Fanciful carvings

Zurich’s old buildings often carry elaborate carvings.

As I walk the quiet streets of the neighborhoods on the Zürichberg hillside we call home, I try to look up from time to time.  Many of these multi-family apartment buildings used to be, I believe, grand homes of wealthy businessmen perhaps a century ago, and each has its own distinctive style.  Many have elaborate ironwork on the balcony railings, or classical figures carved in relief. The lion is especially common, because two appear on Zürich’s coat of arms, and the Lion is the namesake of the local hockey team.  But I found this particular building, with an elaborate combination of an eagle and a snake, above a mustachioed man, to be especially captivating.  I wonder what it means?

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Hunter Mountain

View from the outlook near the summit of Hunter Mountain.I took a quick trip up Hunter Mountain, in the Catskills of southern New York, to top off my list of 4000-footer peaks in New York.  (There are two such peaks outside the Adirondacks, both in the Catskills; I climbed Slide Mountain in 1976.)

A nest of three juvenile garter snakes on the summit of Hunter Mountain.It was a pleasant day on the Becker Hollow trail, which provides a steady but stiff inclined route up the side of the valley.  As it nears the head of the valley the trail becomes steep, finally topping out at the flat, tree-covered summit at 4,046′.  I explored a side trail to a nice westerly overlook on some sunny rocks, only to discover I was not the only one enjoying those sunny rocks: a nest of small garter snakes writhed in one small niche, while another larger snake patrolled nearby.  See the gallery for a video.

Distance: 5.0mi round-trip.  Elevation gain: 2,219′.  Time: 1h9m climb,