I first came upon Dibble’s Quarry with no foreknowledge of the place, stumbling upon the slate monoliths more than a decade ago while hiking with my friend Sam. I remember the scene opening up around a bend in the trail, a giant, dusty throne room with spiders and toads skittering about its floors like warped handmaidens.
Sam doesn’t remember the scene at all. I know this because I asked him about it a couple years ago, and he looked at me like I was psychotic.
“Thrones made out of slate in the middle of the forest with spiders and toads running around?” he repeated, making my assertion seem even crazier. “Are you sure you were with me?”
I WAS goddamn sure, so I was overjoyed when I heard of a place which sounded very similar.
The trailhead is outside of Platte Cove off Roaring Brook Road, an unpaved street closed during the winter months. Dibble’s Quarry can be reached by taking the Pecoy Notch Trail.
Though the late April day dawned over trees beginning to leaf along the Hudson, the elevation at the trail’s base was enough that the deciduous were only beginning to bud. The delicate spirals of young ferns were stretching from the ground, and bright green skunk cabbage burst through brown marshland.
The low clouds produced a dampening mist over the whole scene, patches of cumulus passing through the rock formations like ghosts. Water dripped off the verdant moss stuck to rock-faces.
I came upon the throne room; it was not how I remembered it. Two diminutive chairs were slopped together from the surrounding slate.
I was so dejected I didn’t even take any pictures, just kept prodding along, automaton-like, the mist seeming less and less charming.
I was oscillating between turning around immediately or collapsing in a puddle first to take a nap, when I saw it ahead: the throne room itself.
Dibble’s Quarry spreads over several acres on either side of the trail. Clearly, some psychotic (or hundreds of non-psychotics, a la the Shawangunks Rock Gardens) had taken the detritus remaining from the mining operation and used it to create several open rooms on the hillside. I counted nine separate thrones, huge constructions weighting thousands of pounds.
Having fulfilled my fantasy of lording over the creatures of the earth, I hiked the mile-and-a-half back to my car as the rain started in earnest.