Frick and Hodge Ponds: Trail Maintenance

camera32On Sunday, May 24th I wanted to return to the area of Frick and Hodge Ponds to hike. I also wanted to fell a tree that had some branches that were loosely attached at the top and might be a danger to hikers passing by. My son-in-law Brad was happy to go with me so we started out for Frick Pond at about 11:30 AM after attending church. We got ready to go applying bug repellant since the previous days in the area let us know what we would encounter. We got our gear and Sheila in the car and headed out to Frick Pond. When we parked at 11:45 PM there was a car in the large lot but we never encountered the owners. As we got out of the car, there were a few insects but fewer than we had encountered on the previous weekend. The temperature was in the high 60′s but the humidity was lower than it had been. We walked to the larger parking area to get on the Quick Lake Trail to Frick Pond. The plan was to hike the Quick Lake Trail to Iron Wheel Junction and then continue on that Trail to the Flynn Trail. When we arrived at the junction with the Logger’s Loop, I showed Brad the muddy area and discussed the kind of walkway or bridge I wanted to build. He though the idea would work. We continued down to the bridge across the outlet to the pond. The views were not as good as the last time and I decided to try to leave my camera in the pack on this hike. As we walked around the pond I showed Brad the large cherry tree Cindy and I had cut to clear from the trail. At the first trail junction, we stayed to the left to continue on the Quick Lake Trail. It was nice to walk along the trail and encounter few, if any, blowdowns since Cindy and I had cleaned up most of them. At Iron Wheel Junction we turned left following the Quick Lake Trail. We passed the junction with the snowmobile trail and I began to look for the tree I wanted to remove. I thought it was close to the junction but it was some distance up the trail. We finally found the tree and I dropped my pack to assess the situation. Brad felt we could safely drop the tree and I agreed. One advantage we had was that we didn’t care where it fell as long as it wasn’t on us! We cut some of the surrounding brush away and then went to work on the tree. I marked a V on one side and Brad began to make the cuts. I finished up the cuts and Brad was able to remove the loose block. I started the cut on the backside and Brad continued it when I got tired. As he cut, I placed a felling wedge and pushed the tree in the direction we want it to fall. We heard a crack and stepped back to watch the tree fall perfectly. Rather than fall across the trail, the tree fell parallel to it and off to the side. We cut of some of the branches and dragged them away and rolled the trunk further off the trail. It was a job well done! We stowed the tools and I picked up my pack as we continued on the Quick Lake Trail to Junkyard Junction. We moved a few branches along the way but mostly we walked and talked. At junkyard Junction I took a look up the Quick Lake trail toward the Bobcat Loop and saw there was some blowdown there as another hiker had told me. We turned right onto the Flynn Trail to walk to Hodge Pond. The Flynn Trail was pretty clean as Cindy and I had done some work there and I pointed out several spots to Brad. We turned right at the gate to stay on the Flynn Trail and passed several blowdowns and the way to the trail around Hodge Pond. We turned right at the next junction to stay on the Flynn Trail to the outlet of Hodge Pond. We walked to the shore of the pond and let Sheila cool off with a short swim before turning around and taking the Flynn Trail up the hill. The pack was getting heavy but we were soon ion the flat part of the flynn1 Trail at the top of the hill. As we walked out to the junction with the Big Rock Trail, I made note of some areas that needed to be cleared. We continued down the Flynn Trail to the car arriving at about 3:30 PM. We had down the 6.4 mile loop in 3.5 hours with a generous amount of time spent working on the trail.

Weather for the week of May 24th

The week of May 24th began with a bright and sunny Sunday with temperatures in the 70′s. The skies were blue with some wispy white clouds and relatively low humidity. Monday should even warmer with highs in the 80′s and sunny skies. For the rest of the week the forecast looks much the same each day. There will be sunny skies with temperatures hovering around 80 but with the threat of showers and thunderstorms every day. Most of the storms will appear in the afternoon. The sun may be bright at times and the insects are definitely out. Sunscreen and insect repellant would be a good addition to your pack. 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 and Hodge Pond: Trail Maintenance

FrickMaintenanceMay2015_18camera32On Friday, May 22nd Cindy and I decided to return to the area of Frick Pond to cut some more blowdowns. I had some choose to do around the house so we didn’t get started until after 11:30 AM. We got ready to go applying bug repellant since the previous days in the area let us know what we would encounter. We got our gear and Sheila in our car and headed out to Frick Pond. When we parked at 11:45 PM there was a car in the large lot but we never encountered the owners. As we got out of the car, there were a few insects but fewer than we had encountered on the previous weekend. The temperature was in the high 60′s but the humidity was lower than it had been. We walked to the larger parking area to get on the Quick Lake Trail to Frick Pond. The plan was to hike the Quick Lake Trail to Iron Wheel Junction and then continue on that Trail to the Flynn Trail. I knew there were a few blowdowns on the Quick Lake Trail and more on the Flynn Trail. Continue reading

Split Rock (Pelnor Hollow)

SplitRockMay2015_01camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Wednesday, May 20th Lisa wanted to go on a short, local hike so we decided on the Split Rock Lookout on the Pelnor Hollow Trail. The lookout has some nice views and is close to home. The temperature was in the mid 40′s when I picked Lisa up at her house on the Beaverkill Road. I drove across the Beaverkill Covered Bridge to Holiday Brook Road. After turning right on the road, I drove to the parking area for the Mary Smith Trail on the right of the road and parked at 9:00 AM. We ready to hike almost immediately and cross the road to begin. The first part of the trail out to the power lines was damp but the best part was the complete lack of insects which had been prevalent on the last few hikes. We crossed the power line right-of-way and followed a faint path into the woods passing a small rock cairn. The trail remained damp in spots but everything was very green as we hiked. The prickers which dominate this trail in the summer were absent which made the going much more pleasant. The hike to the top of the ridge is about 1.1 miles but is a little steeper in some spots than I remembered. The overall elevation gain is about 500 feet. Continue reading

Frick Pond: Trail Maintenance

camera32On Sunday, May 17th Cindy and I decided to return to the Flynn Trail in the area of Frick Pond to cut some ├Âre blowdowns. I preached two services and did not get home until 12:30 PM. We immediately got ready to go applying liberal amounts of bug repellant since the previous day let us know what we would encounter. We got our gear and Sheila in our car and headed out to Frick Pond. When we parked at 1:00 PM there was a car in the small lot and one in the larger lot. As we got out of the car, we were immediately engulfed by a swarm of insects. The temperature was already in the mid 70′s and the humidity was high. We walked across the road and headed up the Flynn Trail passing our work from the day before. As we walked, we cleared a few small branches and some larger ones which were on the trail. When we were walking, the insects were manageable but each time stopped they flew in a cloud around us. We cleared two larger blowdowns. One was almost flat on the ground while the other was hung up like the one that we cut on Saturday. These went relatively quickly using both saws as appropriate. Continue reading

Weather for the week of May 17th

The week of May 17th began with a bright and sunny Sunday with temperatures nearing 80 in some places. The threat of thunderstorms did not materialize although the humidity ran high all day. Monday should be cooler with highs in the low 70′s and more clouds in the sky. The temperatures rises slightly on Tuesday into the mid-70′s with a threat of some scattered showers. The remainder of the week through Saturday will be sunny with only a few clouds. Wednesday may be the coolest day with a high of 60 degrees. The temperatures may rises slightly but will never get above the mid 60′s. The sun has been bright at times and the insects are out. Sunscreen and insect repellant would be a good addition to your pack. 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: Trail Maintenance

FrickMaintenanceMay2015_11camera32On Saturday, May 16th I wanted to try out my Silky saws on some of the larger blowdowns around Frick Pond. Cindy decided to come with me which pleased me as I knew doing the work alone was not a good idea and help is always appreciated. We left the house at just after 9:00 AM but stopped in town at the Livingston Manor Garden Day to pick up some plants. By the time we took the plants back to the house it was after 9:30 AM as we started up the DeBruce Road. We arrived in the parking to find one other car parked. It was already in the high 60′s and the forecast was for even warmer weather so I left my jacket in the car and wore only a long-sleeved shirt. Both of us noticed that there were a lot of insects flying round even at the car. Cindy put on some repellant and we headed out the Quick Lake trail to Frick Pond. Continue reading

Hodge and Frick Ponds: Flynn and Quick Lake Trails

HodgeFrickMay2015_01camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Thursday, May 14th I wanted to get a quick hike in before track practice in the afternoon. I decided to go to Hodge and Frick ponds to see what work would need to be done on the first workday of the Willowemoc Trail Crew on Saturday, May 30. I got my gear and Sheila in the car and pulled out of the driveway a little after 8:30 AM. The temperature was already in the 60′s and I knew I would be taking off the light jacket I had donned. We arrived in the parking area at 8:50 AM got to hiking immediately. We crossed the road and started up the Flynn Trail and almost immediately ran into some branches and small trees across the trail. I made note of this and we continued. Once we made the right out of the trees and onto the woods road, the walking was considerably easier. Continue reading

Weather for the week of May 10

The week of May 10th begins with the chance of thunderstorms from Sunday through Tuesday. The temperatures will remain in the low 80′s and high 70′s but showers will be around on these days. By Wednesday the temperature drops to a “cool” 55 degrees but the sun returns. The sun will stay with us through Friday with highs in the mid-60′s. Saturday may have some periods of sun with increasing clouds. No rain is presently in the forecast for the latter part of the week. Any snow that would impede travel is now gone from the peaks but some patches of ice may remain at higher elevations. Spikes may be a good choice for your pack. 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!

Big Pocono: North and South Trails

NorthSouthTrailsMay2015_04camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Friday, May 8th I was ready to hike after a long week of track meets. Cindy decided she wanted to go with me and I thought it would be a nice day to drive a little farther than usuual to hike. I thought about World’s End State Park in Pennsylvania but decided the more than 3 hour trip would be better undertaken when we could stay overnight. Watkins Glen and Letchworth fit into the same category. I decided that we would drive to Big Pocono State Park in Pennsylvania which is also the site of the Camelback Mountain Ski Resort. The route given by several online sites and my GPS took us through backroads most of the way and predicted a trip of just over 2 hours. I wanted to get started at 7:00 AM but we usually seem to get delayed and did not start until just after 8:00 AM. We got our gear in the car and ushered an anxious Sheila into the back seat. The weather forecast did not include any rain but did mention sunny skies with temperatures in the 80′s! Continue reading