps, jaundice, and headaches. So it’s healing for the hiker, tasty and refreshing. The citrus element serves to repel insects although nothing will stop the flies from dive-bombing your eyeballs.
Tim and Jess Luby own the Storehouse in Phoenicia. Last year, they were married on Giant Ledge, having hiked two miles in wedding attire and hiking boots.
JN: What brought you to the Catskills?
TL: The mountains. When Jess and I started dating, we both enjoyed hiking, so we planned a trip up there.
The ultimate space saver, this towel expands from the size of a tablet (bigger than advil, but much smaller than a champagne cork) to the size of a face cloth. Throw a handful in your backpack and then simply dunk one in water with a drop of soap for a convenient outdoor bath.
It all starts innocently enough. One uniquely New York City 105-degree scorcher during which the breeze sears your face and you contemplate frying an egg on the sidewalk. Freckles pop up on your cheeks in real time. Someone suggests camping again and this time you don’t laugh in their face. Now facing another blazing, humid weekend without air-conditioning, you’re ready to click together your ironic Mary Janes and chant: “there’s no place like the forest!”
Camping is one of the best activities America has to offer. Stunning scenery and plenty of room for everyone (including kids, pets, gear and cars) combine to provide a thoroughly refreshing alternative to the city. Camping is the “gateway drug” to country life, especially for those who work remotely. If you can work anywhere, why not a bolt-hole in the woods? You can’t find out the temperature by popping outside in your underwear in New York City.
Camping relaxes even the most hardened city folk. Just the first few gulps of fresh air on the Taconic State Parkway have you thinking you can taste green. As you drive up Route 87 with the car window down, you can feel the remarkably hefty burdens of the city fly off into the wind like jettisoned cargo. As you pull into the campsite at dusk, you wonder what all the fuss was about back in the Big Smoke: a big fuss about nothing. Your editor was once an inveterate city girl but this is how you get turned. Continue reading