Weather for the week of April 15th

The week of April 15th began with a cool and cloudy Sunday with highs reaching into the high 30’s in most areas. There was a heavy mist or drizzle in the air most of the day. The forecast for Monday calls for rain which may be heavy at times and will continue throughout the day. The highs on Monday may reach the low 50’s in many places. Monday night the temperature will drop and snow showers will move in. The highs on Tuesday will be in the low 40’s with snow showers and flurries possible throughout the day. On Wednesday the temperatures will rise into the mid 40’s under cloudy skies. Rain moves back into the picture on Thursday with showers throughout the day and highs in the mid to high 40’s. On Friday the temperatures drop into the low 40’s with clouds and a few showers during the day. Saturday should be slightly warmer with highs in the high 40’s under cloudy skies with some sun. Despite some warmer temperatures which are melting much of the snow at the lower elevations, there is still some snow reported on the peaks. Carrying snowshoes is a bother but they may be necessary when visiting higher elevations. On some trail microspikes or crampons may be needed as the freezing and melting creates ice flows which require more traction than snowshoes can provide. When the weather conditions are constantly changing, be sure you are dressed appropriately in clothing which will wick away moisture to prevent it from accumulating in your clothing which can bring about hypothermia. Layering should be with non-cotton materials as cotton tends to hold moisture. Keeping hydrated is important no matter the temperatures since hydrating properly will allow you to hike longer and in greater comfort. Be sure to carry plenty of water with you as local water sources can be unreliable and may be contaminated. Once you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated! 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

Weather for the week of April 8th

The week of April 8th began with a cool but sunny Sunday with highs reaching into the mid 30’s in most areas. Clouds rolled in for the afternoon and several show flurries developed. Some of the flurries were heavy at times but the snow did not stick to the roads in most places. Monday will see some sun in the morning with clouds moving in for the afternoon. The highs will reach 40 degrees. Snow may be around in the morning on Tuesday and the rest of the day will be Cody with highs in the low 40’s. Wednesday will have periods of clouds and sun with the temperatures climbing into the mid-40’s. On Thursday a warming trend will bring temperatures in the low 50’s but there will be rain in the afternoon. Friday will be variable cloudy but the warming trend will continue with highs reaching the high 60’s. Expect the warming trend to continue into Saturday with highs again in the high 60’s and a mix of sun and clouds. Despite the warming trend which is melting much of the snow at the lower elevations, there is still some snow on the peaks. Carrying snowshoes is a bother but they may be necessary when visiting higher elevations. On some trail microspikes or crampons may be needed as the freezing and melting creates ice flows which require more traction than snowshoes can provide. When the weather conditions are constantly changing, be sure you are dressed appropriately in clothing which will wick away moisture to prevent it from accumulating in your clothing which can bring about hypothermia. Layering should be with non-cotton materials as cotton tends to hold moisture. Keeping hydrated is important no matter the temperatures since hydrating properly will allow you to hike longer and in greater comfort. Be sure to carry plenty of water with you as local water sources can be unreliable and may be contaminated. Once you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated! 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!

Weather for the week of April 1st

The week of April 1st began with a partly sunny Easter Sunday with highs in the mid 40’s. Rain showers were around for much of the day. On Monday snow moved in dumping several inches and closing some schools while delaying others. The highs were in the low 40’s in the afternoon. On Tuesday the high was only 354 degrees and there were some snow flurries in some areas. By Wednesday the highs reached the upper 40’s and lower 50’s but there were a few rain showers around. By Thursday the temperance had again dipped into the mid 30’s but there was no precipitation. There were snow showers again on Friday in the late morning and afternoon canceling after school activities and making the roads slippery in spots. Three to four inches fell in most areas with highs in the high 30’s. Saturday was cool with highs in the mid 30’s under mostly clear and sunny skies. Despite the warming trend which is melting much of the snow at the lower elevations, there is still some snow on the peaks. Carrying snowshoes is a bother but they may be necessary when visiting higher elevations. On some trail microspikes or crampons may be needed as the freezing and melting creates ice flows which require more traction than snowshoes can provide. When the weather conditions are constantly changing, be sure you are dressed appropriately in clothing which will wick away moisture to prevent it from accumulating in your clothing which can bring about hypothermia. Layering should be with non-cotton materials as cotton tends to hold moisture. Keeping hydrated is important no matter the temperatures since hydrating properly will allow you to hike longer and in greater comfort. Be sure to carry plenty of water with you as local water sources can be unreliable and may be contaminated. Once you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated! 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!

Weather for the week of March 25th

The week of March 25th began with a cool but sunny Sunday with highs reaching into the high 30’s in most areas. Monday will see plenty of sun with highs in the low 40’s. On Tuesday we will see mostly sun with some periods of clouds and highs in the mid 40’s. The forecast for Wednesday includes the possibility of a rain shower with highs reaching again into the mid 40’s. Thursday will be much warmer with highs in the mid 50’s and low clouds most of the day. Friday will be most cloudy with some sun and the threat of drizzle or rain showers. The highs should be in the high 40’s. On Saturday it will be partly sunny with highs in the high 40’s. Despite the warming trend which is melting much of the snow at the lower elevations, there is still plenty of snow on the peaks. Snowshoes should be worn from the trailhead or, at least, carried especially when visiting higher elevations. On some trail microspikes or crampons may be needed as the freezing and melting creates ice flows which require more traction than snowshoes can provide. When the weather conditions are constantly changing, be sure you are dressed appropriately in clothing which will wick away moisture to prevent it from accumulating in your clothing which can bring about hypothermia. Layering should be with non-cotton materials as cotton tends to hold moisture. Keeping hydrated is important no matter the temperatures since hydrating properly will allow you to hike longer and in greater comfort. Be sure to carry plenty of water with you as local water sources can be unreliable and may be contaminated. Once you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated! 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!

Weather for the week of March 18th

The week of March 18th began with a cool but sunny Sunday with highs reaching into the highi 30’s in most areas. Monday will be much the same with times of sun and clouds with highs in the mid-30’s. On Tuesday we will see mostly sun with some periods of clouds and highs in the mid 30’s. The forecast for Wednesday is much the same but with highs reaching again into the mid 30’s. Thursday repeats the same pattern with times of sun and clouds and highs in the mid 30’s. Friday will be sunny and slightly warmer with highs in the high 30’s. On Saturday the clouds roll in so that there will be little sun but the highs will reach 40 degrees. After the recent snowfalls, snowshoes should be worn from the trailhead or, at least, carried especially at higher elevations. Do NOT be fooled by the snow that has melted at lower elevations! On some trail microspikes or crampons may be needed as the freezing and melting creates ice flows which require more traction than snowshoes can provide. When the weather conditions are constantly changing, be sure you are dressed appropriately in clothing which will wick away moisture to prevent it from accumulating in your clothing which can bring about hypothermia. Layering should be with non-cotton materials as cotton tends to hold moisture. Keeping hydrated is important no matter the temperatures since hydrating properly will allow you to hike longer and in greater comfort. Be sure to carry plenty of water with you as local water sources can be unreliable and may be contaminated. Once you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated! 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!

Weather for the week of March 11th

The week of March 11th began with a cool but sunny Sunday with highs reaching into the mid 30’s in most areas. Monday will see times of sun and clouds with highs in the mid-30’s. There may be some snow Monday night into early turesday morning. Tuesday will be mostly cloudy with some snow shoers possible and highs reaching into the mid 30’s. The forecast for Wednesday is much the same but with highs being a little cooler reaching the low 30’s. Some sun will return on Thursday but it will be rather cloudy with highs in the mid 30’s. On Friday there will be more sun with highs in the mid 30’s. Saturday should be sunnier and a little warmer with highs reaching into the high 30’s. After the recent snowfalls, snowshoes should be worn from the trailhead or, at least, carried especially at higher elevations. On some trail microspikes or crampons may be needed as the freezing and melting creates ice flows which require more traction than snowshoes can provide. When the weather conditions are constantly changing, be sure you are dressed appropriately in clothing which will wick away moisture to prevent it from accumulating in your clothing which can bring about hypothermia. Layering should be with non-cotton materials as cotton tends to hold moisture. Keeping hydrated is important no matter the temperatures since hydrating properly will allow you to hike longer and in greater comfort. Be sure to carry plenty of water with you as local water sources can be unreliable and may be contaminated. Once you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated! 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

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picture taken during a hike
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GPSies - Frick Pond (Loggers Loop Counterclockwise)
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Gmap4 - Frick Pond (Loggers Loop Counterclockwise)
MapMyHike - Frick Pond (Loggers Loop Counterclockwise)
On Saturday, March 10th I was ready to go out for a hike before the temperature rose and made the snow too “clumpy”. I also knew that the snow might disappear any day with warmer weather and rain! I wanted to get in a longer hike that was Not on Round top across from my driveway and decided to go to Frick Pond to hike a route. When I awoke in the morning the temperature was just above 20 degrees so I was not too eager to get a very early start. I did a few things around the house and then decided to get going before the snow got too soft. I asked Cindy of she wanted to go and she agreed. I did not have to ask Sheila as she is always ready to hike. Because the temperature was only in the high 20’s , I decided to wear my Mammut hoody and warmer Columbia Titanium pants with tights underneath. On top I chose a long-sleeved baselayer under a Mammut pullover. The hoody has lots of zippers to help regulate temperature and I knew I could always take it off if I got too warm. I wore a heavier hat and gloves and out on my Salomon B52 winter boots and OR Crocodile gaiters to deal with the deep snow. Cindy and I got all our gear ready including our snowshoes which we knew we would have to use due to the deep snow that had fallen during the week. We both chose our Tubbs Alp Flex VTR snowshoes. They are a little smaller than some but have the BOA binding system. The BOA system uses a dial to tighten a thin but strong wire and seems to evenly tighten the binding around the foot. Sheila was happy to be going anywhere and crouched in the back seat with her head on the console. Just after 10:30 AM we headed out the DeBruce Road. After about 6 miles, I turned left on Mongaup Pond Road and stayed left where the road split falling Beech Mountain Road to the trailhead. By the time we had arrived at the parking area, the was 28 degrees but a stiff breeze made it feel cooler. The lot had been plowed once but new snow had accumulated. There were no other cars in the lot and there were no tracks. A quick inspection of the trails showed that no one had been out on them since the last snowfall on Wednesday. I like breaking trail in untouched snow but it is very tiring! We put our snowshoes and headed out to the woods road to the Quick Lake Trail at 10:45 AM. The snow was deep and had some water underneath which I tried to avoid since it causes snow to stick to the bottom of the snowshoes. We passed the trail register and heading toward Frick Pond. I could see that there were a lot of branches that had been weighed down by the snow and were leaning onto the trail. We had to try to avoid these branches and the places where there was water on the trail. At Gravestone Junction we turned right to get on the yellow Logger’s Loop heading toward Times Square.

picture taken during a hike
I stopped once or twice to take pictures and a short rest as walking through the drifted snow was hard work. there were several large trees down across the trail and I knew we would have work to do to clear the trail in the spring. We walked around the blowdowns and headed downhill toward Times Square. I did not know what to expect at Times Square knowing that if the Logger’s Loop was not packed by snowmobiles we probably could not hike it for the whole length! At Times Square we found that the trail had been packed by snowmobiles and that three machines were stopped ahead on the Logger’s Loop. I could hear a chainsaw stunning and thought were probably members of The Sullivan County Trails Association. This is group that enjoys riding snowmobiles and keep all the trails they use free of blowdowns and blockages. This is a great help for hikers as they are allowed to use chainsaws which saves a lot of time on larger trees. As we approached the group, I introduced myself and found that This was Mike Barkley, president of the association, and his crew. We talked for a while and then decided to continue. The snowmobiles left first further packing the trail. We began to climb uphill but the walk was much easier on the packed trail. We had both walked through some slush which now attracted snow to the bottom of the snowshoes. We had to clear our snowshoes several times before we could walk comfortably. The trail was well packed by snowmobiles and almost immediately we could hear some machines coming from the direction of Mongaup Pond. Sheila ran right over to me and we all walked off the trail. As the machines approached and saw us, they slowed down to a crawl. We waved as they passed us and accelerated. Some people complain about the smell of the exhaust but it has never really bothered me. I realized that to me it smells like the exhaust from chainsaws which brings back a lot of good memories from when I was logging with my father 50 years ago. We continued our hike as the trail continued to rise and then flattened a little. Several times along the way we moved to the side of the trail to allow more snowmobiles to pass. It was a pleasure to walk on the packed trail and we were soon at Iron Wheel Junction. I stopped to take a few pictures of the contrast between the packed snowmobile trail and the fresh and untouched snow on the Quick Lake Trail. We turned left at the junction and headed back toward Frick Pond on the Quick Lake Trail.

picture taken during a hike
As we started out on the Quick Lake Trail, I was breaking trail through about 6 inches of new snow that was piled on top of over a foot that had fallen in a previous storm. Occasionally I would break through the snow underneath which made the going even tougher. We stopped for a drink and a bar. As we were stopped, it started to snow! I took some pictures of the track we were leaving and the untouched snow ahead. The consistency of the snow and the air temperature combined to give the snow and almost “silky” feel. Some of the snow stuck to our snowshoes but it wasn’t too bad. The trail is slightly downhill which was good since I was getting more tired by the minute. We came to the small stream in the woods which had a little too much water to cross on the rail. We walked upstream a little and found a narrower spot but still had to get our snowshoes wet! Immediately the snow began to stick to the bottom of the snowshoes and it took us several times to get it cleaned off. Walking through the “spruce tunnel” was not easy as there were several new blowdowns and many branches heavy with snow hanging down in the trail. Eventually we walked out the other side. The snow was deeper here and I developed a routine of counting steps to take my mind off the difficulty of the task. There were a few wet spots but we avoided them and finally arrived at the junction with the Big Rock Trail. I had hoped that someone had made a track here but the snow was pristine. We turned right to follow the Quick Lake Trail to the bridge across the outlet of Frick Pond. The snow had rifted to a depth of 2 feet in some paces but the drifts were firm which allowed us to stay on top of the. I stopped at the bridge despite the fact that I have taken hundreds of pictures from it. I took a few shots of the bridge with snow on it and some of Cindy and Sheila and a large drift at the western end of the bridge. I also took shots of the pond and Flynn’s Point. The snow was still coming down but did not obsure the scene. I packed up and we continued up the hill and back to Gravestone Junction. The small hill was all I could handle as my leg muscles were shot. At Gravestone Junction we continued out the Quick Lake Trail and back to the car. Along the way it became obvious that several other hikers had been on the trail with snowshoes. Most of the way they had stayed in the track Cindy and I had started but at times deviated or walked side-by-side. We arrived at the car at 1:55 PM having hike 3.8 miles in 3 hours and 10 minutes with an elevation gain of 390 feet. I was glad to be back at the car and sitting down!

Round Top Maintenance

camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Monday, March 5th I wanted to get out to hike before the 18 inches of snow that had fallen on Friday disappeared as had happened with other snowfalls. I wanted to go across the street to Round Top and hike the complete lower trail to see if it was blocked in any way by trees and bushes heavy with snow. When Cindy and I had hiked on Saturday, we had found several blowdowns that we had to walk around. I wanted to get started early before the temperature rose above freezing and made the snow soft. Under these conditions the snow often clings to the snow shoes forming clumps and making the experience less than enjoyable. As it happened it was after 10:00 AM before I was ready to go. It was around 30 degrees but actually felt warmer. I did not bother with tights under my Columbia Omniheat Pants but put on a baselayer on top under my Mammut pullover. As always I put on my Mammut Ultimate hoody and wore a hat and gloves. I wore my Salomon B52 winter boots and put on OR Crocodile gaiters to deal with the deep snow. I wore my Tubbs Alp Flex VTR snowshoes. They are a little smaller than some and have the BOA binding system. I knew I wouldn’t need the flotation since the snow depth was only 6 to 10 inches. The BOA system uses a dial to tighten a thin but strong wire and seems to evenly tighten the binding around the foot. Sheila was happy to be going out in the snow as she loves to run and jump through it. She is mostly Yellow Lab but also has some Siberian Husky. Her longer coat keeps her warm in all but the coldest weather. We went outside, I put on my snowshoes and put Sheila on her leash. I decided to leave my pack home since I had taken quite a few pictures on Saturday right after the snowfall. We headed out the driveway at 10:15 AM and crossed the street. Continue reading

Weather for the week of March 4

The week of March 4th begins with a cool and overcast Sunday with times of sun and highs staying in the low 30’s in most areas. Monday will be partly sunny with highs in the mid-30’s. Tuesday will start off with some sun but clouds will move in throughout the day with the highs reaching into the high 30’s. On Wednesday looks for snow to move in and continue on and off through the day with amounts between 3 and 6 inches. The highs on Wednesday will be in the high 20’s. Some sun will return on Thursday but it will be rather cloudy with highs in the mid 30’s. Snow showers are possible on Friday with highs in the mid 30’s. On Saturday there will be some sun and a few clouds with highs reaching into the high 30’s. Microspikes or crampons are now a “mandatory” item on many trails and, certainly, on the 35’s as freezing and melting creates ice flows. Snowshoes should be considered especially at higher elevations but may be unnecessary as the snow melts in the warm temperatures. When the weather conditions are constantly changing, be sure you are dressed appropriately in clothing which will wick away moisture to prevent it from accumulating in your clothing which can bring about hypothermia. Layering should be with non-cotton materials as cotton tends to hold moisture. Keeping hydrated is important no matter the temperatures since hydrating properly will allow you to hike longer and in greater comfort. Be sure to carry plenty of water with you as local water sources can be unreliable and may be contaminated. Once you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated! 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 Loop Snowshoe

camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Saturday, March 3rd I wanted to get out to hike in the 18 inches of snow that had fallen on Friday. The snow started early Friday morning and just kept coming! Initially it was heavy and wet but became “drier” and fluffier later in the day. At times the snow fell at around 2 inches and hour. I waited around all day for our ambulance corps to be called to motorcycle accidents but, thankfully, no calls came. We didn’t get a call until the snow almost stopped and that was for a medical condition. On Saturday morning it was still below freezing and I knew I had to get out in snowshoes. I knew that the back roads would be in poor condition and that the railheads would not be plowed. Cindy and I decided to head across the street and hike a loop on Round Top. By the time we got ready to go it was after 11:00 AM. It was around 30 degrees but actually felt warmer. I did not bother with tights under my Columbia Omniheat Pants but put on a baselayer on top under my Mammut pullover. As always I put Mon my Mammut Ultimate hoody and wore a hat and gloves. I wore my Salomon B52 winter boots and put on OR Crocodile gaiters to deal with the deep snow. Both Cindy and I wore our Tubbs Alp Flex VTR snowshoes. They are a little smaller than some and have the BOA binding system. I knew I wouldn’t need the flotation since the snow depth was only 6 to 10 inches. The BOA system uses a dial to tighten a thin but strong wire and seems to evenly tighten the binding around the foot. Sheila was happy to be going out in the snow as she loves to run and jump through it. She is mostly Yellow Lab but also has some Siberian Husky. Her longer coat keeps her warm in all but the coldest weather. We went outside, put on our snowshoes and I put Sheila on her leash. We headed out the driveway at 11:30 AM and crossed the street. Continue reading