The week of October 26th began with a cloudy, cool and windy Sunday with temperatures in the highs 40′s. Some rain showers were forecast to pass through in the afternoon. The rest of the week calls for temperatures in the high 50′s through Wednesday with decreasing temperatures through Saturday. Some early morning showers may occur on Wednesday and the long range forecast for Saturday is for a mix of rain and snow! The skies should be sunny with some clouds throughout the week. If you are looking for leaf color, head south as there aren’t many leaves left on the trees in the Catskills. Remember, the weather forecast is only a prediction and always contains percentages. Be prepared and have a plan for the most likely and least likely forecast! Are you prepared to stay out overnight on a trail? Conditions in the morning can change drastically by afternoon. Conditions at the trailhead do not always reflect the conditions on the peaks! Variable trail and weather conditions are a hallmark of these mountains. BE CAREFUL AND BE PREPARED!
On Saturday, October 25th I had planned to hike the section of the Long Path from Greene County Route 10 to South Mountain Road. This would connect the northern sections that I had completed this summer with those in the Catskills. The NYNJTC website put the distance at 7.1 miles which made an out and back right at the limit of what I though Sheila and I could do. My estimate of a loop using local roads was even longer. I asked Cindy if she would like to take two cars to do a car spot but she didn’t seem very interested. It was cloudy and overcast when I woke up so I didn’t hurry to get ready to go. Sheila and I left Livingston Manor at 8:25 AM and headed up the Beaverkill Road and then the Barkaboom Road to get to Route 28 in Margaretville. In Shandaken we headed north on Route 42 to Route 23A east toward Hunter. Just outside Hunter in turned north on Route 296 to take it north to Route 23 in Windham. I turned north on Route 21 and stayed on that road until it merged with Greene County Route 10. I pulled over to park on the side of the road after about .6 miles on Route 10. The skies were overcast and the temperature was still in the 40′s. At 10:10 AM Sheila and I walked north on Route 10 for a short distance and then turned left into the woods. For the first .7 miles the trail wound its way up the eastern shoulder of on Mount Pisgah. A short distance from the road we ran up against a set of low cliffs but the trail turned right and then led us up through a gap in the rocks. Several times when I was looking straight ahead I prepared to assault the steep slope ahead only to find a switchback used an old woods road to ascend the mountain. At about .7 miles we started to walk along the northern shoulder of the mountain and I though maybe we would miss the summit. At .75 miles the trail turned to the left and start the climb to the summit of Mount Pisgah. Just at this point there was a limited viewpoint to the north. Even though the leaves were mostly off the trees it was not easy to get a good view or take photographs. We passed across the summit at about 1 mile but there was little to see as the summit was overgrown with pine trees. It was obvious that the trail is not heavily traveled but it was well-marked and Sheila had no trouble following it.
We now descended from the summit about 200 feet to a col and then began to climb to Richtmeyer Peak which is slightly higher than Mount Pisgah. Most of the forest here was hardwood with some evergreens mixed in. At 2.3 miles we crossed over the summit and just passed the top got a view to the south toward the Blackhead range. Again, the view was limited but at least there was a view. The day was still very hazy near the ground and the sky was overcast. I felt like we were walking through a cloud most of the time. We had been traveling west most of the hike but now shifted to the southwest as we headed off Richtmeyer and towards the northern peak of Richmond. At 2.65 miles we were at the highest point of the day at over 3100 feet and we continued southwest toward the main peak of Richmond. At 2.9 miles the trail turned west and became a little wet as we hugged the northern shoulder of Richmond. Somewhere around this area the blazes began to fade and become further apart. Of course, this happened just as the trail became harder to follow! I relied on Sheila who always seems to be able to find the trail. I had thought the Long Path went over the main peak of Richmond but I was wrong as we passed by the summit and at 3.1 miles the trail took us north on the start of a steep descent. In about a mile we lost 860 feet. This is not the steepest trail I have been on but the wet leaves on top of the trail made the footing interesting. We eventually hit a woods road and then Bluebird Road at 4.1 miles. We turned left on Bluebird Road but were on it for only about .2 miles when the Long Path turned right into the woods again. We initially followed a woods road which soon became a trail heading west. I knew that I would have to be careful at some point to stay on the relocated Long Path and not start out on the trail to Ashland Pinnacle.
At 4.6 miles we began to ascend gently and the trail markers again were hard to follow. At 5 miles the trail turned south and began to ascend much more steeply on a 20% grade. We walked from hardwoods forests into what looked like a pine plantation. In .4 miles we gained 390 feet coming out into an open area at the top. The old route of the Long Path to Ashland Pinnacle and Huntersfield was ahead slightly to the right and marked in red. The Long Path turned right and started down a dirt road toward South Mountain Road. The road was in good enough condition that I think I could have driven it ion my car. There were sprightly colored trees along the way so I took a few pictures. The road took us west before turning north and in 1.4 miles we were at South Mountain Road. There were a few views to the north so I snapped some pictures. I decided that I would rather walk the roads to make a loop than hike back the way we had come. My GPS showed the hike out was under 7 miles and I hoped that the road walk would be about the same. We turned right on South Mountain Road to walk the 1.75 miles to Toles Hollow Road. Almost immediately I was presented with a nice view of the route I had just hiked on the right. I stopped to take a few pictures before we continued on our way. Just before our turn there were some views to the north and I again stopped to take some pictures. We turned left and walked downhill briefly before being confronted with a nice uphill to the Durham Road. We were 9 miles into the hike when we turned right onto the Durham Road to head east for about 2.5 miles to Route 10. The views to the north along this route were beautiful and several houses had unobstructed views. Along the way several dogs came out to bother us including one rather large pit bull. The owners apparently did not care much for their dogs or for the people they might bother on the roads! Over the 2.5 mile walk we hiked up over a “bump” but then descended down the other side. At 11.6 mile we turned right onto Route 10 for the final 1.2 mile walk back to the car. We had to gain some elevation and although it wasn’t much I began to feel it. As we walked some nice views appeared to the east and I took the last pictures of the day. By 3:50 PM we were back at the car having hiked 12.8 miles in 5 hours and 40 minutes gaining about 2730 feet along the way. The hike back had been about 6.1 miles which was shorter than the hike out! I was pleasantly surprised by this and the road walk was certainly easier than returning on then trails.
On Monday, October 20th I had planned to get in a relatively long hike with my son Kurt. Kurt got a late start and did not get to Livingston Manor until after 10:00 AM. This altered my plans and I decided to go to Delhi to hike some trail on the hill behind the high school. I thought if we had enough time we could also go to Pratt Rock which I thought Kurt might enjoy. We left Livingston Manor a little before 11:00 AM and arrived in Delhi just before noon. We turned onto Route 28 south and drove to Sheldon Drive which is a left turn just before the school on the left. I drove to the end of Sheldon Drive and parked in one of the school lots. As we departed the car at 12:05 PM a group of students was just entering the woods. The beginning of the trail was not clearly marked from the parking area but we found it near the community garden. The entire trail system is marked with black arrows on a yellow background with no change in markers for the three different trails. Continue reading
On Sunday, October 19th I wanted to get out for a short, local hike after church. Cindy wanted to go and Sheila was definitely up for a hike after spending some time in her cage while we were at a wedding. In Livingston Manor it was raining with some snow mixed in so we decided to head south. We thought about Harriman and Bear Mountain but didn’t want to drive that far. We settled on a trip to the Neversink Unique area in Rock Hill. As we drove down Route 17 the rain continued and there was more snow mixed with it. Below Monticello the precipitation let up but it was still windy and cool when we arrived at the end of Katrina Falls Road at 11:45 AM. There were two other cars parked in the small lot and we knew that they might be hunters. Continue reading
The week of October 19th began with a cool and windy Sunday. Much of the Catskills saw a mix of rain and snow which was more prominent to the north. Monday was a sunnier day with highs in the low 50′s and partly sunny skies. The forecast for Tuesday through Thursday is for periods or rain and cloudy skies with temperatures in the low 50′s. The rain should break on Friday but showers are still possible with some clouds. Saturday and Sunday both seem to be sunny with temperatures rising a bit into the high 50′s. Looking ahead to next week the forecast calls for sunny days for most of the week. The fall colors are fast fading as breezes and showers bring down more and more leaves. Most locations in the Catskills are past peak but pockets of bright colors still can be found. Further south there may still be some colors visible. Remember, the weather forecast is only a prediction and always contains percentages. Be prepared and have a plan for the most likely and least likely forecast! Are you prepared to stay out overnight on a trail? Conditions in the morning can change drastically by afternoon. Conditions at the trailhead do not always reflect the conditions on the peaks! Variable trail and weather conditions are a hallmark of these mountains. BE CAREFUL AND BE PREPARED!
On Monday, October 13th I wanted to get Sheila out for a little exercise on a short, local hike. The previous day Cindy and I had hiked the Willow Trail to Mount Tremperhad left Sheila home as there are rattlesnakes present in the area. I didn’t think it responsible to allow Sheila to roam where she might be injured and I knew none of us would enjoy a hike with Sheila on her leash for the whole time. When I got up in the morning, the skies were overcast and it looked like it might rain. I checked the forecast and the radar and it seemed the rain might wait until afternoon so I got Sheila in the car and headed for Frick Pond. On the way the heavy mist turned to a light rain which persisted as I parked at the Frick Pond lot. There was only one car in the lot when we pulled in at 11:05 AM but as we got ready to hike a pickup truck pulling an enormous camper came up the road. The driver attempted to back it into the larger lot. I waited until the third try and then ushered Sheila passed him as we started out on the trail to Frick Pond. Continue reading
On Sunday, October 12th I wanted to complete the Catskill Mountain Club’s All Trails Challenge. I only needed to hike the Willow Trail to the Warner Creek Trail to complete the list the club has published. I told Cindy the hike would be at least 8 miles but she agreed to go with me. I had decided to leave Sheila home as I was worried about the rattlesnakes which can be present on Mount Tremper. Keeping Sheila on her leash for most of the hike would not satisfy either of us! Although I had hiked the Warner Creek Trail before, I thought it might be nice to hike to the Mount Tremper fire tower if time permitted. Time would be a problem since we could not leave until after church which we could not leave Livingston Manor until about 11:00 AM. We did leave at about that time and headed up the Beaverkill Road to the Barkaboom Road. Once we were at the Pepacton Reservoir, I took the BWS roads to Route 28 in Margaretville. Continue reading
The week of October 12th should begin with a nice day on Sunday with sunny skies and temperatures in the high 50′s. Tuesday will be cloudy with some rain toward evening leading to a generally cloudy day on Wednesday with some showers. The showers may be around until Thursday morning but they should clear out by the afternoon. Look for sunny skies on Friday and Saturday. Friday should see highs in the high 50′s but the temperature on Saturday may not break 40! The fall colors are fast fading as breezes and showers bring down more and more leaves. Most locations are past peak but pockets of bright colors still can be found. Remember, the weather forecast is only a prediction and always contains percentages. Be prepared and have a plan for the most likely and least likely forecast! Are you prepared to stay out overnight on a trail? Conditions in the morning can change drastically by afternoon. Conditions at the trailhead do not always reflect the conditions on the peaks! Variable trail and weather conditions are a hallmark of these mountains. BE CAREFUL AND BE PREPARED!
On Friday, October 10th I wanted to get in a hike before leaving for my last tennis match. Cindy wanted to go along so we decided to go to Kelly Hollow near the Pepacton Reservoir. The hike is less than 4 miles but has a nice beaver pond and some waterfalls on the outlet stream. The morning was a little foggy so we delayed or departure until about 9:45 PM. We got Sheila and our gear in the car and headed to Roscoe on Route 17. Cindy likes to stay off the small backroads as much as possible so I took Route 206 to Route 30. At the Dunraven Bridge I stayed on the BWS roads passing the intersection with the Barkaboom Road. I a few miles I turned right on Millbrook Road and drove to the parking area for Kelly Hollow which is marked with the yellow on brown signs used in the Forest Preserve. There was I other car in the lot when we parked and we began our hike at about 10:20 AM. Continue reading
On Thursday, October 9th I had planned to get out early but as often happens an ambulance call in the middle of the night disrupted my plans. I slept a little later than usual waking up at around 8:00 AM> I had tennis practice in the afternoon but still want to get in a short hike. I was on a quest to complete the Catskill Mountain Club All Trails Challenge. The club has published a list of all the marked trails in the Catskills and will award a patch and a T-shirt for anyone who has hiked all the trails. I filled in the dates that corresponded to when I had hiked these trails and found I was only a few trails short of completion. I had hiked several of the these trails recently and decided to hike the Giggle Hollow Trail in Pine Hill. Due to the late start I didn’t arrive in Pine Hill until almost 10:00 AM. I was headed east on Route 28 and turned right onto Friendship Road at the Belleayre Beach sign. Continue reading