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We weaved our way north through the tiny routes that led us to the top of the higher mountains within the Catskills. Starting with a quick zip through Woodstock, where we were downright amused to see the prevailing symbol of hippie dippie peace and love stocked with junk shops exhibiting capitalistic aggression as far as the eye could see, we quickly passed into less populated areas where trees, streams, and lakes consumed our view.
Climbing the mountains was slow going at times, but we eventually found ourselves at a small parking lot about a quarter mile from a path that would lead to the Kaaterskill Falls. The previously mentioned hiking book warned me of the dangers of walking from the parking spot to the trail entrance; there were basically no paths but the two-lane road to follow which us and a few other visitors scaled, hoping oncoming traffic would be sympathetic to our lack of sidewalks. They were; as far as I could tell, nobody important was run over or forced over the edge of the mountain.
With the ground very wet, the hike to the Falls was quite exhausting. While the guidebook called the hike "moderately easy," I was moderately dead on my feet by time I reached the main attraction after climbing uphill over thousands of boulders. But, having survived what few other people apparently tried to walk, I was the only person at the foot of the falls for my entire visit. Had I not been thinking my heart was going to explode from the hike (on top of the other long walks earlier in the day and a, perhaps, unnecessary cup of coffee), I may not have appreciated the Falls as much; but given the slight probability that any breath could have been my last, watching the water fall from such a height was truly remarkable. Kaaterskill is the highest falls in the state of New York and fulfilled my desire to see a natural wonder close-up.