I received a report that new No Trespassing signs have been put up. Which I think is odd... but you may want to wait before you travel to get these until I can confirm or deny or find an acceptable path to the cemetery.
Hike length: Approximately 1 mile
Terrain: Woodsy trails with roots and other ups and downs
Ink needed: Black
If you were a member of the postal letterbox groups Amphigorey or State Flowers as organized on Atlas Quest, you have already seen these stamp images.
there was a girl,
pretty and good.
Her name was Little
Red Riding Hood.
a pretty red hood,
and a cape the same.
And that’s how Red Riding Hood
got her name.
One day her mother told her to take her poor, sick grandmother a basket with cake. So, Red Riding Hood set out on her way into the woods, promising to look straight ahead, not to delay or be mislead, or her mother would worry.
Red Riding Hood knew to begin her journey at her Cousin’s house. She remembered how kind and smart her Cousin was, because he studied faithfully to become a man of the cloth. (Though probably not cloth as fine as her red cape, which was the same color as the napkin in her basket...) As she wondered whether there were any chocolate chips in Gramma’s cake, and if it had sprinkles, too, and if so what color, she managed to skip right through the Center of her Cousin’s house and found herself well behind it. She was standing in the bright sunshine on a curved, paved bit of what might have been a road at one time. She squinted into the dark woods, beyond a lovely, smallish, arched wooden bridge and decided to go in. Even though there was no sign, she knew it was ok to walk in this woods because the nice, old men who used to study here had let the locals use it all the time if they behaved respectfully. Besides, this was the shortest route to Gramma’s house!
Red Riding Hood had many paths to choose from. Knowing she only needed to keep the rising sun to her back, she chose a random path, skipping after a cute squirrel headed in the same direction. As she followed whichever path her shadow led her down, she began to think this woods could use some attention from a woodsman’s axe. All this dead wood would make some very fine trail chips, though not a very good hiding spot for anything. Not even for the squirrel, who had just disappeared through an opening in the long fence Red Riding Hood found herself in front of.
Red Riding Hood happily skipped through the opening in the fence and turned left, traveling over a tiny river and through some woods, towards some interesting stones that caught her eye in the distance. Exploring a peculiar stone mound, she discovered a beautiful, little grotto where she rested for a moment. While saying a short prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Red Riding Hood noticed a lovely flower hiding beside a rose-colored stone just to the outside and left of the main wall of the grotto. It was wedged between this head-sized rose-colored rock and the stone wall, cleverly hiding behind some smaller fist-sized rocks. It was as though those rocks had been suspiciously stacked in front of the flower to hide it. Rather than take the flower with her, Red Riding Hood took a moment to appreciate the beauty if it by recording it in her journal with black ink. She would color her journal with purple, green and yellow crayon later at Gramma’s house.
Pleased with her new journal entry, Red Riding Hood turned to go, but she could not resist the lure of exploring this interesting cemetery first. She approached a statue of a tall fellow that towered above her. In his hand was a cup and in front of him a sign that Red Riding Hood could not read. She suspected it was Latin and, though she had never studied the language, she imagined it told a fantastic story of an evil wolf that chased children through the woods! Perhaps this story was a warning to her and others, and the cup was a toast to wish her luck on her perilous journey! As she wandered around the stones, reading names and dates, she began to imagine the lives and histories of the people resting there. She wished she could speak with them to discover their stories. She read the name Rev. Peschong on a stone quite near the statue. The date on this stone was the same as Gramma’s birthday! Red Riding Hood quickly wrote this down in her journal to share with Gramma later.
Respectfully moving from one stone to the next, Red Riding Hood found the names of Candidate Katharina and Candidate Brigitta. She imagined that these poor young girls must have wandered too far from the path and the evil wolf must have gotten them! How dreadfully sad it made Red Riding Hood. They were quite young when they went to their final resting place. Red Riding Hood carefully wrote the dates from their stones in her journal. She wanted to remember them.
Just as Red Riding Hood was tucking her journal away in her bag, a light rain began to fall. As she looked up to the sky and pulled her hood over her head, she realized it was no longer morning. She had delayed here in the cemetery, quite forgetting the promise she had made to her mother. What’s more, she thought she heard the woeful sound of a howl somewhere to the south of her. Red Riding Hood bid goodbye to the quiet souls around her, put her back to the tall statue with the cup, and headed for the bridge she could see ahead and slightly to the left of her.
The sun, by now, was hidden behind clouds and Red Riding Hood was getting nervous. She quickened her pace across the bridge and followed the path to the left. Hearing that strange howling noise again, this time closer and a little louder, she quickly took another left. Whoa! She nearly fell into a precipice in her haste to get to Gramma’s house! This was not the right way! Looking this way and that she slowly backed away from the precipice, giving a startled jump as her back bumped against a tree. She felt with her fingers how smooth the tree was and it calmed her. That howl again! She needed a place to hide.
Being a clever girl, when she wasn’t distracted by thoughts of cake and such, she realized she would need a way to find her way back out of the woods. Retrieving her journal from her bag, she used the notes she had jotted down to make a path. Digging deeper into her pack she produced a device her Godmother had given her called a compass. She combined (but did not add) the December day from Rev. Peschong’s stone with the last two numbers of the year. (Scolding herself for not being more careful to write if this was his date of birth or death!) This gave her a three-digit number to use. With her back still resting on the smooth tree, she allowed her compass to settle on North and figured out the angle this three-digit number indicated. Before leaving the comfort of the smooth tree, she added the numbers of the fateful days that Candidates Katharina and Brigitta had died. This gave her a two-digit number of paces to follow. At the end of those paces at that angle, Red Riding Hood could see an excellent hiding spot within some tree roots. She went to the tree and hid, careful not to leave any indication of her passing. OwwwoooOOOOOO!!!!
To Be Continued…