FALL COLORS WARNING: The leaves in the western Catskills are changing rapidly! Brilliant colors are hard to find but they are around. Don’t wait to long to get out or you may miss it! The week of September 27th began with a warm and sunny Sunday with temperatures in the high 60’s. The forecast is for a mostly cloudy Monday with highs in the low 70’s. Clouds move in on Tuesday with a chance of early afternoon showers but the temperatures will remain in the low 70’s. On Wednesday there is a chance of showers in the morning with clouds for the rest of the day and temperatures only in the low 60’s. By Thursday there will be a ix of clouds and sun but the highs will only be in the mid 50’s! Rain is possible on Friday with the temperatures staying in the of to mid 50’s. Saturday there is a possibility of showers with temperatures largely unchanged. The need for insect repellent is decreasing but may still a good addition to your pack. Keep hydrated since you will be able 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 Sunday, September 27th I wanted to get out on a beautiful fall day to hike somewhere near to home after church. I also wanted to go somewhere to evaluate the state of the fall colors. I asked Cindy if she would like to go to Alder Lake and she agreed. I planned to hike to the Beaver Meadow Lean-to and the decide how much further to go. The hike to the Beecher lake Vista is over 9 miles so I thought that might be a stretch. We left Livingston Manor sometime after 11:00 AM and stopped in Roscoe at the Farmer’s Market. From There we took Route 206 to Berry Brook Road then picked up the Craig Claire Road. This eventually took us back to the Beaverkill Road which we followed through Turnwood. After passing through that small hamlet, I turned left on Alder Creek Road and drove to the access road for Alder Lake. When we arrived, the parking area was almost full but we were able to find a spot. Continue reading
On Wednesday, September 23rd I had hiked High Knob near Schunnemunk Mountain with my wife Cindy. She didn’t want to hike any further after the steep uphill so we turned around and headed back to the car. The total mileage was about 3.3 miles and I wanted to hike some more miles! We arrived home at about 2:30 PM and I immediately transferred my gear and Sheila to my car to go to Hodge and Frick Ponds for a 6 mile loop. We arrived at the parking area at 2:50 PM to find one other car in the lot. The temperature was about 65 degrees but it was sunny with a slight breeze. The conditions were ideal for a quick hike on the first day of fall. At 2:55 PM we crossed the road and started up the Flynn Trail. Continue reading
On Wednesday, September 23rd I asked Cindy if she wanted to hike and she agreed. I wanted to go to someplace interesting and thought she might like the view from High Knob which is on the Long Path from Route 32 in Highland Mills to the Schunemunk Ridge. We wanted to make sure the fog had burned off and were in no hurry to leave the house too early as the temperature at 6:30 AM was 43 degrees! We got our gear together, put it and Sheila in the car and headed south on Route 17 at a little before 9:30 AM. I drove all the way to the last exit before the Thruway and headed north on Route 32 through Woodbury and Highland Mills. We passed under the Conrail trestle and looked for a place to park. The Long Path crosses just north of the trestle but there is no place to park there. Continue reading
On Monday, September 21st I wanted to get in a hike close to home and Cindy agreed to accompany me. Whenever I have cross country practice in the afternoon, I can’t bring myself to travel too far or to hike too long as I feel my committmet to coach. I knew this probably ould be the last hike of the summer and the trees were already beginning to change especially on the hills. Cindy and I decided to go to Long Pond and do the big loop in a counterclockwise direction. I wanted to walk as fast as we could but take a few pictures along the way. I got Sheila in the car with my gear and headed out DeBruce Road for about 8 miles to Flugertown Road where I made a left. I parked in the lot a short distance up the road on the right. The day had started out with a low of 41 degrees at 6:15 AM but it was now warming up and the temperature was well above 60 degrees. There was some sun but the skies were mostly cloudy and a slight breeze was blowing. It felt like autumn as we left the parking area at 10:45 AM to hike up the snowmobile trail. Continue reading
The week of September 20th began with a warm and breezy Sunday with sunny skies and temperatures in the high 60’s. The forecast is for a partly sunny Monday with some clouds and sun and highs into the mid 60’s. The temperature rises into the high 60’s by Tuesday with clouds early and then sunny skies. On Tuesday and Wednesday there is more sun on tap with highs in the low 70’s. Friday and Saturday should see partly sunny skies with highs back in the mid to high 60;s. No rain appears to be in sight at this time but rain is badly needed! The need for sunscreen may be decreasing but insect repellent is still a good addition to your pack. Keep hydrated since you will be able 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 Friday, September 18th, I didn’t schedule cross country practice and wanted to do a hike a little farther away from home. I decided to head for Black Rock Forest and hike a loop over Black Rock that I had done before. I didn’t feel like spending all day but thought a nice 6 mile walk would be fine. I knew that the Black Rock Forest had just been turned over to New York state to become part of Storm King but IU didn’t expect any real changes. I got my gear together put it in the trunk and an enthusiastic Shiela in the back seat. We left Livingston Manor at about 8:30 AM and I headed to Middletown on Route 17. From here I went east on I84 to Newburgh where I turned south on Route 9W heading toward Cornwall. As I drove south, I started to think about using a route that, at least partly, I had not hiked before. Continue reading
On Wednesday, September 16th, Lisa wanted to go for a hike and was free until about 1:00 PM. We talked about places to go and decided to hike near Peekamoose from the Peekamoose Road. I suggested hiking to the lower plane crash on Van Wyck and researched the coordinates although I had been there several times. Lisa arrived at my house just after 9:00 AM. We put our gear in the trunk of my car and Sheila in the backseat and started down the Quickway to Liberty. From Liberty I took Route 55 toward Grahamsville where I turned left on Route 55A just after the TriValley school. I followed 55A to Sundown Road and in Sundown took the Peekamoose Road north about 3 miles to the main parking area used to hike to Peekamoose Mountain. I found that I had left the coordinates for the plane crash at my house and that Lisa was more comfortable hiking the trail anyway. At 10:00 Am we started up the trail knowing with Reconnoiter Rock as our objective. I had worn a light jacket on top of a long-sleeved shirt but quickly ditched it in the car as the temperature was rising rapidly. I also left behind the hat and gloves! The trail to Reconnoiter Rock is simply up all the way. In the first .2 miles to the register box we gained 180 feet with an average 18% grade. This is a quick way to get warmed up fast. The trail moderates some after that as it follows a woods road until turning off and continuing through the woods. Lisa and I both noticed how open the woods are in this area which makes it easy to walk off trail. The trail alternates between relatively flat spots and several much steeper sections which wind there way through rocky outcrops. As we climbed, we could get a glimpse of the valley below and the mountains beyond. At one time there were some viewpoints just off then trail but these have grown in so that the best viewpoint is the one above Reconnoiter Rock just before the final climb to the summit of Peekamoose. We knew we should be turing aound at about 11:00 AM but by that time we were not quite at our goal. We elected to keep walking and at 11:20 Am we finally arrived at Reconnoiter Rock. The rock is a large glacial erratic balanced on some bedrock. There was once a view but it has been eliminated as the trees have grown up. I dropped my pack and took some pictures of the rock and some more with Sheila posed by it. I also took a few pictures of Lisa holding a ProBar near the rock. At 11:30 Am we started our descent back to the car. Going down was definitely easier but not easy especially in some of the steeper places. We did stop once so that I could take a picture of a tree across the trail. The tree is huge so it has been left in place. A step has been but in the lower trunk and another notch has been cut in the upper trunk to allow for some headroom as hikers pass. We set a quick pace down the mountain arriving back at the car at 12:40 PM. We were both surprised that the return trip was only 10 minutes shorter than the ascent. We had covered 4.5 miles in 2 hours and 40 minutes with a vertical gain of 1690 feet. Although we did not summit a mountain we had a good hike in almost ideal weather.
On Monday, September 14th, Karl arrived in Livingston manor ready to hike at about 10:00 AM. We had planned to do Table and Peekamoose from Denning but dinner plans put a damper on that trip. We talked about Dry Brook or Millbrook Ridge but decided to head to Balsam Lake Mountain as it is one of Karl’s favorite hikes. When I looked at the temperature on the back porch it was just 55 degrees and I knew it would be cooler at the trailhead. Karl wore shorts and a longsleeved short! I had on pants, a longsleeved shirt and a light jacket. I also packed a light hat and gloves. We put our gear and Sheila in the car and left Livingston Manor a little after 10:30 AM and headed up the Beaverkill Road. The forecast was for partly sunny skies with temperatures rising into the mid to high 60’s. As we continued on the road I saw no sun and the temperature was dipping lower the farther north we went. The sky was completely covered in clouds and there was a light mist or drizzle falling. Continue reading
The week of September 13th began with a cool and breezy Sunday with cloudy and overcast skies and temperatures in the high 60’s. The forecast is for a breezy Monday with some clouds and sun and highs into the mid 60’s. The temperature rises Ito the mid-70’s by Tuesday with sunny skies. The rest of the week through Saturday should be warm and nice with sunny skies and temperatures in the high 70’s. The need for sunscreen may be decreasing and but insect repellent is still a good addition to your pack. Keep hydrated since you will be able 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!