On Saturday, October 31st, I decided I wanted to go south to hike some part of Harriman State Park. On Friday I had been there for our league cross country championship and the leaves were still on the trees and very colorful. Cindy agreed to go and we decided on a loop on the Dunderberg Ridge to the Timp. I thought this would be less crowded than other parts of the park. When I looked at my records, I found I had not been there in 4 years! I wanted to leave home early to make sure we got a parking spot but that didn’t happen as we left after 9:30 AM. I drove down the Quickway to Harriman and then took Long Mountain Parkway to the traffic circle. From there I headed toward Bear Mountain State Park on Route 6 East and took Exit 19 on to Seven Lake Drive. Continue reading
On Tuesday, October 27th, I decided I wanted get out and do a hike close to home before going to cross country practice. I decided to go to Walnut Mountain in Liberty and try to hike all the trails that are not single track bike trails. I wanted get done as early as possible so I got Sheila and my gear in the car to head for Liberty a little after 9:00 AM. I decided to park at the main lot off Route 55 and arrived to find only one other car in the lot. I parked and we were ready to hike by 9:25 AM. I decided to walk down passed the ballfield to the north to pick up the Walnut Loop East. As I walked through the very wet grass, I realized that I should have walked around the field to cover the entire trail. We walked on the wide trail north toward the West Lake Street parking area. The leaves were mostly off the trees and on the ground. The temperature was still in the 30’s and a slight breeze was blowing. It was beautiful! Continue reading
On Monday, October 26th, I decided I wanted get out and do a hike close to home before going to cross country practice. I decided to go to Trout Pond since it is close and offers some nice views. I delayed our departure somewhat as the temperature continued to rise into the 40’s. I got Sheila and my gear in the car and left Livingston Manor to head to Roscoe on State Route 17. I got on Route 206 and followed it across the Delaware County line to Morton Hill Road. After a left turn on Morton Hill Road, I drove to the intersection with Russell Brook Road. I turned around and parked on the side of the road to avoid the parking area which is private. We began our hike down Russell Brook Road at 10:20 AM. The air still seemed cold to me so I wore my Mammut Hoody, a hat and light gloves. Continue reading
The week of October 25th began with a Sunday morning which was slightly warmer than the previous days. The temperature during the day reached almost to 60 degrees but the skies were overcast with some showers through mid-afternoon. The lows on Sunday night will reach down to freezing. Monday will be a sunny day with highs approaching 50 degrees. Tuesday will start with some sun but then clouds will move in. The expected high is in the low 50’s. By Wednesday the temperature will rise into the mid 50’s but rain showers will be around for most of the day. On Thursday there is the chance of a shower with a high in the low 60’s but cooler air will move in by the afternoon. Friday will be colder with a high only in the mid 40’s with times of sun and clouds. Saturday will be sunny but with highs reaching only into the high 40’s. 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 Friday, October 23rd, I wanted to get in a hike not too far from home but with some elevation gain. I decided that hiking Dry Brook Ridge from Hill Road fit the bill. I wait until later in the morning to leave home since the temperature was still in the high 30’s but was predicted to rise to almost 50 degrees. Sheila and I left Livingston Manor at 8:45 AM and headed up State Route 17 to Roscoe. I took Route 206 to the Pepacton Reservoir and turned right on Route 30 to head toward Margaretville. At the Dunraven Bridge I turned right onto BWS 9 instead of following Route 30. The reservoir was very low exposing a lot of land near the shore. The leaf colors around the reservoir were very bright in places and I decided I would stop on the way back to take some shots. Continue reading
On Wednesday, October 21st I wanted to get in a hike before cross country practice in the afternoon. I had a few things to get done in the early morning and by the time I could leave I knew that ‘closer was better’. I got my gear and Sheila in the car and left Livingston Manor a little before 10:00 AM to head for Frick Pond. The sky was overcast and I had already decided that this would be a fast hike without any stops! We were at the parking area and out on the Quick Lake Trail by 10:15 AM. Sheila was more than ready to get going. The temperature was in the high 40’s with a slight breeze so I wore a light windbreaker. The sky seemed to threaten rain but none was in the forecast. The trail was damp but there was no standing or running water. At Gravestone Junction we stayed to the left on the red Quick Lake Trail crossing the stepping stones the Willowemoc Trail Crew had installed later in the year. Continue reading
On Sunday, October 18th it had snowed enough in the morning to cover the ground but I wanted to get out for a short, local hike. I called Lisa to see if she was available and she was but not until 4:00 PM. We decided that I would pick her up at her store, Morgan Outdoors, and we would hike to Huggins Lake. I got my gear in the car along with Sheila who seemed thrilled to be out in the 36 degree weather and picked Lisa up a little after 4:00 PM. I drove up the Beaverkill Road and took the Campsite Road down toward the Beaverkill Covered Bridge. Since this bridge was closed for repairs, I turned left onto Craige Claire Road and crossed the Beaverkill on the steel bridge. I turned right onto Berry Brook Road to head for the parking area at Huggins Lake. As we drove along Berry Brook Road, we could see the brook was low but had increased in volume some in recent days. Continue reading
The week of October 18th began with a layer of snow covering the ground on Sunday morning! At 6:30 AM the temperature was 25 degrees with a slight breeze. During the day there was some sun but the high has in the high 30’s with more snow showers in the afternoon. The lows on Sunday night will reach into the low 20’s. On Monday there will be some sun but the highs during the day will be only in the high 40’s. Tuesday the temperatures will rise to 60 degrees with sunny skies and a chance of a late afternoon shower. The temperatures will rise again on Wednesday and Thursday with some sun and clouds. The highs will be in the mid 60’s and a shower is possible on Thursday. On Friday and Saturday the highs will be in the mid 60’s with partial sunshine throughout the day. It is time to find the winter clothing and be 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 Thursday, October 15th, I wanted to get in a quick hike close to home and decided to hike Hodge and Frick Ponds by starting up the Flynn Trail and returning on the Quick Lake Trail. When we left Livingston Manor just before 9:00 AM, the sun was beginning to peak through and the temperature was in the high 50’s. At the parking area the sun was out and the my was blue with some puffy white clouds. I wanted to hike quickly but knew I would have to stop at the ponds for a few pcitures. We walked across the road and started up the Flynn Trail at 9:10 AM. Once on the main trail I set a quick pace which, of course, Sheila exceeded at every point. She tends to roam off the trail following her nose but never too far and will come when called. It was nice to hike up the Flynn Trail unimpeded by blowdowns and know that I had helped clear them all! We hit the Big Rock junction at 9:50 PM making the 1.7 miles in about 40 minutes. The trail from that point is flat and then downhill to the pond so our pace increased. We walked through the field by the pond and went to the shore. Sheila did not seem interested in jumping in the cold water. I dropped my pack and took out the camera to take some shots of the pond. The leaves had changed colors a little more but were still subdued. After a few more shots, I picked up my pack and we headed up and around to the right to circle the pond. As we reached the head end of the lake, I walked down to the shore and took a few more pictures before returning to the trail.
On the other side we turned right and negotiated our way uphill passed some areas where I had cleared some major blowdowns that has blocked the trail. We continued to follow the blue Flynn Trail and passed through the gate at the top of the hill. The rest of the Flynn Trail had was damp in places but those areas were easily avoided. At 10:35 AM we were at Junkyard Junction where we turned left to head down the Quick Lake Trail. There was one large log on the trail by the junction but I decided that it was a job for the chainsaws of the snowmobile club! We had gone 3.6 miles in 1 hour and 25 minutes. The Quick Lake Trail was mostly downhill but was wet and a little slippery in places. We turned right at Iron Wheel Junction to stay on the Quick Lake Trail. The trip back to Frick Pond went quickly but some areas of the trail after the “pine promenade” were still wet. Soon we were at the bridge over the outlet of Frick Pond. I stopped to take a few pictures as this is one of my favorite spots in the Catskills! After taking a few shots, I put the camera away and we continued on to Gravestone Junction. The stepping stones we had placed were still there but the “mud pit” was dry. We stayed on the red Quick Lake trail back to the trail register. We turned right after the register and walked the Quick Lake Trail back to the car. We were back at the parking area at 11:45 AM having covered 6.7 miles in 2 hours and 30 minutes with a vertical gain of 960 feet.
On Monday, October 12th, Cindy and I were happy to be going on a hike with our son Karl, his wife Kathleen and their children. Bryce is 4 years old while Luke and Lilly who are twins are 2 years old. We decided to go to the Red Hill fire tower since Bryce had hiked there before. The hike is a short one with a rounder distance of about 2.6 miles but the elevation gain is over 800 feet. We agreed to meet at 9:30 AM at the trailhead but expected the rest of the family to be a little late since getting three young children ready is always challenging. As it was Cindy and I left Livingston Manor a little late with an excited Sheila in the back seat. I drove out DeBruce Road to Route 47 where I turned right. When I reached the intersection with the Claryville Road I turned left and drove through the hamlet for about 2 miles to Red Hill Road on the right. Red Hill Road ascends Red Hill and has some nice views along the way. Continue reading