Frick and Hodge Ponds: Flynn and Quick Lake Trails

FrickHodgeMar2015_01camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Monday, March 30th I had made tentative plans to hike with a friend at Frick Pond. When I called him mid-morning, he told me he was running late and would not be bale to make it. I decided that I would go anyway but hike a longer loop. I though I might go up the Flynn Trail as I had not been there for the entire winter. It had snowed some overnight leaving a blanket of one to two inches of fresh white over the melting snow. By the time I got Sheila and my gear in the car it was almost 12:30 PM. The temperature was about 37 degrees which worried me a little since the snow would be close to melting. I headed out DeBruce Road and made the familiar left turn onto Mongaup Road. At the split I headed to the left on Beech Mountain Road and parked in the smaller parking area on the left. When I let Sheila out of the car, she ran in circles around it until I was ready to go. Continue reading

Weather for the week of March 29

The week of March 29th began with generally sunny skies and temperatures in the mid to high 30’s on Sunday. The forecast for Monday calls for highs in the low 40’s with a few snow and rain showers throughout the day. On Tues day the temperature drops a few degrees with the threat of showers in the afternoon. Wednesday’s forecast is for temperatures in the low 40’s with plenty of sun and little or no wind. The temperature rises into the 50’s on Thursday with more clouds than sun. Showers will be around throughput the day on Friday but the temperature will remain in the 50’s. On Saturday and Sunday there will be more sun but the temperatures drop back into the low 40’s. There is still enough snow to make snowshoes a good idea for hiking on the peaks. Trails that are packed hard in the morning may soften with in increasing temperatures throughout the day. Crampons or spikes may be required in spots as the trail thaw and then refreeze. 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!

Long Pond Lollipop Loop

LollipopLoopMar2015_02camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Saturday, March 28th I had planned to go to Hunter Mountain and hike from Spruceton to the summit. IU wanted to get some views and another snowshoe hike before the snow was gone. When I awoke at 6:00 AM, I looked at the forecast for Spruceton which called for windchills in the single digits for the whole day and for some snow. I decided that I wanted some sunny views if I was going to hike to a fire tower. I do not mind hiking when it is cold since I have the appropriate clothing but Sheila only has one set of clothes and she seems to get a little cold when temperatures less than the mid-teens. As I was thinking about another hike I realized I had not been to Long Pond in some time. I also knew that the trails in this area would be packed by snowmobile traffic. Since I usually walk back on Flugertown Road, I would have to carry my snowshoes if I wore them. If the trails were packed, I could wear my spikes which are easier to carry on the road. Continue reading

Frick Pond with Bryce

FrickBryceMar2015_17camera32On Friday, March 27th, I wanted to get in a hike but wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I knew it would have to be short and local as I had track practice in the afternoon. Bryce, my 4 year old grandson, was at the house by 9:15 AM and told me he wanted to use his snowshoes before all the snow was gone. I decided we would go to Frick Pond and walk out to the bridge and back. Having Sheila and Bryce along means that much more to manage but I finally got both of them, my equipment and Bryce’s poles and snowshoes into the car. It was a little colder than I would have liked with the temperature only in the mid 20’s. The parking lots at Frick Pond were empty so I parked in the bigger lot and helped Bryce put on his snowshoes. The MSR Tykers do not have keepers on the front straps but I tucked them under the strap and they seemed OK. Continue reading

Cabot Mountain from Beech Hill Road

CabotMar2015_01camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Tuesday, March 24th, I was ready for my first hike of the spring season. Lisa had emailed me the night before and we decided to hike Cabot Mountain from Beech hill, a hike we had not attempted in the winter for over three years. The morning started out colder than I had anticipated so we delayed our departure until 9:30 when I picked Lisa up at her house. I drove up the Beaverkill Road to Beech Hill Road where I turned right. I continued 2.6 miles to the trailhead for Cabot Mountain. Even though it was spring, Lisa and I knew we would need snowshoes or spikes for the hike! At the trailhead parking area there was a bank of snow at least 5 feet tall. The parking area really wasn’t plowed but a wide pass had been made to open up enough space to get a car off the pavement. I pulled in and we got out to put on our gear. Sheila was excited as she ran up on the snow bank and down the trail as Lisa and I got ready. Continue reading

Weather for the week of March 22nd

The week of March 22nd began with snow flurries and cold, windy weather on Sunday. Although the temperatures rose above what was predicted, the gusting winds made the day feel very cold. The forecast for Monday calls for highs only in the mid 20’s with windchills making it feel like single digits until the afternoon. Tuesday should be warmer as the temperatures rise into the mid-30’s and plenty of sun will make it feel even warmer. By Wednesday the temperatures will rise into the low 40’s and on Thursday the thermometer will show highs in the low 50’s. There is a possibility of rain showers on both Wednesday and Thursday. The temperature will drop into the high 30’s for Friday with overcast skies. By Saturday the sun will be around again but the highs will be just above freezing. There is still enough snow to make snowshoes a good idea for hiking on the peaks. Trails that are packed hard in the morning may soften with in increasing temperatures throughout the day. Crampons or spikes may be required in spots as the trail thaw and then refreeze. 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!

Big Pond to Little Pond (road loop)

BigLittlePondsMar2015_01camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Thursday, March 19th I wanted to get out for what would be the last winter hike of the season. Of course, the Catskills have a way of prolonging winter and several inches of snow was in the forecast for Friday. I had decided to head for Big Pond for a hike to Little Pond and back. I had several possibilities to complete this loop including staying on the trails, walking back on the roads and making a side trip to Cabot Mountain. I expected the temperature to be low in the morning but when I awoke the thermometer had a single digit reading and the wind was blowing. I delayed my start leaving Livingston Manor just before 10:00 AM when the temperature had crept into the upper teens. Sheila seemed more than ready to go when we arrived at the Big Pond parking area. Continue reading

Willowemoc Trail Crew Kickoff

WTCKickoffMar2015_19camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Sunday, March 15th we had the kickoff meeting of the Willowemoc Trail Crew at Morgan Outdoors in Livingston Manor. The kickoff was postponed from March 1st due to inclement weather but 20 people showed up for a short meeting and a snowshoe adventure at Frick Pond. The trail crew was formed to help maintain and improve the trails that have been adopted by the NYNJTC in the Willowemoc Wild Forest and the Delaware Wild Forest. This includes the trails around Frick, Hodge, Mongaup and Long Ponds. It also encompasses the area of Trout and Mud Ponds and Huggins Lake. These two areas are in diffferent DEC regions but both have trails that need maintenance. Most of the 349.3 miles of trails in the Catskill [park are maintained by volunteers and volunteer trail crews. The meeting started promptly at 1:00 PM with a short presentation and the introduction of two special guests. Heather Rolland represented the NYNJTC and Ian Dunn, the DEC Region 3 land manager, was also present. Continue reading

Weather for the week of March 15

The week of March 15th begins with a forecast of rain showers and highs in the high 30’s for Sunday. The temperature rises into the mid 40’s by Monday with some sun. After that, the temperature again drops into the 30’s on Tuesday and  the mid 20’s on Wednesday. Both days may see some snow showers with little or no accumulation. Thursday the temperatures are again in the low 30’s rising to the low 40’s by Saturday. All three days will be primarily sunny. There is still enough snow to make snowshoes mandatory for any serious hiking on the peaks or, for that matter, in most of valleys! Trails that are packed hard in the morning may soften with in increasing temperatures throughout the day. Spikes may be required in spots as the trail thaw and the refreeze. 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!

Balsam Lake Mountain from Millbrook

BalsamLakeMillbrookMar2015_02camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Friday, March 13th, I had planned to hike Balsam Lake Mountain from the Millbrook side since it had been along time since I had hiked a 3500 foot peak. I knew I would be getting a late start as we had an active shooter drill at Livingston Manor schools from 7:30 AM to 12:30 PM. The drill went well and was over by 9:30 AM which was a pleasant surprise since I could now start my hike earlier. As soon as we got back to the building, we got an ambulance call in Roscoe. I was still back home before I had planned so I called Cindy who was shopping and she agreed to hurry home so that we could go. We were just heading out the door at 12:30 PM when the pager again went off for another call in Roscoe. There was no other EMT available so I responded knowing that it would mean changing plans to a much shorter local hike! When I got home at 2:00 PM, I decided we should try Balsam Lake as I had headlamps and the weather was warm. Continue reading