When I got to Beautiful Views Campsite, I came upon a mailbox and a grassy driveway. I drove up and parked behind the barn, then decided to leave all of my stuff in the car and explore a bit.
Exploring the Land
I found my way up the hill behind the barn. The hill itself would be a difficult inclination for comfortably pitching a tent, but luckily I found a mostly level spot at the very top near the edge of the field next to some apple trees. I didn’t find anywhere that was a suitable location for setting up my hammock, which is my preferred sleeping situation. Not to worry though, this is why I bring a tent as well!
After setting up the tent, I got some reading done as the sun started to go down. The road at the bottom of the hill is quiet. I saw very few cars go by. I had a simple meal of mac and cheese that I made out of the back of my car. I try to be careful about eating away from where I’m sleeping to prevent any sort of unwarranted animal encounters. I’m glad I was careful about that because during the night I heard a whole host of animal noises. Among the sounds I heard while awake in the tent were coyote howls, multiple types of owls, and deer snorts. I was actually woken up by a deer snorting at my tent! I must have been in its path. I tried clapping to deter the deer from my area so I could go back to sleep. This seemed to upset the deer further and it snorted more. Not only was the deer upset by my clapping, but the neighboring dogs didn’t seem to like the noise either! The dogs all started barking from the distant surrounding properties, the deer kept snorting, and then all the owls started hooting all at once. I had a moment of laughter in my tent listening to all these animals screaming at each other. Playing some music on my phone seemed to scare the angry deer away, and everything settled down soon after.
Before the wildlife uproar, I had a stargazing experience that I won’t soon forget. I had totally forgotten that I was camping during a new moon, so when it really started to get dark and I looked up to see the bright band across the sky that was the spiral arm of our galaxy I was in shock for a moment. I knew this would be a great photographic opportunity. I put my lit headlamp in the tent to show the scene at the campsite and fired off some shots. I highly recommend this area for stargazing and astrophotography. The next morning I awoke to find I was sharing the hilltop with a cloud. I had a dewy walk back to the car.
One of the nearby places I’d recommend checking out is the Mine Kill State Park. There’s a really neat rolling rocky waterfall there. Although the water levels were very low when I visited, it’s still worth the time. Being at the northern section of the Catskills, I’d also advise getting some time in on one or more of the trails in that area.
Images and writing by Calum Murray. See more: @calcentrate.