Last weekend we went hiking at North South Lake State Park. We went along a scenic ridge where at least one overlook was called Inspiration Point. I’m not really sure what anything else was called. On our way back, we came looking for the site of the Kaaterskill Hotel. It was on our map. We hadn’t actually heard of it before. I speculated on whether they would put a sign up marking the location.
At a juncture in the trail, we came upon three other hikers. They asked us if we were looking for the Kaaterskill Hotel. They told us they had been looking for it all day. Apparently there was no sign. They said they had found some cooking area and small ruins. My sister suggested that was all that was left, but they said they had seen pictures online, and there is supposed to be a lot left.
We continued along the trail to see what we could see. I pointed off the trail at a deer trail leading into sumac and suggested we should look up there because a hotel would have been built on higher more open ground. We came across some old stone foundations. It did not look like an exceptionally large building, but we had never heard of the Kaaterskill Hotel. Perhaps it was not very large.
We wanted to go to the other side to see if there was more to find, but there didn’t seem to be any way around. I hesitated to walk through the foundation and made a comment to my sister about it. She agreed that it “just felt wrong.” A friend told me once that jinn hang around ruins, but I won’t say that was what it was. It just felt wrong to walk through it. It could have been that the ground was simply less even and we feared to turn any ankle. Whatever the case we did not go through or trespass there.
We walked back down to the trail and came across the other hikers who we had seen tromping higher up. My sister asked them if they had found it. They said yes, but there wasn’t much left. We walked off into the woods in the direction they had come. There wasn’t any trail. We came across a small portion of a facade of a concrete building. There was hardly anything left.
When we got home, I looked the Kaaterskill Hotel up online. I was stunned. It had not been a small or even modest hotel. It had been a colossus, one of the grandest most expensive hotels of its day. There is something eerie to think that we had been walking there where such a place once stood, and hardly a trace was left. Not even one hundred years, and people are wandering through woods having to search to find even a small sign of it.
Surely this is one of the signs of Allah, that something that seemed so impressive and grand, so massive and strong, could vanish into woods where hikers tromp through, leaving scarcely even ruins behind.