Pre-Spring Thaw

spring thaw

The heavy hand of winter begins to soften during March although it reappears in the evenings and overstays its visit until midday most times. With the strengthening of the sun, the spawn of old man winter, snow, begins to thaw creating streams from the mountaintops resulting in small rivers downstream.

The problem of course is the unexpected warmer than norm temperatures which turn the slow melt into a fast thaw resulting in an enormity of water that cannot be absorbed by the still frozen earth. The icy waters then begin an assault on most anything within its path taking softening ground on a damaging ride; some trees are uprooted and large boulders sitting for eons create a change of the waters route. A temporary water lane which will completely fade when summer appears leaving behind an almost invisible scar on the hillsides.

A fast thaw brings mud.

Slick, slippery, oozing, slimy mud making a trek a torturous ordeal. One of the characters in Ordeal on Bearpen Mountain, Roc Menello found it out the hard way when he decided upon a late day hike into unfamiliar terrain. It wasn’t the only danger he came upon.

How would you handle the situation if it were you lost that late day?

In the 2nd book of Bearpen Saga,”Danger on Bearpen Mountain” to be released soon, the heavy waters from melting snow become a target for terrorists seeking large scale destruction.

The Rural Crime Adventures merges drama, comedy with local lore and interesting tidbits of history into a fast paced story.


Final Stages of “Danger At Bearpen Mountain”

country rd

Coming Soon!

The second book in the Bearpen Saga is a high paced story with an emphasis on a terrorist plot against the NYC water supply targeting the Pepacton Reservoir.

Another goal of the attack is to destroy the feeling of security in rural America by killing innocent residents living  within the less travelled back roads.

The dramatic tale takes the reader from the Catskills to Germany, Syria and back with a dynamic cast of characters, intense  current events, local daily life all  accented by our local cast of heroes who become involved in protecting their rural village & hamlet from foreign invaders.

Former dairy farmer turned drug dealer, Clay Stanton reappears after escaping to parts unknown living his life on the lam and the incredible team of Lester & Marcy Cambridge become involved in the strategy against the terrorist plot.

The Saga can be read in any order although some characters are introduced in Ordeal on Bearpen and are involved in Danger on Bearpen as well. Both books will provide tidbits of history and local lore to add dimension to the story.

Some History on Roxbury, NY where the story takes place

Most of the story occurs at rural & remote Bearpen Mountain partly located within the Roxbury Township although two characters Lester & Marcy Cambridge are residents of the town itself. They have a Victorian home on the west side of Main Street with Kirkside Park as their backyard.

Here’s a glimpse of the park and its story:

They’ll become your favorite people also!

Meet two influential Characters in the story who are also involved in the 2nd book in the Bearpen Saga series to be published this year. They are Lester and Marcy Cambridge the official Town Historians who have a penchant for feeding folks both history and a robust meal.

The elderly couple often uses their century old residence on Main Street as an impromptu police headquarters where Les a retired Land Surveyor assists the law by applying his knowledge of the surrounding forests and mountains.

Marcy has a habit of off keyed singing as she parades her baked goods and meals for anyone who shows up at her table.
Both characters add comic relief and sobriety to the story line and are two of my favorite personalities in the novels.

Here’s an excerpt:

“The white clapboard Victorian house was located within the village of Roxbury and was recognizable by a large hand painted sign hanging in the front yard. The sign was a proud proclamation that the occupants were the ‘TOWN HISTORIANS”.

The house once was a handsome declaration of wealth and privilege but through current negligence, it seemed now as though it was the poor stepchild of its neighboring residences. The town had once been the home of the railroad magnate, Jay Gould who married a wealthy woman who was a Shepherd. The past elegance of the town was evident from the styles and construction of the homes that lined the tree lined street. All the homes had been erected during the 18th century and the majority of them had been renovated to recapture their earlier charm.

Corey parked his vehicle in the snow-covered driveway behind an older model Saturn. The untidy car seemed out of place in this town where everyone drove either a pick up or SUV. He walked up the three steps onto the porch and noticed the aged wicker furniture arranged as though it was more of a decoration than a functional thing.
He tapped the knocker against the well-worn front door and could hear the voice of a man summoning someone to get the door.
He could hear the heavy thump of footsteps resounding louder with each subsequent step until the door was opened by a woman who was both short and round. Her gray hair was combed in a Buster Brown style was neatly attired in a dated dress and it was obvious to Corey that her appearance could be considered as frumpy. “Hello Mrs. Cambridge, I’m Corey Manion . Thanks for letting me meet with you today.”

Marcy ushered him into a vestibule furnished with antique beveled wall mirrors framed with mahogany that had coat hooks attached to it. The inner door was propped open with a cast iron cat that replicated a sleeping feline. The aroma in the house reminded one of musty papers with a hint of mildew. Corey immediately liked the elderly lady; she reminded him of a person who was incapable of harming a soul and sensed a naïve streak in her.

As he entered the formal parlor he was greeted by a heavyset man who was seated in a recliner surrounded by stacks of reading material sitting in piles atop of two snack tables. He had a comical look especially with the two pairs of glasses that were squeezed onto his flabby face. Corey noticed the contradiction in appearance of this man from that of most of the local population in these hills.
The locals had a hardy weathered look and Mr. Cambridge appeared not to have spent much time outdoors. He was wearing a rumpled plaid shirt and a pair of equally rumpled blue chino pants held up by suspenders that seemed to have been stretched beyond the point that they were designed. The sparse hair that topped his head was as messy as his clothing looked yet seemed apt for this man. Lester did not budge from the chair but squinted through his glasses at the young visitor who had extended his hand to shake that of the proprietor of the residence who seemed unaccustomed to the ritual.

He moved his chubby hand into Corey’s but offered little in way of a manly shake. Corey was taught by his pop that a man’s character was reflected in the way he shook another man’s hand. Next to the recliner that supported the enormity of Lester was a Wing Back chair that Marcy asked that he sit in. The parlor was neatly kept if you ignored the immediate vicinity that surrounded Lester. The furniture was aged, but it was apparent that at least one of the home’s occupants was a person who took pride in the way the place was kept and it did not take much of an imagination to guess who that person was.

Marcy sat on the large high back couch that faced the two chairs. “Mr. Manion would you like a beverage as we sit and chat?” she asked in a neighborly way. “I’ll take a cold drink Marcy since you are offering,” piped Lester in an excited voice. “Maybe some snacks too!” he added. Corey declined the offer and asked the folks to address him by his first name. Marcy ignored Lester’s request and asked Corey to tell them something about himself and since he was a recent addition to the area, they held a special interest in other people’s life story”

Yourself in a dramatic change of events. What do you……

Picture yourself in a bucolic setting where each day mirrors the other. The major change in your world is the changing of the seasons that have dictated primary chores for an eternity.

A life living in the hills, hollows and forested mounbearpen-26-15tains which punctuates the region.

Add to this the understanding how your life could be limitedly impacted by the 21st Century if you would keep trips outside the mountainous valley to a minimum.

Relatively safe, guarded, defensible although far from non physical.

Then consider it being turned around by forces you have little control over.

Is it easier to counter a threat in rural America or elsewhere? Who do you rely on? What do you do and how will you do it?

Native Americans and Bearpen Mountain

There’s scant information regarding any major villages within the Bearpen Mountain vicinity although it probably was used as a hunting location by the Delaware Indians who populated the region. Most of the Native Inhabitants made camp near the Delaware River and the East Branch and probably used the interior of the dense and mountainous forests as a way to travel to other regions while settling in more habitable locations.

Anyone familiar with the area could understand why although I usually question as to the reason pioneers settled in the desolate mountains and hollows that populate the Catskill Region. It was a hardscrabble way of life to eke out an existence among the bear, mountain lions and wolf packs that were prevalent. Take into consideration that the hard clay soil didn’t encourage nor support farming.

The Delaware Indians are referred to as Tuscarora, Lenape, Mohawk, Esopus, Mohicans although most early references to the first inhabitants simply identify them as ‘Indians.’

Some interesting reading on Delaware County is linked here:

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