Early Bear Season Open

Early bear hunting season is now open in the Southern Zone which includes the Catskill Park. The season will run from September 6 to September 21. Wear blaze orange or some other bright color. Staying on trails may help to limit your contact with hunters. Bushwhacking may not be advisable. Wandering onto private property or hiking trails normally closed for hunting season is, as always, a very bad idea.

Frick and Hodge Ponds

gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Monday, September 15th I wanted to get out hiking somewhere after a week filled with tennis practice and matches! I decided to head for Frick and Hodge Ponds as the area is close and lightly hunted. The early bear season had started September 6th and, from what I had heard, there had been a lot of activity. I got Sheila and my gear in the car and drove out the DeBruce Road to Fish Hatchery Road. I made a left and we were at the Frick Pond parking area and ready to hike by 9:05 AM. We walked out the Quick Lake trail to Frick Pond as I intended to hike the big loop in a clockwise direction. As we crossed the bridge across the outlet to Frick Pond I looked at the scene. The leaves on the trees were not a bright green but had not changed to fall colors. Continue reading

Weather for the week of September 14th

The week of September 14th began with a beautiful Sunday. The temperature was warm but not too hot and the humidity was low. The skies were bright and blue with only a few clouds making for a perfect hiking day. The forecast through Saturday is for partly sunny skies with temperatures during the day in the low to mid 60′s. Some morning showers may be seen in spots on Tuesday but otherwise the week looks clear. The lows at night will dip into the high 30′s and may be lower depending on your location and elevation. It seems that fall is in the air prior to the appointed date. 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!

Giant Ledge and Panther

GiantPantherSep2014_02camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Friday, September 12th, I was ready to hike after a week of tennis and other commitments. I decided it was time to hike a 3500 peak which I had not done in some time. I thought about Slide and Cornell from Route 47 or Slide from Denning but I had limited time and settled on Giant Ledge and Panther where I had not been for some time. The forecast seemed to indicated that we would have some good views and I knew there wouldn’t be too many hikers on the trails. We arrived at the parking area on Route 47 at about 9:40 AM and, to my surprise, found several cars already parked. It was a cool morning with an air temperature of about 52 degrees so I kept my light windbreaker on over a long-sleeved shirt. Sheila and I got started pretty quickly by crossing the road and heading out the trail. Continue reading

Mud Pond (Complete Loop)

MudPondSep2014_03camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhike On Sunday, September 7th, I asked Cindy if she wanted to go hiking after church. She agreed and we decided to go to the Trout Pond area as we had not been there in some time. We got Sheila and our gear in the car and left the house just after 1:15 PM and headed to Roscoe. I took Route 206 out the Rockland Flats and turned left on MortonHhill Road just passed the Roscoe Community Nursing Home. I drove up Morton Hill Road to the intersection with Russell Brook Road and parked on the shoulder of the road on the left side. We were walking down Russell Brook Road by 1:40 PM. As we walked down the road we noted that there was very little evidence of the rain from the night before as the road seemed very dry. One car was parked at the camping area on the left but no tents were set up and the occupants were absent as we walked passed the lookout to the upper falls we could see there was very little water in the stream. Continue reading

Weather for the week of September 7th

The week of September 7th began with a beautiful Sunday. The temperature was warm but not too hot and the humidity was low. The skies were bright and blue with only a few clouds making for a perfect hiking day. The forecast through Wednesday is for partly sunny skies with temperatures barely reaching the low 70′s. Some afternoon thunderstorms may roll in ion Thursday but Friday appears to be clear with partly sunny skies. The temperature drops into the 60′s during the day on Saturday with some drizzle expected. 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!

Red Hill

RedHillSep2014_01camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Tuesday, September 2nd, I got an early morning email from Lisa Lyons, the owner of Morgan Outdoors in Livingston Manor. Lisa wanted to take a short hike somewhere close to home. I called her and we decided to go to the Red Hill fire tower since it is close and has “destination” at the end. Lisa agreed to meet me at my house at 10:00 AM. When she arrived, we loaded our gear into my car, out Sheila in the back seat and headed out. I drove out the DeBruce Road to the Frost Valley Road. I turned right and drove to the Claryville Road where I turned left. In 2 miles I turned right on Red Hill Road and drove 3.8 miles to Dinch-Coons Road. I turned left on Dinch-Coons Road and drove up the the hill on this rough dirt road and then down the other side. As the road enters the forest again just passed Rudolph Road, it gets very rough. I drove a total of 1.2 miles to the trailhead on the left. Continue reading

Stage Road to Beaver Dam Road

StageRdBeaverDamRdSep2014_01camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Monday, September 1st I had just finished hiking from Ryan Road to Old Stage Road in the northern section of Thacher Park near Albany. I wanted to hike the last section of the East Berne to the northern end of Thacher Park. The section I had left was from the intersection of Stage Road and Route 443 to Beaver Dam Road on the southern edge of Thacher Park. I left the Ryan Road parking area just after 11:15 AM and drove back out Ryan Road to Route 157. I turned right and drove back out to Route 443 where I turned left. I drove 1.9 miles to Stage Road where I turned left and parked on the right hand shoulder well off the pavement. Continue reading

Ryan Road to Old Stage Road

RyanRdOldStageRdSep2014_01camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Monday, September 1st I wanted to go back to Albany County to hike part of the Long Path section from East Berne to the northern end of Thacher Park. My plan was to park on Ryan Road near the northern boundary of the park and hike to the northern boundary and the end of the Long Path “end to end” at Old Stage Road. This would give me only a section from Stage Road to Beaver Dam Road to complete this “last” section. Of course, I still have many miles to go from Fort Lee to the Catskills! I had taken two days off from hiking over the weekend for a family gathering on Saturday and because I was preaching at two churches on Sunday . This also gave my blood blister on my right heel some time to heal. The weather forecast had been switching back and forth between possible showers and clearing. By Monday morning the showers had been pushed back to late afternoon although there was a 20% chance or rain all morning. I decided to get an early start but delayed a little since there was also a call for heavy fog. Continue reading

Weather for the week of August 31st

The forecast for the week of August 31st began with a call for rain and thunderstorms on Sunday for Livingston Manor which did not materialize. The storms did strike areas to the north and south. Monday and Tuesday may see passing showers and thunderstorms throughout the area but the weather pattern is very unstable. Temperatures will be in the low to mid 80′s. The forecast for Wednesday calls for clearing skies with slightly lower temperatures. Thursday and Friday appear to be mostly sunny with temperatures again increasing into the 80′s. Presently there is a possibility of afternoon thunderstorms on Saturday. 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!