Our intrepid group met on the steps of the Brooklyn Public Library on Grand Army Plaza and departed at 10:45 am

We dipped into the park, heading off for the “Vale of Cashmere”. None of us, including myself, had ever done this before. I didn’t know if it was going to be a rather pedestrian walkabout, where we felt like tourists, or where we were going to truly be surprised and even a little delighted by our discoveries.

As soon as we arrived at the three empty, abandoned fountains of the “Vale of Cashmere” a portentous sign greeted us. One of the sunken pools held six stumps, arranged in a circle and the ideal height and breadth for SLACK-EM. We had found a hidden Slackemdome, complete with an absurd amount of benches, enough to seat a lodge at each abandoned pool.

We carried on into the forest of Midwood, and the second checkpoint was when we were so far into the woods you could hear no traffic, no sounds of other people and see no buildings. We were now officially on a hike in the woods.

We found “Rick’s Place” (signed but not on the map) which we speculated was named for the raccoon “Ranger Rick”. Turns out it was for a park ranger known for playing a headless man on Halloween.

There was also a fun ton and a half of cement in the middle of nowhere which was rather mysterious. There was also a hydrant in the middle of nowhere.

We entered the fields of Nevermead (no, I am not making these names up) under the bridge of the same name. Several of our teens, locals of Brooklyn, had never been to this part of the park before. Others had faced Minotaurs and Harpies here, with Camp Half-Blood, which always makes you reminisce a bit.

We found a tree there that yielded a sort of brain-shaped fruit and had a built-in climbing bar. We then dipped back into the woods to visit the Ravine. We then got really ambitions and trucked it all the way around the lake to the south. I had taken a wrong turn, accomplishing my second goal of getting lost and adding over a mile to our full hike. We followed the shoreline past folks practicing their native dances and Rastafari picnicking by the lakeside. It looks like we covered about 4.5 miles total.

We joined Rebecca and others just as the cider event was beginning at 1 pm. That fresh-pressed apple cider never tasted so good!

Thanks, Jed, Kate, Sam, Sasha, Sadie, Gus, Jon, Willa and Harry for a very memorable morning. I hope we can do this again sometime!

Photo credit to Johnson C Ho.

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