Last week I took my first camping trip up to the Catskills, just 2.5 hours from New York City with friends Monte and Amy. I took advantage of exploring the trails around North-South Lake on the NE edge of the Catskill Range, where the legend of Rip Van Winkle took place. Because it's still early in the year, the campground at the base of the trail was closed for another week, so I had the trails to myself.
I've spent a lot of time this past year lamenting about how far away I live from the mountains and nature of the West. After last week, I now feel pretty certain that my desire to explore natural places can be pacified for the time being with what lies close by in the Catskills.