The week of November 22nd begins with a sunny Sunday. The temperatures will only rises to just above freezing but no precipitation is in the forecast. These conditions continue throughout the week with each day being slightly warmer until Thursday when the highs will be in the high 40’s. The temperature may reach 50 on Friday but clouds move in to block the sun. Saturday the temperature drops back into the mid 40’s and the clouds remian. Rifle hunting season continues in the Catskills. If you haven’t done so already, it is time to find the winter clothing and layer appropriately. Some trails may be icy and the higher elevations may get some snow that is not present in the valley. Find your favorite hiking spikes and think about carrying them so that you do not have to turn back on your planned route. Keeping hydrated in the cooler temperatures can sometimes be tricky since you may not feel that you are sweating as much as on a warm summer day. Hydrating properly will allow you to hike longer and in greater comfort. 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!
On Saturday, November 21st I decided that I wanted to hike somewhere that deer hunting was prohibited. The Catskill Mountain Club had suggested Riddell State Park near Davenport Center. The park is relatively new but has over a 1000 acres and mile of trails. The part south of I88 has more trails and is near the Hartwick College Pine Lake Environmental Campus. About 380 acres of the park once belong to the college but now is state land. Cindy wanted to go with me but we had to stay in Livingston Manor until the first few hours of rifle season had passed. This always seems to be the time that most accidents occur in the woods. We left home at around 9:30 AM when the temperature was still in the mid 30’s. I drove north on Route 17 to Roscoe and then followed Route 206 into Downsville. I took the Telford Hollow Road out of Downsville to Route 10 where I turned right and headed toward Delhi. In Delhi I followed Route 10 to Route 28 and turned left to stay on Route 28 north to Merridale. In Merridale I turned right on the Merridale-Davenport Road. After crossing Route 23 IN Davenport Center, I followed Pine Lake Road to Charlotte Creek Road where I turned left. The Hartwick Pine Lake Center was .3 miles down the road on the left. Continue reading
On Friday, November 20th I decided that I wanted to return to Beacon to hike to the flag on Fishkill Ridge. I wanted to hike from the trailhead on Pocket Road since this was a new route for me. The weather report was for sunny skies with some clouds and highs reaching into the mid 50’s. When I got up in the morning, the temperatures was in the low 30’s and there was ice on the car windows. I got my gear and Sheila in the car at a little after 9:00 AM and drove east and south on Route 17 to Middletown where I picked up I84 east. After crossing over the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge, I took exit 11 and headed south on Route 9D. I took a left on Main St and followed it to E Main Street and then to Pocket Road. Pocket Road is a dead end street and near the end is a gate that controls access to part of the City of Beacon’s water supply. I was able to park in a turnout just before he gate but the number of parking spaces is very limited. There was one other vehicle parked. When I got ready to hike at 10:25 AM, the temperature had risen so I wore a light windbreaker instead of my heavier Mammut hoody. Continue reading
On Tuesday, November 17th I decided that I would return to the Quick Lake Trail at Frick Pond to remove two new blowdowns on the trail. I slept in and did not get up until 8:00 AM. The temperature was still below freezing and I knew it was expected to rise slowly into the high 40’s. I got my gear and an eager Sheila in the car and headed out the DeBruce Road about 10:10 AM. When we arrived at the trailhead there were no cars in the lot and the temperature was right at 40 degrees. I decided to keep on my Mammut Hoody and a light hat. I stowed my gloves in my pack as we headed out. For tools I had brought my smaller Silky saw and my Council Tools Velvicut felling axe. This is the heaviest axe I have and the last time I used it I had mixed feelings about its performance. I brought it this time to try it out again and because some of the trees were a pretty good size. We headed out on the Quick Lake Trail at 10:35 AM and continued to follow it over the bridge at the outlet end of Frick Pond. At the next trail junction we stayed to the left to fo0llow the Quick Lake Trail and after a short stretch we arrived at the blowdown I wanted to clear. Continue reading
On Monday, November 16th I decided that the rest of my week was looking pretty busy and between commitments and the weather I should take a hike. I had a limited amount of time before afternoon track practice so I decided to head to Frick Pond. When I got up the temperature was only 33 degrees but I knew that the forecast was for warmer weather as the day progressed. By the time I got my gear ready to go and got Sheila in the car it was already after 10:00 AM. I drove out the DeBRuce Road to Mongaup Pond Road where I turned left. I continued to follow the road bearing left onto Beech Mountain Road at the fork. When we arrived in the parking area there were no other cars which did not surprise me. Sheila was acting as if she hadn’t hiked in a month as I got myself ready to go. The temperature was in the high 40’s so I left Mt Mammut Hoody behind and put on a light windbreaker. I had traded in my Leki Micro Vario poles for a pair of even lighter Black Diamond poles which are best on easy trails. By 10:30 AM we were ready and headed out the back of the large parking area on the Quick Lake Trail. Continue reading
The week of November 15th began with a sunny Sunday. The temperature was cool in the morning but rose into the 50’s in the afternoon. The forecast for Monday is for temperatures rising into the mid 50’s in the afternoon with plenty of sun. On Tuesday the lows in the morning will be in the high 20’s but the daily highs will be only in the high 40’s. Sun and clouds will be around all day on Tuesday. By Wednesday it will be mostly cloudy with highs again in the high 40’s. Rain and wind move in for Thursday but temperatures will rise into the high 50’s. It will be cooler on Friday with some sun and clouds mixing and highs in the high 40’s. The clouds will increase on Saturday but the temperatures will be in the low 40’s for the first day of rifle hunting season in the Catskills. It is time to find the winter clothing and get ready to layer appropriately. Keeping hydrated in the cooler temperatures can sometimes be tricky since you may not feel that you are sweating as much as on a warm summer day. Hydrating properly will allow you to hike longer and in greater comfort. 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!
On Saturday, November 14th I was part of a Trail U training session sponsored by the New York Jersey Trail Conference and instructed by Doug Senterman. The purpose of the training session was to acquaint people with the proper way to maintain trails and the regulations that govern maintenance. The forecast for the day was not looking good the night before with rain or snow showers likely to appear at about 11:00 AM. The initial meeting took place at Morgan Outdoors in Livingston Manor where a group of eager volunteers met to meet each other and Doug. When I parked in town, I noticed several cars covered with layer of snow indicating that the higher elevations ahd already seen some snowfall. Some people who had registered did not show up while a few other people were able to attend making eight in total. Some people were local but one volunteer drove from Oneonta while another came from central New Jersey! Continue reading
On Friday, November 13th I planned to hike to the flag on Fishkill Ridge since I had missed hiking there on Veteran’s Day due to bad weather. I also thought I might hike a big loop including other parts of Fishkill Ridge or Beacon Mountain. I decided to hike from Sunnyside Road on the Overlook Trail which I had never been on before. Cindy said she would like to go so I immediately began to think of ways to alter the plan. I decided we might go to the flag and then do the Fishkill Ridge Loop or just go to the flag and return. It was windy and starting to rain when we left Livingston Manor just before 9:00 AM. The forecast for Fishkill was for temperatures in the mid 50’s but with a strong wind. The forecast put the chance of rain at 0%! I drove down Route 17 to Middletown where I picked up I84 east to exit 12. I turned right on Route 52 and drove .2 miles to Old Glenham Road where I turned left. After .9 miles, I took a left on Maple Street and followed it as it became Washington Avenue. I turned left on Old Town Road and drove .4 miles to Sunnyside Road. I drove to the end of Sunnyside Road and turned left into the well-marked parking area. Continue reading
On Wednesday, November 11th I had planned to hike to the flag on Fishkill Ridge since it was Veteran’s Day. The weather would simply not cooperate as a persistent storm hung over the Hudson valley until after noon. Since I did not know the exact conditions and since I wanted to take some pictures, I decided to put off the hike until later in the week. The skies around Livingston Manor began to clear and the chance of rain seemed less and less likely so I asked Cindy if she water to rake an afternoon walk. She agreed and suggested we go to Trout Pond and hike. We got our gear in the car and left Livingston Manor with an ecstatic Sheila in the back seat at about 1:25 PM. We were looking forward to seeing if Russell Brook Falls had a higher volume of water after the rain during the week. We headed north on Route 17 to Roscoe and took Route 206 toward Downsville but turned left onto Morton Hill Road just after the Roscoe Nursing Home. When we got to the intersection with Russell Brook Road, I turned around and parked on the side of the road to avoid parking in the large open space which is marked as private property. Continue reading
On Monday, November 9th, I had a lot of “errands” to do early in the morning and they took longer than I expected. When I finally broke free, it was already late morning. I decided to head to Frick Pond to finish some trail work on the Flynn Trail. I got my gear in the car and took along a lawn rake and a weed whip. Of course, Sheila was ready to go and she jumped in the back seat along with the extra equipment. We arrived at the parking area at about 11:00 AM to find one other car parked in the lot. I got the tools I needed for the Flynn Trail before heading out. I didn’t take my pack as I expected to come back to the car after the work to get in a short hike. Continue reading