Weather for the week of March 1

The week of March 1st began on Sunday with temperatures in the high 20′s and light snow beginning at about 7:00 AM as predicted. The snow continued throughout the day making roadways slippery and causing several accidents. The snow is forecast to continue through Monday morning but will taper off after midnight. Once the snow clears Monday will see temperatures in the mid 20′s with sunny skies. Tuesday the temperatures will remain about the same but snow showers roll in by the afternoon. Snow will hang around on Wednesday but the temperature will rise into the high 30′s. By Thursday the temperature will again dip into the high teens with cloudy skies. On Friday the temperature will rise a few degrees and the skies should be sunny. Saturday starts a string of days with sunny skies and temperatures rising into the mid to high 30′s. Anyone hiking on should be prepared for lower temperatures at the trailhead and on the peaks! 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!

Russell Brook Falls

RussellBrookFallsFeb2015_06camera32On Tuesday, February 25th I had planned to go hiking at Trout Pond with Lisa at about 10:00 AM. We decided to delay in the hopes that the temperature would reach into the double digits. Just before I was ready to head out the ambulance pager went off and delayed the hike by about 2 hours. I called Lisa when I got back and she was still willing to get in a short hike so I threw my gear in the car and went downtown to pick her up and her shop. I decided not to take Sheila as the temperature was barely into the teens. She was disappointed and was I but I knew it was the right de3cisison. I wanted to get the hike1 in since I was about to start teaching biology at Liberty High School for about two weeks and knew I would have limited times to hike. We headed up the Quickway to Roscoe and then out Route 206 on the Rockland Flats. Just after the Roscoe Nursing Home, I turned left on Morton Hill Road and drove to the intersection with Russell Brook Road. There was very little space to park on the side of the road but I found a spot. We put on our snowshoes and started down the road toward the falls. I was cold as we started out but soon warmed up even though the trail was packed by snowmobile traffic and the going easier than breaking trail in fresh snow. As we walked down the road we listened for the sounds of water in the stream but heard almost none. We decided to go to the viewpoint over the upper falls. The snow here was deeper and not broken but we don’t have too much trouble sliding down. The falls were completely frozen and I too a few pictures before we climbed back up to the road. A little farther down Lisa wanted to go off trail and bushwhack down to the bridge. We followed the trail she had made on an earlier trip and were soon crossing Russell Brook. We walked a little farther and then turned right to follow a path to the falls. The path was broken until the point where I wanted to go down to the stream bed. We decided to break our own path and again slid down to the streambed. The lower falls was completely frozen as was the water downstream from the falls. The ice at one spot on the falls was so thick that it was a sapphire color. I took quite a few shots at the falls. I took some pictures looking downstream and a few of Lisa by the falls. Climbing up the bank from the falls was a little difficult but we both made it taking slightly different routes. We walked over to the trail register, signed in and then headed back to the car. I had a little more time but Lisa had a meeting she could not miss. We stayed on the trail back to the lower parking area and then walked up the road to the car. We covered only 1.4 miles on our 1 hour hike but it was definitely better than staying home!

Willowemoc Trail Crew Kickoff on March 15

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 15, 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!