All’s well that ends well. But for a moment, we thought we were doomed.
It was a glorious Easter morning, March 23. We had just finished a joyous sunrise service on the aptly named Gospel Hill Road. We were a small band of intrepid Bullthistle Hikers out to explore the notorious Grog Hollow. The area is a part of the Wiley Brook State Forest straddling the town border between Guilford and Oxford.
Grog Hollow is famous for hosting the legendary resident monster of Chenango County. Bob McNitt first broke the story nearly three decades ago in The Evening Sun, October 31, 1979, page 12. He ran a follow-up on October 31, 1980, page 10. In the same newspaper on August 8, 2005, page 18, I described a previous, fruitless search for the monster. This year we hit the jackpot. Here are the harrowing details of our death-defying adventure.
As we cautiously approached the extensive beaver meadow that nestles in the Hollow, we marveled how spooky the dead trees looked, even in the bright early sunlight. The snow covering the wetland looked like white frosting on a cake. The trunks of the dead trees resembled candles. The previous day was my 74th birthday and I, proud of my status as an old geezer, was counting the “candles.” My hiking buddies had paused for a refreshing slug of stale coffee and some yummy bunny-shaped sweetie cookies. We were enjoying the eerie silence of this mysterious plot of treacherous wilderness.