I always like to get outside when I’m upstate, but my dad and I tend to have bad luck with weather, getting rained out more often than not. It’s not all bad, since we get to see a lot of movies, but I can see movies at home. When I’m that close to the woods, I want to be IN the woods. This time, there was a storm blowing in, but it managed to hold off until we were down off the mountain.
The view from somewhere approaching the top. I spent a lot of the hike telling my dad the entire narrative arc of Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air, which is about a disastrous mountain-climbing expedition, and some highlights from The Tiger by John Vaillant, which is about a man-eating tiger that stalks and eats people in the snowy woods of eastern Siberia (“And they were walking single file. JUST LIKE WE ARE DOING RIGHT NOW.”).
This weird snowmelt pattern kept turning up all over the place. It didn’t seem to be located in a way that dripping trees could have explained. In some places, it was almost a trail, like here, and in some places was spread out over a wider area. Aliens, most likely. I hear they really like the Berkshires.
It wouldn’t be an outing with my dad without at least one “Go stand over there. I’ll take your picture,” so here I am, standing over there. I didn’t bring actual hiking clothes with me, having looked at the weather forecast and expecting that we’d be going to the movies again, so I’m just wearing jeans and my normal black leather motorcycle boots and my favorite cashmere sweater. But I comforted myself that in all of the Scottish-set mysteries I read, the native hill walkers snicker at the city folk dressed up in brightly colored nylon clothing and futuristic shoes, all just to do a little walking. For a couple of hours on a relatively mild day, my normal clothes did me just fine.
We had a great, if steep, hike and then drove up to Vermont and ate a fantastic dinner at my brother’s restaurant. He’s been serving local rabbit for a while and makes an appetizer with it that’s very, very good, though I can’t remember offhand exactly what he does with it. But the night we were there, the man who raises the rabbits was also going to be coming in and he’d called ahead of time to ask Geoff to make him something special off menu. And since my brother knows that I like special things, he made an extra serving in case I wanted to try it. I didn’t take a picture, since it was pretty dark in there and I don’t really like taking photos of my food in restaurants anyway, but I can’t imagine it would have done it justice in any case. He started by making rabbit and fennel sausage, then pounded a rabbit loin thin, rolled the sausage mixture inside, and braised it in what I’m going to call Awesome Sauce, since I don’t think I ever knew what was in it and it was, in fact, awesomesauce. Then he sliced the little loin bundle into roulades, arranged them on a pile of celery that had been braised in rabbit stock, which was itself settled in the middle of a puddle of Awesome Sauce, and laid some roasted asparagus on top. I actively dislike celery and it was still one of the most delicious things I’ve had in recent memory. It was just … perfect. All of the elements came together perfectly and created something that was much greater than the sum of its parts. It was a fantastic end to a fantastic day.