Hiking with an 8 year old is a fantastical adventure. The forest along the Scarface Mountain trail was the scene of an epic struggle between the leaf men and boggans (see the movie Epic if you don’t know what a boggan is). Several future episodes of Lego adventures (directed by Alex and dad and to be played on location in Alex’s room) were planned. And new updates to Minecraft PE were explained to a dad who doesn’t know how to create a nether portal. And don’t forget September 19th is National Talk like a pirate day.
But it is also a real adventure. Crossing the railroad tracks is always a treat. The bridge across Ray Brook feels like a jungle river crossing. There were was the old foundation of some long lost building. There was the scrambling down the creek instead of the trail. And then there was the bear…
About a hundred yards down the trail from the summit Alex went back to get his stick that he had found on the way and had used for various things including a pirate hook hand (see note above about talk like a pirate day). When he returned I decided to go back up to take a screen shot on my phone showing our location at the summit. When I returned Alex said, “Dad I heard a low rumble while you were gone.” “Really? Maybe it was an airplane,” I responded although I had not heard one. “No, it sounds like this.” Alex then made a sound that I could barely hear. “Maybe it was a bear,” I joked. We kept walking. No more than 5 minutes later we saw two hikers coming our way. “You just scared a bear this way,” one of the hikers said. I recognized him as Floyd Lampart, retired from NYSDEC and cycling extraordinaire. They proceeded to tell us that a large bear came within a few feet of them, apparently spooked by Alex and me!
Did Alex really hear a bear? As far as he and his dad are concerned, yes!
Scarface Mountain doesn’t provide sweeping views from a bald summit like Ampersand or St. Regis and the trail seems long for the meager reward of viewless summit and limited views. The beauty of Scarface is more subtle and can be found all along the trail. But to enjoy it one must slow down and explore.
The Scarface Mountain trail isn’t known for extreme high adventure but take an eight year old boy as your hiking companion and you’ll be rewarded with an epic journey that will take you places you can only imagine.