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Grandfather told me that he rode in a more spirited manner as he followed the old Sullivan Military trail. Making up for lost time he knew he would be in Jericho the next day. His camp on the eighth night was spent in another evening downpour, however, the rain stopped after a few hours.


Grandfather continued his story. “A few stars poked their heads out between the drifting clouds and a partial moon was visible from time to time. A warm breeze started drying the underbrush and my evening company consisted of a hoot owl, several small mice who were trying to steal food, and a ferocious looking fisher with beady eyes, black fur and the quick movements of a weasel. I fashioned my cloak into a lean-to with the help of a few dead branches and some twine. For the second time on this trip I slept somewhat peacefully.”


The next morning’s ride quickly brought him to the end of the military trail. It was back to the compass and map at regular intervals. However, Grandfather told me that he made more use of the sun’s direction than the compass. He came to the edge of a rain swollen stream but decided not to cross it.


Grandfather told me more of his story and the decisions he had to make. 


“There will probably be several streams between here and Jericho so I will cross only those streams necessary,” he said to himself. “And this stream runs in my direction, I will be riding parallel to it, so it will not delay me.”


And on he rode. Several streams that emerged out of the Katskills joined the main stream that he was following. These were not difficult to cross. Each of them had sufficient water but none were overfull.


On the other side of the stream, the one that Grandfather was following, things were quite different. Each of those streams was emptying the hills opposite him. These streams were roaring. The stream he was following grew larger and more ferocious. From time to time Grandfather would have to move to a higher elevation to avoid the flooded flatlands. It eventually grew wider as the valley flattened out. This had the effect of slowing the stream down. The stream became a river; a wide dirty morass of floating logs, branches and dead weeds that had been freed by the rising waters.


Luck was with Grandfather. He began to find foot trails to follow. Every once in a while he noticed horse droppings on the trails. They were old and there were no hoof prints to be seen. Still, this was encouraging to him. He knew he must be approaching a settlement.


© wtomosky