On Wednesday, July 30th I wanted to go back to Schoharie County and complete the Long Path section from Doney Hollow to West Fulton. I had left off at Old Cemetery Road but starting there would mean driving on the state forest roads. The roads in the area seemed a little “primitive” so I planned to park in the hamlet of West Fulton and hike to where I had stopped and back. The weather forecast was so good but I had to be back for twilight track. I wanted to leave Livingston Manor early but somehow didn’t get started until about 8:30 AM. I got Sheila in the car and we headed up the Beaverkill Road to the Barakaboom Road. At the end of the road I turned right on BWS 10 and took it to Route 28 in Margaretville. We turned right and then left to follow Route 30 through Margaretville, Roxbury and Grand Gorge. After passing through North Blenheim, I kept a watch for West Fulton Road on the left. I turned left on West Fulton Road and drove about 3 miles to the four corners in West Fulton. Continue reading
On Tuesday, July 29th I wanted to go back to Schoharie County and start a new section of trail from Doney Hollow to West Fulton. I planned to break then hike into two sections with the middle point being the place where the trail meets Old Cemetery Road. The weather forecast was good but there was a chance of an afternoon shower. I wanted to leave Livingston Manor early but had to meet with a contractor at our church at 8:30 AM. The contractor arrived early and the meeting was short so I was able to leave just after 8:30 AM. I got Sheila in the car and we headed up the Beaverkill Road to the Barakaboom Road. At the end of the road I turned right on BWS 10 and took it to Route 28 in Margaretville. We turned right and then left to follow Route 30 through Margaretville, Roxbury and Grand Gorge. Just after coming to North Blenheim, I turned left on West Kill Road and drove a little over two miles where there was a small pulloff on the left side of the road. We got ourselves ready and started our hike at 10:05 AM by walking along the road and over a bridge to the point where the trail cut right into the woods. Continue reading
The forecast for week of July 27th calls for sun on Sunday with some clouds and temperatures in the low 80’s. Rain is expected Sunday night continuing through Monday morning. Temperatures for the rest of the week will rise from the low to mid-70’s. There is a possibility of afternoon thunderstorms through Friday. The forecast for Saturday is for thunderstorms throughout the day. 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 Friday, July 25th I was still a little tired from the hike day before. The weather forecast was so perfect I decided to go back to the Mine Kill Falls area and hike from Conesville To Mine Kill Falls. I knew this route had a lot of road walking and that this would make my estimated 12 mile route easier than hiking it all on trails. to leave Livingston Manor just before8:00 AM. We headed to Roscoe on Route 17. From Roscoe we went north on Route 206 to the Pepacton reservoir and turned right when we got to the T at Route 30. We followed Route 30 to the Dunraven Bridge and then took BWS 10 to Route 28 near Margaretville. We turned right and then left to follow Route 30 through Margaretville, Roxbury and Grand Gorge. In about 5 miles we were at the junction with Route 990V and turned right. I drove about 3 miles to Conesville and turned right on the Prattsville Road. Just after crossing the bridge, I parked on the side of the road. Continue reading
On Thursday, July 24th I had planned to hike a section of the Long Path starting at Mine Kill Falls and heading north. After hiking the day before, I did not know if Cindy would feel like coming but she said she was interested so we decided to go. We wanted to get an early start but it always seems something interferes. After taking care of some issues, we were able to leave Livingston Manor just before 9:00 AM. headed to Roscoe on Route 17. From Roscoe we went north on Route 206 to the Pepacton reservoir and turned right when we got to the T at Route 30. We followed Route 30 to the Dunraven Bridge and then took BWS 10 to Route 28 near Margaretville. We turned right and then left to follow Route 30 through Margaretville, Roxbury and Grand Gorge. In about 6 miles we were at the entrance to Mine Kill Falls and turned right to park in the parking area. Continue reading
On Wednesday, July 23rd I wanted to celebrate my birthday by hiking with Cindy and Karl. Karl had a real estate closing in the morning but said he would be ready by about noon. Karl made it to our hose at the appointed time and we were ready to leave by 12:15 PM. I had decided since time was limited we could do a short hike but we all wanted something new and a little different. I chose the new trails on Palmer Hill that had been constructed by the Catskill Mountain Club and opened this summer. When I looked on their website the description said that the trailhead parking was on Finkle Road about 2 miles east of Andes on Route 28. We all got into our car with our gear and, of course, Sheila and headed to Roscoe on Route 17. From Roscoe we went north on Route 206 to the Pepacton reservoir and turned right when we got to the T at Route 30. We followed Route 30 all the way to Route 28 and turned left. As we began to head up Palmer Hill we found Finkle Road on the right and pulled into the parking area. Continue reading
On Tuesday, July 22nd I to continue to work on the Shawangunk Ridge Trail. I decided to go to Minnewaska to hike the Jenny Lane Trail to the Rainbow falls Trail and over Litchfield Ledge. I lknew that I could reverse the route to get back or decide to try a loop. Sheila and I left Livingston Manor and drove through Grahamsville on Route 55. We took a shortcut to Route 209 and then took Route 44/55 over the mountain to the Jenny Lane Parking area just before the Minnewaska State Park entrance. We started our hike along the road at about 9:00 AM and I missed the faint paint blaze and blue disk on the other side of the road the first time. We crossed the road and were soon on the trail which is less used than many in the park. Soon we came across a tree hanging in the middle of the trail and I knew we were on the Shawangunk Ridge Trail. We gained a little elevation and passed over some open rocks before coming to an area where the trail is deeply eroded and lined by laurel. I was watching my foot placement as many of the rocks were slippery. Just before a mile I looked ahead to see that some brush blocked the trail and that Sheila was simply sitting on the trail waiting for me. I thought this strange as she normally would just go around the obstruction but she does sometimes wait for me. When I got to her, I decided to walk around the brush to the left as it seemed others had gone that way. I took half a step into the brush and hear the unmistakable “zingggg” of an Eastern timber rattlesnake. I looked down and saw a four foot snake coiled and rattling as loudly as it could. Sheila never moved! I thought about going around. I thought about taking a picture! I finally did the right thing and turned around to hike back to the car! I had not expected to see a rattlesnake on the east side of Route 44/55 although I have seen them by the Peters Kill on the west side. I decided that if there was one there might be more and I did not want to take a chance with the Sheila. If I had been alone, which I seldom am, I might have walked around and continued the hike. I was disappointed that I had to cut the hike short but I feel it was the right choice. I decided that the rest of the SRT near Port Jervis and Minnewaska and wait until after the first snow as I now have seen rattlesnakes recently in both areas. Seeing the snake raised questions in my mind about rattlesnake bites and emergency medical care and I will be investigating the answers.
On Sunday, July 20th I had planned to go with my wife, Cindy, to Mine Kill State Forest near Middleburgh and to hike part of the Long Path in that area. The weather forecast changed from sunny to overcast with a chance of rain. When We decided to change plans Cindy decided she did not want to hike. I wanted to continue to work on the Shawangunk Ridge Trail. I decided to go to Ellenville and park near the beginning of the South Gully Trail on Route 52 and hike south to at least the yellow connector trail. I had in mind about a 6 mile round trip and could always decide to go a little farther. This would connect the northern and southern sections of the trail I had already hiked. Sheila was ready to go even after a day off on Saturday and we left Livingston Manor after church around 11:00 AM. I took the Quickway to Liberty where I picked up Route 52 which I took through Woodbourne and Ellenville. As I drove up the mountain outside Ellenville heading toward Pine Bush, I pulled over just after the South Gully bridge. I turned around and parked on the wide shoulder. Sheila and I were ready to go 11:45 as we tagged the beginning of the South Gully Trail and then crossed the road to pick up the Long Path and SRT heading south. The trail descended from the road and the trail marking immediately disappeared at a T! We turned left on what is marked on the maps as Old Route 52 and soon found the aqua blazes of the Long Path which seemed to alternate with the dark blue blazes of the SRT. The road was wide and grassy at this point as we headed mostly uphill. We continued on the road which became MUCH rockier in places but continued to head uphill on a very slight grade. We crossed several small streams heading generally southwest. At 2.4 miles the trail suddenly turned 180 degrees and headed northeast to avoid descending into a deep ravine. At 2.6 miles we reached a trail junction with the yellow connector trail continuing straight ahead to a parking area on Route 52. This was as far as I “had” to go but not as far as I wanted to go. We turned right to stay on the Long Path and SRT.
The trail immediately began to climb up a ridge and was at times steep. There were open rock faces to climb over and some were a little slippery from the accumulation of pine needles. Within a short distance there was an open rock face with some nice views to the west and north. I stopped to take some pictures despite a slight haze in the distance. I could see some of the Catskill peaks to the north. The ascent continued for another .6 miles gaining 675 feet with an average grade of right around 20% but with some areas nearly 30%. It was a nice climb and several times I thought I was at the top only to find higher ground ahead. I had thought about stopping at 3 miles but decided we would continue to the highest point on the ridge and turn around when the trail started to descend. In two or three more spots there were open views from rock faces and we stopped as I took some more shots. The trail began to level off at 3.25 miles and became completely overgrown by laurel and scrub oak. This neglect for the trail had been my experience on previous hikes and it is a shame. Not many people hike the trail so the vegetation does not get pushed back and since it is not much used it is not well maintained so people don’t hike it! At about 3.4 miles we came across a young man sitting on a rock by the side of the trail. We talked for a few minutes. He said the trail ahead was even more overgrown. I showed him the Avenza app on my cell phone that displays many trail maps in pdf form and also shows your position and will record a GPS track. We walked a little farther to 3.5 miles and the turned around to come back at around 1:30 PM. The young man was gone and we set a quick pace as we had already seen what was to be seen. We passed the hiker after bit as he was sitting in the shade. The return trip went much faster as it was mostly downhill. I had to be careful descending to the woods road as the trail was steep and slippery in spots. We hit the woods road at 2:00 PM about 4.3 miles into the hike. The hike back form that point was uneventful but the rocky portions were annoying. We did meet a pickup truck headed toward us at one point. We were back at the car just before 3:00 PM having covered 6.9 miles in 3 hours and 12 minutes. The total vertical gain was 1594 feet.
The forecast for week of July 20th calls for some sun on Sunday with cloudsTtemperaturesa are expected to rise through Wednesday with thunderstorms a possibility on Monday and Tuesday afternoon. Wednesday will be the warmest day of the week with a high in the mid 80’s with mostly sun for the whole day. Thunderstorms return on Thursday in the afternoon but the temperature will be in the mid-70’s for the rest of the week. Friday and Saturday will be sunny. 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 Friday, July 18th I wanted to continue to work on the Shawangunk Ridge Trail near Wurtsboro. I decided to go to Wurtsboro and park near Haven Road to hike to the VFW in Wurtsboro to connect the northern and southern sections of the trail I had already hiked. Sheila was ready to go even after a long hike the day before and we left Livingston Manor just before 8:30 AM. I turned off the Quickway at the exit for Route 209 and headed south toward Port Jervis. I drove about 2 miles south and turned left on Haven Road. I followed the road as it crossed over the Basha Kill. At the first intersection I turned left and parked in the large lot. We got out of the car and were ready to hike by 9:05 AM. We headed northeast on the old railroad bed which makes up a good part of the SRT in this area. It was warm but not really hot and the humidity was manageable. Continue reading