At eight hundred feet, Phoenicia enjoys a position between Esopus Creek and Mt Tremper, which has a three mile trail that climbs almost two thousand feet in height. If I weren't planning on arriving home by Friday morning, I would give it a go. All of the major peaks of the Catskills are visible from a fire tower at the peak. A crew of volunteers now staff and manage the tower now that drones do a better job and can peer into private lives to boot.
I slept comfortably at a trail head parking lot. When I tumbled out of my Subaru at first full light, a man parked his SUV and got out, consulted me. "Do you know this trail"? As I pulled on my Birkenstocks, I answered. "Better read up on the trail. That board has maps and advice". I remembered when a man, a neighbor, asked me two weeks ago, "Is it safe to watch a water spout"? How do I look as if I have a clue? He has a cycle bought and maintained by City Hub Cycle Shop, so I assured him he had a chance of outrunning a water tornado with a life span of two or three minutes. My acquaintance read the board, which had a trail topographic map, advice on coping with bears, instructions on burning only dry and snappable wood. On sign even told how to dig a proper cathole for sanitary craps in the Catskills. Best dug in soil with lots of sun and potential soil microbes. He shook his head. "That's quite a climb". "You have good tennis shoes for it". He laughed, boarded his SUV and drove away.
Mama's Boy Market makes a community center, and I ordered a muffin and got away with sipping my coffee purchased at Valero, gas station across the street. The woman who obviously owns the shop has fussed over the clothing of three customers as I have loitered here. She hasn't said a word and each long time customer has squealed like a Pillsbury Doughboy. A man arrived wearing what could have been the outfit for a Phoenician sailor, a billowing blouse of pewter and a knee length pleated skirt. He was packing heat openly, hip holstered. He sported a badge. So I had to say. "This is an official uniform"? "Yes, sir! I am a bagpiper with the New York Police Department. Esopus Creek fills the Ashokan Reservoir, the first reservoir to quench the thirst of New York City, beginning in 1915. A force of NYPD Blues keep an eye on the water, more on duty since 911.
He might be the right man for the job. While monitoring the water for tubers pissing in the stream, this Highlander man can practices his bagpipes and make ready for the police tattoo.
The library doesn't open until One. I found most art shops closed. One staffed by a man with his two foot long goatee cinched with leather and shell ornaments had mostly vintage clothing and jewelry. I chatted with him about Phoenicia. He recommended tubing with the Tinker, a handyman who runs tubing expeditions down the Esopus. The business advertises itself as Town Tinker Tubes. I had studied the Esopus while driving into town, enough rocks to make tubing more like a bouncy game of Pachinko. A kayak would get no where fast, constantly steering around boulders. "There's a water release today", he offered. "Ask Tinker. He knows all there is to know about the Esopus". Indeed, a tunnel from an uphill reservoir flows into the Esopus before it flows into Ashokan Reservoir.