A Bad Birder, Some Bicyclists and a Battlefield

Photo Credit: howardignatius via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: howardignatius via Compfight cc


“I don’t know if I can do this,” I said to my husband, Jerome The Great and Good, as we left the parking lot and approached the beginning of the uphill trail to the Stony Point Battlefield Lighthouse, “I’m not in shape.”

He said, “There’s no rush. Whenever you’re tired, we’ll stop and rest.”

We took two steps up the path, and I stopped and rested.

With another couple of steps upward, the immortal words of The Sound of Music were resounding in my sweaty ears.

Climb every mountain; ford every stream.

Follow every rainbow, till you find your dream.”

My dream was survive the climb to the lighthouse so that I could then go home and reward myself with a big fat lox and onions omelet washed down with one or two Bloody Mary’s. Mmm just the thought of the meal propelled me forward.

I had been to the lighthouse before. If one could make it up the hill, one would be rewarded with a wonderful view of the Hudson Highlands as well as an educational tour of an historic Revolutionary War Battlefield.

As we turned the corner to the beginning of the trail, I saw a guy sitting on a bench. Next to him was  a box filled with bottles of water, white sandwich bags, and oranges. As Jerome and I trudged past him, I croaked out a hello.

He looked down at his box of food and pretended not to hear me.

“Snotty bastard,” I mumbled to Jerome. “He must have heard me say I was out of shape and dreaming of food.  I really hate him.”

As Jerome and I were midway on the hill toward the lighthouse, we looked back down at the beginning of the trail. The guy with the box was surrounded by a swarm of bicycle riders. Oh no.

All I wanted was some peace and quiet and a bit of exercise to justify my upcoming meal and beverage. Now at the top, we would be surrounded by the bicyclists. Were they actually going to ride up the hill to the lighthouse?

“Let’s hurry,” I said to Jerome. “There’s only one bench up there and I want it.” My plan was to sit on the bench and enjoy the view. Maybe I’d stroll around with my binoculars and try to find one bird I could recognize.

I really have issues with some bicycle riders.  In addition to riding double and hogging the road, they are the biggest outdoor snobs in a world of outdoor snobs. Trust me. I know.

Did you ever meet a bicycle gang at a rest-stop?  You’re standing there chowing down on your donut, and they’re standing there sipping their water. You try to make conversation. Ah, forget conversation—how about just plain eye contact!   If you’re not wearing spandex, or if you’re a trifle wide in the rump, you’re invisible.

Jerome and I pressed on, reached the top of the mountain, and he plopped down on the bench and immediately started snoring. I sat next to him, trying to catch my breath.  I figured if the bicyclists came, I would definitely move into serious birding mode.  Serious birding for me is also called “pretend birding” because I am the world’s worst birder.

I heard the bicyclists. They were walking up the hill.

As I heard the bicyclists coming up the hill, you would have thought I was Audubon. Grabbing my binoculars, I headed toward a low cluster of mountain shrubs.

Interesting! Without their bikes, the tight-assed ones were a huffin’ and puffin’ when they reached the top of the hill. They collapsed on the grassy knoll surrounding the bench where Jerome was snoring.

“Oh, God, I’m dying,” said one of them. He mopped his brow and gulped his water.

“Well now! How-do-you-do! Ha! Ha! Hee! Hee!” is what I was thinking.Of course I didn’t say anything because I was pretending that the bicyclists were invisible. Besides, I was much too busy scanning the shrubs with my binoculars

“See any interesting birds?” asked one of the bicyclists.

He actually talked to me!

“Oh, so many ,” I shared. “too many to name.” It was time for Jerome and me to scram.

Two Bloody Mary’s and two lox and onion omelets were awaiting our triumphant return from our hike.





How Really Cool People Go Hiking in the Wilderness

On this Earth Day I am contemplating the great outdoors.  Here is how Really Cool People go hiking in the wild.

Really Cool People:

  • Always wear red or khaki bandanas,
  • Never wear pink flowered scarves designed to draw the eye upwards and away from the butt.
  • Always carry matches.
  • Never carry handbags.
  • Always pack a light snack of nuts and raisins and lots of water.
  • Never pack pickled herring with creamed onions in a Tupperware container.
  • Always squint their eyes and say words like “I reckon…”
  • Never screw up their noses and say words like “Oy.”
  • Always have weather-beaten feral faces and look formidable.
  • Never have flushed sweaty faces and look like they are about to drop dead.
  • Always wear weathered khaki short shorts, and baseball caps.
  • Never wear blue plaid Bermuda shorts with a matching baby blue solid shirt, and a white sunhat with chin straps.
  • Always nod and say hello to other hikers who look just like them.
  • Never acknowledge people like me.