Frick and Hodge Ponds: Quick Lake and Flynn Trail

QuickFlynnDec2015_01camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhike On Thursday, December 31st Cindy and I decided to go to Frick and Hodge Ponds for our last hike of 2015. This is fitting since we have spent so much time during the last year hiking and doing tail maintenance here. We had some things to take care of in the morning so we did not leave the house until just before noon. By the time we got Sheila and our gear in the car, the sun was shining at the temperature was in the high 30’s. We headed out the DeBruce Road to Mongaup Road. When we arrived at the trailhead there were no cars parked in the lot and the temperature had dropped to 31 degrees. There was some sun where we were but some dark clouds could be seen in the northwest. As we got ready to start our hike, I decided to keep on my Mammut Hoody and was glad I had worn a baselayer under my MH Winter Wander pants. We headed out on the Quick Lake Trail at 12:15 PM 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 as wet as it had been all year all the way to Gravestone Junction. When we crossed the bridge, I took a quick look at the view and decided to take a few shots as it looked like it was snowing at Hodge Pond and on Beech Mountain. I took some pictures of the outlet stream which was running freely. As I packed up my camera, I noticed that the wind blowing off the pond was making me really cold! At the next junction with the Big Rock Trail, we stayed to the left on the Quick Lake Trail. We kept a quick pace as we hiked the Quick Lake Trail toward Iron Wheel Junction even though we had to work our way around large puddles and some running water. I started to warm up as I hiked and opened the zippers on my hoody to let some heat escape. We stopped several times to remove some large branches and one tree trunk that had come down in the recent wind and ice. 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. As we walked, a fine snow began to fall and it increased in intensity the farther north we went. We continued walking quickly and arrived at Junkyard Junction at 1:45 PM after hiking 3.1 miles.

QuickFlynnDec2015_08We 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. The snow continued to fall but remained very fine. 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 to go to the shore of the pond and take a few pictures since the snow continued to fall and the scene was the definition of “bleak”. Cindy started up the Flynn Trail in an effort to stay out of the wind. After taking a few pictures, I headed after her. We started up the hill staying on the Flynn Trail and the walk up the hill seemed to go very quickly. Soon we were on the flat part of the Flynn Trail headed toward the junction with the Big Rock Trail. 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 colder since we had departed the trailhead, the wind was still blowing and snow was still falling. 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 3:15 PM when we returned. We had covered 6.4 miles in 3 hours. The elevation gain was a modest 910 feet.

Weather for the week of December 27

The week of December 27th began with an overcast and cooler Sunday after record breaking temperatures the previous week. Temperatures ere in the high 40’s to mi 50’s in most places but the skies remained overcast with only a little blue showing through. Monday will be partly sunny but clouds will dominate and temperatures will only reach into the mid 30’s. Snow is predicted to move in by Monday afternoon and this will continue overnight when temperatures will drop to the low 20’s. A winter weather advisory is in effect throughout the region. Expect roads to still be slippery on Tuesday morning when temperatures will still be low. During the day on Tuesday temperatures are expected to rise to almost 40. with some rain still in the area. The rain should clear by Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday will start out cloudy and cool. Rain should return on Wednesday afternoon with high temperatures reaching the low 40’s. Thursday will be cloudy with temperatures continuing to fall into the high 30’s. The temperatures will continue to drop on Friday when there will be a mix of sun and clouds but with highs right around freezing. Saturday should be sunny but the daytime highs will be right around 30 degrees! Despite the lack of snow in the valleys some of the trails on the 3500 peaks may be icy and this week will add to that condition.  If you haven’t done so already, it is time to find the winter clothing and layer appropriately. 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!

Pratt Rock

PrattsRockDec2015_09camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Thursday, September 25th we left Vromans Nose and headed south on Route 30. In Grand Gorge I turned left on Route 23 and took it through Prattsville. We traveled east on Route 23 to the other side of town and parked in the Pratt Rock parking area on the left side of the road. There were a few other cars parked in the lot. The skies were still gray but there were areas of blue and a few distinguishable clouds. We started our hike at 12:45 PM by walking through the picnic area to the far end where we started up the trail. As we approached the far end of the picnic area we met a few adults and several enthusiastic young boys returning from their hike! When we arrived at the trail junction, I chose to stay to the left rather than head directly to the carvings on the face of the cliff. We ascended the trail that leads to the overlook and I put Sheila on her leash so that she could again help pull me up the steep hill. I had decided to leave my poles in the car and was sorry that I did so. We were soon at the overlook and the situation was much the same as on Vroman’s Nose. Continue reading

Vroman’s Nose

VromansNoseDec2015_09camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Saturday, December 26 I knew that I had to get out for a hike after another week of fighting a cold and preparation for the Christmas holiday. There was a 40% chance of rain for Livingston Manor but the forecast called for almost no chance of rain farther north. I decided to go to Vroman’s Nose and Pratt Rock. Brad and Krista were at our house for Christmas and Brad wanted to go along. Sheila was very happy to be getting out so we packed our gear and got ready to go. The temperatures were forecast to be in the low 50’s so I dressed accordingly but threw in a rain jacket just in case. We left Livingston Manor just at 9:00 AM and headed up the Beaverkill Road to the Barkaboom 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, Grand Gorge and North Blenheim. Just outside of Middleburgh I turned left on Mill Valley Road. Less than a mile up the road I parked in the Vromans Nose parking lot on the left side of the road. I was surprised to see that the association that maintains the area had increased the parking lot to more than double its size! Continue reading

Weather for the week of December 20

The week of December 20th began with an overcast and cool Sunday with temperatures rising only into the high 30’s. Monday will be cloudy but milder with temperatures reaching into the low to mid 40’s. Tuesday rain moves in for the morning with showers possible throughout the day. Temperatures on Tuesday will rise into the low 50’s. Wednesday will be a repeat of Tuesday with persistent fog hanging around for most of the day. It appears there will be no White Christmas since temperatures are expected to rise into the low 60’s on Thursday with more scattered rain possible. On Christmas day, Friday, temperatures will drop back into the low 50’s with sun throughout most of the day. On Saturday temperaturess will fall into the mid 40’s with rain possible during the day. Rifle hunting season has ended in the Catskills but muzzle-loading season continues. Choose a spot to hike where you are least likely to meet hunters. Wear 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. From now on 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: Logger’s Loop

LoggersLoopDec2015_09camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Saturday, December 19th, I knew that I had to get out for a hike after almost two weeks of various commitments and a nagging cold! Every time I left the house Sheila would smell my clothes and then go lay down on the couch. She was ready to get out and run! I decided to go to Frick Pond as I didn’t know how far I could hike with my breathing limited by my congestion. After completing various chores around the house, I got Sheila in the car and headed for Frick Pond sometime after 1:00 PM. In Livingston Manor the sun was out but there was a slight breeze and the temperature was in the high 30’s. I decided to wear a warm outfit including tights under my Winter Wander pants and a long-sleeved baselayer with a light wool top. As I drove out DebRuce Road the temperature seemed to drop quickly and there was snow on the road. By the time I got to the Frick Pond parking area the temperature was barely 30 degrees and there was more than a dusting of snow. Continue reading

Weather for the week of December 13

The week of December 13th began with an overcast but mild Sunday with temperatures rising into the high 50’s. In some areas there were periods of light mist or rain while in others there was some sun. On Monday expect some early morning fog then some showers. The rest of the day will be cloudy until evening when showers again may list the area. On Tuesday the sun will come out but there will be some clouds with temperatures in the low to mid 50’s. Wednesday will be much the same but with temperatures in the low 40’s. By Thursday the rain returns with clouds and temperatures in the high 40’s. Friday and Saturday will be sunny with highs on Friday in the low 40’s. On Saturday the temperatures will begin to drop with highs reaching only into the mid 30s’.    Rifle hunting season has ended in the Catskills but muzzle-loading season has started. Choose a spot to hike where you are least likely to meet hunters. Wear 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. From now on 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!

Trout Pond

TroutDec2015_06camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Monday, December 7th, I decided I wanted get out and do a hike close to home since the weather was nice and the rest of the week was looking very busy. I decided to go to Trout Pond since it is close and offers some nice views and since I had been to Frick Pond so many times in the last few weeks. I had encountered hunters at Trout Pond in past years but they were few. Cindy decided she would go with us so we got dress, put our gear in the trunk and an overjoyed Sheila in the back seat. We left Livingston Manor just after 9:30 AM and headed 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 10:05 AM. Continue reading

Weather for the week of December 6

The week of December 6th began with a sunny Sunday with some clouds and temperatures rising into the high 40’s. In the early morning the trees in the valley were all covered in a coating of ice! Monday will be much the same with fog in the morning followed by sun and highs in the mid to high 40’s. On Tuesday a few more clouds move in keeping the daytime highs in the low 40’s. The sun is back on Wednesday but the temperatures will stay in the low 40’s. By Thursday the temperatures will again rise into the high 40’s and sunny skies will predominate. There is a chance of a shower on Friday with the highs again in the high 40’s. Saturday should be cloudy but the highs will reach into the mid 50’s.  Rifle hunting season does not end until Sunday December 13th when muzzle-loading season starts. Choose a spot to hike where you are least likely to meet hunters. Wear 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!

Silvermine Lake to Black Mountain

SilverMineLakeDec2015_02camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Saturday, December 5th I had decided that I wanted to get away from the Frick Pond area and hike in an area where hunting is not permitted. I thought of Harriman State Park but knew I would have to choose an out of the way location as the park is mobbed on weekends. The forecast was for sunny skies and temperatures in the high 40’s which I knew would make the area even more attractive. I decided I wanted to hike south of Route 106 to the west of Little Long Pond. I was not sure of my route but thought I would take in Tom Jones Mountain and Parker Cabin Mountain. This was my plan when I went to bed. The fire siren and ambulance pager sounded at at 12:30 AM for a working structure fire. There were no injuries at the scene but we stayed to “rehab” some fire-fighters and I did not get back to bed until 3:00 AM. I slept until 8:00 AM but could not get back to sleep. When I got up the temperature was in the high 30’s and the sun was out. I decided I would go on the hike even though I was tired. I was 15 minutes away from leaving when the pager again sounded and we responded on a call. By the time I got back I questioned whether I should attempt to execute my plan but in the end decided to go. Continue reading