Willowemoc Trail Crew Kickoff on March 1

Please come and join us for the first meeting of the season for the Willowemoc Trail Crew. The meeting will take place on Sunday, March 1, 2015 at 1:00 p.m. at Morgan Outdoors in Livingston Manor. The meeting is sponsored by the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference and hosted by Lisa Lyons of Morgan Outdoors. All of the trails in the Catskill Park are maintained by volunteers and more volunteers are needed especially in the western Catskills. Attending the meeting will not commit you to a specific schedule. Volunteer a little time or volunteer a lot! The meeting will acquaint those who attend with the areas covered by the Willowemoc Trail Crew and some of the tasks that need to be accomplished. Participants will have the chance to give their input on scheduling and the work that needs to be done. No prior trail maintenance experience is required. The meeting will last for about one hour and will be followed by a trip to Frick Pond to snowshoe.

Weather for week of February 22

The week of February 22nd began on Sunday with temperatures in the mid 30′s and bright sunny skies. This day followed more than a week of brutal cold and even worse wind chills. By Monday the cold is back with a high of 5 degrees and windchills of -20 degrees. By Tuesday the temperature may get as high as the mid teens with Wednesday being in the low 20′s. Snow showers are predicted on Wednesday. By Thursday the temperature drops again into the low teens with more of the same on Friday. By Saturday the forecast is for sunny skies with temperatures rising into the mid to high 20′s. The trend continues on Sunday when we may see temperatures again rising into the low 30′s. The temperatures combined with the winds are enough to freeze exposed skin very quickly. Anyone hiking on these days should be prepared for these low temperatures! The recent storms have made snowshoes mandatory for any serious hiking on the peaks or, for that matter, in most of valleys! When parking to hike, be sure you are out of the way of snow plows and do not park in places where they must turn around. 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!

Frick Pond Snowshoe

FrickFeb2015_59camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhike On Sunday, February 22nd the temperatures finally rose into the low 30′s and the sun came out in full force. After church my wife and I decided to head to Frick Pond to do some snowshoeing. I had planned on doing a longer route somewhere but the ambulance had been busy I didn’t get much sleep the night before. In addition, the recent snow made traveling the back roads interesting and we could not be sure what parking areas would be plowed. It may seem that returning again and again to the same area is monotonous but each hike is different. On this hike having Cindy with me would be very nice and the sunny skies were a welcome change. We got dressed and put our gear in the car leaving the house just before 11:30 AM. Sheila seemed particularly stoked as we headed up the DeBruce Road. As we turned onto Fish Hatchery Road, we noticed a “Poker Run” sign and knew that the snowmobilers would be out in force! I parked in the smaller parking area which was plowed and we quickly got our snowshoes on to start the hike at 11:45 AM. Continue reading

Frick Pond Snowshoe

FrickFeb2015_48camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhike On Wednesday, February 18th I had planned to go back to Frick Pond and hike around the back of Frick Pond and then around the Loggers Loop to Iron Wheel Junction. From there I wanted to hike down the Quick Lake Trail through the fresh snow breaking the trail to the small stream where I had left off the day before. When the ambulance pager went off at 7:00 AM the temperature was -13 degrees and I knew that I probably wouldn’t get to hike! After the call, I eventually went to a friend’s house to outfit him with my older Tubbs 30 inch snowshoes. As I started home from his house, I found that the temperature had risen to 15 above and the sun was shining. I decided to try the hike after all and went home to change into my hiking clothes. I got my gear into the car along with Sheila and headed to Frick Pond around 11:15 AM. Sheila was almost frantic with anticipation as I drove up Fish Hatchery Road! When we arrived at the parking area, both the pulloff and the lot were plowed leaving room for at least 10 cars. Continue reading

Frick Pond Snowshoe

FrickFeb2015_26camera32 On Tuesday, February 17th I wanted to get out and snowshoe in some real snow after a week on staying inside due to the extreme cold and poor road conditions. When I woke up, the temperature was -6 degrees but it started to rise slightly as the morning wore on. I waited until the temperature rose into the high teens and then got my gear into the car along with Sheila and headed to Frick Pond around 11:15 AM. Sheila was almost frantic with anticipation as I drove up Fish Hatchery Road! When we arrived at the parking area, both the pulloff and the lot were plowed leaving room for at least 10 cars. On this day no one else was around so I put on my TSL Symbioz Elite snowshoes and started out on the Quick Lake Trail toward Frick Pond at 11:30 AM. The temperature was only 17 degrees and I was a little concerned about Sheila being too cold especially on her feet. I thought we might hike the Loggers Loop heading up the Quick Lake Trail to Iron Wheel Junction first and then from there over to Times Square and back. I was pretty sure the Loggers Loop would be packed by snowmobile traffic which would make the going easier. Continue reading

Weather for the week of February 15

The week of February 15th began on Sunday with an overcast sky, high winds and intermittent snow showers in Livingston Manor. The temperature was 4 degrees at 6″00 AM and the forecast called for it to stray that way. The forecast for Monday calls for clear skies with some sun but the temperatures will barely make it into the double digits. By Tuesday and Wednesday the temperatures rise to almost 20 degrees but both days may see some snow showers. On Thursday and Friday the temperatures are back down into the single digits with some sun and clouds. A heat wave sweeps the Catskills next weekend with temperatures rising into the mid to high 20′s but the forecast also calls for some snow. These temperatures combined with the winds are enough to freeze exposed skin very quickly. Anyone hiking on these days should be prepared for these low temperatures! The recent storms have made snowshoes mandatory for any serious hiking on the peaks or, for that matter, in most of valleys! When parking to hike, be sure you are out of the way of snow plows and do not park in places where they must turn around. 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!

Round Top Snowshoe

RoundTopFeb2015_14camera32On Tuesday, February 10th I knew I wanted to get in a snowshoe hike after another snowstorm had dropped several more inches of snow on Livingston Manor. I had stayed home Monday because the roads were bad and so that I could cover ambulance calls. By Tuesday morning the roads were mostly cleared and I though I would take Sheila to Frick Pond for an outing on the fresh snow. I got my gear and Shiela into the car and headed toward Frick Pond just before 9:00 AM. DeBrice Road was not in good shape with snow and ice still on the road and some more snow drifting in some places. When I made the left onto Fish Hatchery Road the situation was worse but the road was passable. When we arrived at the parking areas for Frick Pond, I was disappointed to find the they had not been plowed. I probably could have parked in the smaller pullout but did not want to get stuck or block the snowplows when they came. I turned the car around and headed back home Continue reading

Weather for the week of February 8th

The week of February 8th began on Sunday with an overcast sky in Livingston Manor and the feeling of a storm in the air. The temperatures stayed just below freezing. On Monday several inches of snow fell in Sullivan County and all schools closed as the roads were slippery everywhere and some were impassable. By Tuesday morning there was still some snow in the air and enough on the roads to delay most schools by two hours. The temperature came up to the high 20′s and low 30′s on Wednesday and the skies were mostly clear. There was snow again ion Thursday at just the wrong time and most schools were delayed with some closing. By the afternoon the temperatures ahd risen above freezing but the forecast called for really cold weather from Friday until Tuesday. Friday began with an air temperature of -2 degrees and a windchill of about -20 degrees. Saturday the temperature is forecast to rise into then 20′s but in drops again for Sunday and Monday. These temperatures combined with the wind are enough to freeze exposed skin very quickly. Anyone hiking on these days should be prepared for these low temperatures! The recent storms have made snowshoes mandatory for any serious hiking on the peaks or, for that matter, in most of valleys! When parking to hike, be sure you are out of the way of snow plows and do not park in places where they must turn around. 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!

Round Top Snowshoe

On Saturday, February 7th I knew I wanted to get in a snowshoe hike before the next big snowstorm hit Livingston Manor. I had planned to go to Frick Pond but discovered that a few people wanted to hike on Round Top. The appointed time for the hike was 11:00 AM by which time the temperature had climbed from single digits to the upper 20′s. Cindy and I put on our gear and headed across the street to the church parking lot. We met a small group of people there and started up the hill behind our church to do a loop. I knew we would have to avoid the private property of an owner who had made it clear that they did not want others on their land. I was anxious to continue to evaluate my new TSL Symbioz √Člite snowshoes in the snow. So far they had proven to have good traction and great bindings. There was another dog in then group but she and Sheila seemed to get along well. We walked behind the church and headed up the steep hill to the top of the cemetery. Our track from several days before was still well broken out and we followed some of the younger members of the group. Continue reading

Frick Pond Loop (Counterclockwise)

FrickFeb2015_02camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Thursday, February 5th I wanted to get out and snowshoe in some real snow! When I woke up, the temperature below 0 degrees but started to rise slightly as the morning wore on. I didn’t want to wait too long so I got my gear into the car along with Sheila and headed to Frick Pond just before 9:00 AM. When we arrived at the parking area, both the pulloff and the lot were plowed leaving room for at least 10 cars. On this day no one else was around so I out on my TSL Symbioz Elite snowshoes and started out on the Quick Lake Trail toward Frick Pond at 9:15 AM. The temperature was only 15 degrees and I was a little concerned about Sheila being too cold especially her feet. I had decided to hike the loop around Frick Pond which is only about 2 miles. Continue reading