Frick and Hodge Ponds: Quick Lake and Flynn Trails

gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Monday, November 30th I looked at the weather forecast and knew that I would probably not be1hiking on Tuesday or Wednesday due to the forecast for rain both days. I decided to get out for a hike after working a little in the morning on some web projects. I finished my work at about 10:15 Am and looked at the thermometer to find that the temperatures was still below freezing! I knew I would have to hike near home because I had track practice in the afternoon. Hunting season also limited the number of places to choose from so I just decided to head for Frick and Hodge Ponds. I got dressed, got my gear together and put an eager Sheila in the car. I headed out the DeBruce Road just after 13:00 AM. When we arrived at the trailhead there were no cars parked in the lot. As we got ready to start our hike, I decided to keep on my Mammut Hoody as it was only 31 degrees. I wore Cindy’s blaze orange hat just in case anyone was hunting in the area and wore light gloves as my hands were cold. We headed out on the Quick Lake Trail at 10:50 AM and turned left at Gravestone Junction to follow the Quick Lake Trail to the bridge over the outlet of Frick Pond. The Quick Lake trail was wet all the way to Gravestone Junction. When we crossed the bridge, I took a quick look at the view and decided the scene was not that different from the many times I had photographed it before. At that point I made up my mind that something very special would have to reveal itself for me to slow down to take pictures. We kept a quick pace as we hiked the Quick Lake Trail toward Iron Wheel Junction. The trail was wet but much of the water and mud was frozen. This was a little uncomfortable because I often took a step which initially seemed sound but then sank into the frozen mud. I started to warm up as I hiked and opened the zippers on my hoody to let some heat escape. At Iron Wheel Junction, we turned left to stay on the Quick Lake Trail toward Junkyard Junction. The walk is all uphill but the grade is only slight to moderate. At about 2.6 miles I looked up to see another new blowdown across the trail. I made a note of the location and the fact that it wasn’t too big. I knew I could easily get it with my saw and the smaller Fiskar’s axe. We continued walking quickly and arrived at Junkyard Junction at 12:05 PM after hiking 3.1 miles.

We turned right at the junction onto the Flynn Trail which is relatively flat at this point. The trail was wet and icy in spots where there is exposed bedrock. At the gate we followed the trail to the right and down toward the shore of Hodge Pond. As we neared the pond we turned right to stay on the Quick lake Trail to the outlet of Hodge Pond. The woods road was rutted and had some water but the muddiest spots were easily avoided. We were soon at the outlet end of Hodge Pond. I decided not to go to the shore of the pond since the scene here was also very familiar. We turned right and started up the hill staying on the Flynn Trail. The walk up the hill seemed to go very quickly and soon we were on the flat part of the Flynn Trail headed toward the junction with the Big Rock Trail. As we were ascending the hill I saw some partridge cross the trail. Sheila saw them also and chased after them. The partridge seemed to hesitate and Sheila came very close to nabbing one! We continued on the Flynn Trail passing through the gate to the trail junction. We didn’t stop at the trail junction but kept walking on The Flynn Trail. From this high point on the hike, the trail descends 1.7 miles to the parking area. We kept up a fast pace on the descent which seemed to drag just a little. The day had grown slightly warmer with sun and almost no clouds. Soon we were headed down the hill to the gate where we turned left to stay on then Flynn Trail. We walked down the short section of trail I had refurbished and then hiked through the woods back to the parking area. It was 1:15 when we returned. We had covered 6.4 miles in 2 hours and 20 minutes with only 1 minute of stopped time. The elevation gain was a modest 910 feet.

Weather for the week of November 29

The week of November 29th began with a sunny Sunday with temperatures rising into the mid 40’s and a slight breeze. On Monday the highs will only reach into the high 30’s but there will be plenty of sun. The forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday is for a 40% or better chance of showers throughout the day on both days. Temperatures will be in the low 40’s on Tuesday and the high 40’s on Wednesday. By Thursday the rain will leave but the temperature will only be at 40 degrees. Friday and Saturday look like they will be sunny with highs in the low 40’s. Rifle hunting season continues in the Catskills. Choose a spot to hike where you are least likely to meet hunters. Where blaze orange wherever you go and make noise. Hiking mid-morning to early afternoon may also help reduce your contact with hunters. 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!

Frick Pond Trail Maintenance

FrickMaintenanceNov2015_25camera32On Friday, November 27th I had not decided where I would go to hike. Every time I thought of a location it was too far away or one that was heavily hunted. The morning temperature was mild compared to the previous days and was well above freezing when I got up. Just before 7:00 AM the ambulance pager sounded for a mutual aid call to Roscoe. The patient wanted to go to the hospital in Walton and by the time I got back home it was after 9:30 AM. I decided to return to the Frick Pond area to remove blowdowns on the Logger’s Loop and Big Rock Trail. Cindy said she would go with me so we got dressed and I got my gear together for the work I was going to do. I again took my Council Tools Velvicut felling axe and my Silky saw and threw in some felling wedges just in case. We put our gear and an eager Sheila in the car and headed out the DeBruce Road just before 10:00 AM. When we arrived at the trailhead there were a few cars already parked in the lot. I assumed some were hunters and the others were hikers. We got ready to start our hike. Since the temperature had risen into the high 40’s, I put on a light windbreaker and Cindy’s blaze orange hat. I stowed my gloves in my pocket as we headed out. Continue reading

Riddell Sate Park: Blue Trail

BlueTrailNov2015_01camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Wednesday, November 25th I decided that I wanted to return to Riddell SP see if I could find and hike the Blue Trail which we had missed on our previous visit. 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. We left home at around 9:30 AM when the temperature was still in the id 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. As we gained elevation, the trees became covered with hoar frost. I stopped at the top of Telford Hollow and took pictures before continuing 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

Frick Pond: Flynn Trail, Big Rock Trail, Loggers Loop

gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Tuesday, November 24th, I decided I wanted to get out and hike close to home before heading to the pep rally and track practice. When I woke up at 6:00 AM the temperature was 19 degrees and the high for the day was only supposed to get to 35 degrees! I did some chores around the house and then got the mail. I received an annoying letter which required me to handle a situation so I didn’t leave for the hike until after 10:30 AM. I got my gear in the car, put Sheila in the back seat and then headed out to Frick Pond. I wore a long-sleeved baselayer underneath a light but warm Icebreaker top. I wore a hat and gloves and even put a pair of light tights on underneath my MH Winter Wander pants! Of course, this was all topped off by my Mammut Hoody.Wwe parked just before 11:00 AM and were on the trail a few minutes later. We headed across the road and started up the Flynn Trail. The day was still cold but the sun was bright and Sheila was having a great time running around. I had several things to think about and must have left a good pace because before I knew it we had walked the 1.7 miles to the junction with the Big Rock Trail. I checked the GPS and found I had kept a pace of 3 mph up the long hill. We turned left to walk down the hill to Times Square. Once again I got lost in my thoughts which made the walk seem exceptionally short. I did find a new blowdown across the Big Rock Trail. It was a single trunk and it looked like I might be able to lift it out of the way. Looks can be deceiving! I noted where it was and decided to make a later trip to remove it. After hiking 2.8 miles we arrived at Times Square. Without hesitation, I turned right and headed up the Logger’s Loop. Not long after climbing the initial hill, I found another new blowdown across the trail. This one had a rather large trunk and a lot of branches. I added it to the list of things to do on a work trip. We continued on the trail arriving at Iron Wheel Junction where we turned left to head back toward Frick Pond. The walk is mostly downhill and we were soon at the small stream through the woods. It still had a good flow of water. Sheila got a drink while I swung across. Just after the pine promenade the trail became wet and muddy but it was easy to work around the worse spots. We walked over the bridge at the outlet of Frick Pond. There was nothing remarkable about the view so we continued back to the car. We were back at 1:00 PM having covered 5.5 miles in 2 hours with an elevation gain of 907 feet.

Weather for the week of November 22

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!

Riddell SP: Mud Lake

MudLakeNov2015_01camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn 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

Hudson Highlands: Fishkill Ridge – Pocket Rd to Flag

FishkillFlagPocketRDNov2015_01camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn 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

Frick Pond Trail Maintenance

FrickMaintenanceNov2015_01camera32On 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

Frick and Hodge Ponds

FrickHodgeNov2015_06camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn 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