Tag Archives: hippies

Frost Valley #7: Hippies & Women

During my stay in Frost Valley, there were a few times Stan and I would run into folks who ignored the No Trespassing signs and pulled off the road to park beside Clear Creek for a picnic or camp-out.

One night we were driving back from a meeting of the volunteer fire department in Claryville when Stan impressed me by noticing some bent grass beside the road. Sure enough, following the tracks just past the willows we came upon a car. We kindly let the occupants gather themselves before politely letting them know they’d have to move along.

Another night Stan brought the Scout to a screeching halt in front of the barn I was staying in. The urgency in his voice startled me and I jumped up when hearing he needed my help. The Scout kicked gravel as we sped to the caretaker’s house, where Stan ran in and got his sidearm, something I had no idea he had. Then we were off, speeding down the valley while he explained he’d come across a bunch of hippies camping on the property and there were lots of them and he needed my backup while controlling the situation.

We have to remember, this was 1969. The battle of Vietnam was being fought on the home front as well as in Asia. Lines were drawn between long haired hippies and decent society. Both had their fears of one another.

Well. Stan knew I was something of a hippy. Even though I had cut my hair short to avoid confrontation on the back roads of America, I was, after all, hitching about the country and not in the war.

I don’t remember much about that fast ride a few miles down the twisty road, but I do remember keeping a calm voice and trying to mellow the situation out—all the while hoping we did not run into a camp of armed jackasses demanding some claim to camping that the State of New York did not grant them.

We got to the little service road leading to the hippy’s hidden spot and turned in. The camp had been picked up and their vehicles were in the last stages of being packed. Perhaps thanks to my being there Stan was able to see there was no threat coming from these young people in clothes that harkened back to our great-grandparents.

Stan ended up apologizing for having to kick them off the land and then explained there were public camping spots up the valley, owned by New York State. By this time it was dark and Stan continued, “You might have trouble finding the turn off. Follow me. I’ll take you there.”

My heart sings to this day, thinking of Stan jumping the divide that separated our nation.

Shortly after the hippy incident, we were in the Scout checking out the property when Stan observed, “You know, Dean. I’ve noticed. Every time I have to kick out hippies they always clean everything up real good. I never have had to pick up one scrap of anything. But these damned middle-aged women. They seem to think they can leave crap all over the place and everyone else should clean up after them.“

I quit worrying about hippies getting hurt in Frost Valley.

On The Road #11, Hippies

Two overgrown tracks of a forgotten road lead my way north, over a ridge in the foothills of the Pocono Mountains, and into the next watershed. My pant legs and shoes were wet with dew from the grass growing in the tracks and the brush crowding out the road. The forest floor was spongy with April thaw. But the air—Ah! The air!—was clear as coastal rain and filled with the scent of awakening forest, a clean mustiness from wood and leaves beginning to decay in the warming air.

It must have taken me several hours to walk those abandoned ruts through the woods but all I remember is the coolness and quiet, the light through the woods, and the delicious air.

Just as Ann had promised, I came upon a paved road. I turned right. Before long a substantial bridge was in sight. Several hundred yards before I reached the bridge a guy on a bicycle came up behind me.

Ann had said there were some hippies l might want to run into over here and, it seemed, one had run into me. A lanky quiet guy with the long hair and patchy clothes of the tribe, he stopped his bike and we chatted a bit. He said, yea, his bunch of hippies were staying at a place just back up the road and he was headed to town for some food. He figured it would be OK for me to crash the night, but everyone else was out of town and wouldn’t be back until late. So I sat on the handlebars of his bike and  he peddled us across the Delaware River to Narrowsburg, New York.narrowburg

On the way a car passed and stopped so the lady in the passenger seat could bark at us about riding on the wrong side of the road. I barked back that it was safer facing traffic and she rebarked about the law. That was the end of it. When we were on our way again the guy peddling the bike moved to the other side of the road and quietly said he found it best to not bark when barked at. Just listen and go along. He was right, of course. Those darned hippies and their logically peaceful ways.

That evening we chatted and I painted some little esoteric image on their wall. I was looking forward to meeting everyone but got tired and rolled my sleeping bag out on the floor of one of the bedrooms. It was hard but dry.

I was nudged awake with the sound of anxious voices coming through the door and soon knew the anxiety was over me. “But I don’t think he’s like that,” the guy from the bike was saying. He was being challenged with how careful they have to be. How many people are out to get them. How easy it is to screw up.

I heard the door to my room open and someone walk in. Not being one for confrontation I maintained my most angelic appearance of slumbering innocence. The door closed.

By the next morning there were only myself and the guy from the bike in the house.

And that was my night with the Merry Pranksters.

On The Road #10, Ann & Jerry part 4

I enjoyed two delicious days at Ann and Jerry’s little cabin resort in the Pocono Mountains. Two days chatting and playing chess and doing odd jobs in the damp chill of April, 1969. Two days of enjoying Ann’s delicious (and HOT!) cooking! Two nights in a dry, soft, warm bed.

It was a heavenly break from walking the back roads of eastern Pennsylvania, but the chores of spring cleaning were done. It was time to move on.

Along with chats about pot and gays and alternate life styles, Ann and Jerry had shown an interest in my plans, such as they were. On a map I had noticed a little black line of a road through the Catskill Mountains and was generally drifting that way if nothing came up to divert me. They told me they had heard a bunch of hippies were staying just outside of Narrowsburg, New York. Narrowsburg was on the Delaware river, just across the boarder from Pennsylvania, and on my way. Ann suggested that if I wanted to run into them she knew a short cut going over the hills instead of following the river.

So, on the second day after I first ran into Ann getting her mail beside the river, they led me from their delicious breakfast table, away from the river, back past the cabin I had been sleeping in, and pointed out a set of overgrown tracks leading into the Pocono Mountains. Filled with brush and high grasses, the tracks were mostly visible by the clearing they made in the trees. My feet stepped into the wet foliage and I began a day’s walk over the ridge to the next drainage north, where I had been assured I’d run into a road leading to Narrowsburg.

There are few things more spongy and aromatic and quiet than the dewy broadleaf forests of the eastern United States in the early spring, just as the snow has melted and the grasses have greened and the woody plants are only beginning to unfurl their leaves.