Hodge Pond Lookout

HodgeLookoutFeb2016_15camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Sunday, Feb 28th, I asked Cindy if she would like to hike after church and she said “Yes”. We decided to go to the Hodge Pond Lookout to see what the view looked like without the leaves on the trees. We had a meeting and a luncheon after church so we didn’t get started until after 1:30 PM. I almost decided to put it off until Monday but Sheila seemed to be very excited about going and rain was in the forecast for Monday. The temperature at the house was pushing 50 degrees so I opted to forego a baselayer. We got our gear into them car, put Sheila in the backseat and headed off to the trailhead. We arrived just before 2:00 PM and found another group of hikers getting ready to start. They did not seem to be in any hurry and it appeared they had no idea where the trails were located. As they looked at the maps at the tailed, we crossed the road and headed up the Flynn Trail at 1:50 PM. Continue reading

Neversink Unique Area: Mullet and Denton falls

MulletDentonFeb2016_20camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Monday, February 22nd I wanted to hike locally but did not want to return to the Frick Pond area AGAIN! I asked Cindy if she would like to go to the Neversink Unique Area and she said “Yes”. I thought that the recent rain might have swollen both the Neversink River and Mullet Brook making Mullet Brook Falls and Denton Falls on the Neversink interesting. We left Livingston Manor a little after 9:00 AM and drove south and east on Route 17 to Rock Hill. I took Katrina Falls Road and drove all the way to the end, parking in the lot just before 9:30 AM. There were no other cars in the lot. The temperature was 28 degrees and there was a slight breeze which made it feel colder. When I turned on my GPS a warning told me the battery pack was low. I replaced the pack with AA batteries which seemed to work OK. My only complaint about the the Garmin GPSmap 64st is that the battery pack is really only good for one hike! Continue reading

Weather for the week of February 21st

The week of February 21st began with a sunny Sunday with temperatures rising into the high 50’s. Monday will be cooler with the high reaching only the high 30’s with partly sunny skies. The temperatures on Tuesday will be much the same but the skies will be mostly cloudy. Some rain moves in for Wednesday and Thursday but the highs will be around 40 on Wednesday moving into the high 40’s on Thursday. By Friday the temperatures drop back to the low 30’s and there is the possibility of some snow showers. The temperatures will not be much higher on Saturday but there should be sunny skies throughout the day. Despite the lack of snow in the valleys some of the trails on the 3500 peaks may be icy. The lack of snow does not indicate a lack of cold. Be sure you are dressed appropriately in winter clothing with layers that can be used to manage the changing temperatures. Pack your favorite hiking spikes so you don’t 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!

Weather for the week of February 14th

The week of February 14th began with periods of clouds and sun on Sunday but temperatures never rose above 10 degrees. The wind was not blowing as fiercely as Saturday so the low air temperatures were more manageable. On Monday the highs will start up again reaching the low 20’s which will seem warm compared to the weekend. Snow will move into the area Monday afternoon and continue over night with accumulations from 2 to 6 inches. The snow may switch over to freezing rain by Tuesday morning making the morning commute tricky. The temperatures will rise again reaching almost 50 degrees on Tuesday. On Wednesday the highs will drop back into the high 30’s and there is a chance of some snow shower. Sun will break through on Thursday but the high temperatures will be in the low 30’s. Friday will be partly sunny with highs in the mid 30’s. Clouds will roll into the area for the weekend but the highs on Saturday will be in the low to mid 40’s. Despite the lack of snow in the valleys some of the trails on the 3500 peaks may be icy. The lack of snow does not indicate a lack of cold. Be sure you are dressed appropriately in winter clothing with layers that can be used to manage the changing temperatures. Pack your favorite hiking spikes so you don’t 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 and Hodge Ponds

FrickHodgeFeb2016_01camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Tuesday, February 9th I had planned again planned to head to northern New Jersey to do a loop in Waywayanda State Park just south of Warwick. Once again snow fell making the roads slick and I decided to alter my plans and head for Frick and Hodge Ponds hoping to get there while the snow was untouched. By the time I finished some things I had to get done at home, it was after 11:00 Am before I left the house. I drove out the DeBruce Road to Mongaup Road and then stayed left where the road split to get tot the trailhead parking which had not been plowed. When we arrived at the trailhead there were no cars parked in the lot and the temperature was 24 degrees. The skies were blue and sunny with some white clouds and there was only a slight breeze blowing. I had brought with me my new camera, a Canon PowerShot SX60 HS, and my new GPS unit, a Garmin 64st. These are upgrades of the previous models and I hoped they would perform in much the same way. Continue reading

Weather for the week of February 7th

The week of February 7th began with periods of clouds and sun on Sunday with temperatures reaching into the high 30’s in Livingston Manor. The temperatures will drop to the low 30’s on Monday wit periods of snow overnight into Monday bringing the possibility of slippery roads. Tuesday will be much the same with more snow showers predicted just before sunrise. By Wednesday the temperatures will rise some but will stay in the high 30’s. As the end of the week approaches the temperatures will begin to drop bringing some of the coldest weather this year to the Catskills. Thursday’s temperatures may reach into the 30’s but by Friday the mercury will not get out of the twenties. The cold temperatures on Saturday coupled with high winds will bring the really possibility of frostbite on exposed skin within minutes. On Saturday the HIGHS will be in the singles digits with wind chills dipping as low as 30 below zero! These are good days to stay inside and clean and organize your gear! Despite the lack of snow in the valleys some of the trails on the 3500 peaks may be icy. The lack of snow does not indicate a lack of cold. Be sure you are dressed appropriately in winter clothing with layers that can be used to manage the changing temperatures. Pack your favorite hiking spikes so you don’t 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!

Bear Spring: East Ridge Loop from Middle Pond

gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Friday, February 5th I had planned to head south to Waywayanda Park in northern New Jersey just south of Warwick, NY. When I woke up Friday morning schools were closing in the area and 2 to 4 inches of snow was expected. I don’t have a problem hiking in snow but I didn’t want to chance becoming involved in a motor vehicle accident just to hike in the area. Cindy suggested that we head north away from the snow and we decided to go the Bear Spring Wildlife Management Area where I had hiked on Tuesday. I thought we might start at Middle Pond on East Trout Brook Road and hike up to the ridge. We could then hike south on the ridge to Trail 12 which would take us down to the road again near the Horse Camp. We could then hike the trail or the road back to the car. When we left Livingston Manor just before 10:30 AM, the temperature was 30 degrees and the wind was blowing. The skies were cloudy but there was some blue and the sun was breaking through. We headed north and east on Route 17 to Roscoe and then drove through Roscoe and Downsville on Route 206. As I drove up Bear Spring Mountain I watched for East Trout Brook Road on the left. I turned left and drove 2.2 miles south passing Launt Pond on the right and parking at Middle Pond on the left. Continue reading

Bear Spring: East Loop from Route 206

BearSpringEastFeb2016_06camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Tuesday, February 2nd I wanted to get out for the first hike of February. I was tired of the Frick Pond and Trout Pond areas so I decided to head to Bear Spring Wildlife Management Area between Downsville and Walton. The forecast for the day was for sunny skies and highs in the mid 40’s but when I left Livingston Manor at 8:30 AM it was 25 degrees with a completely overcast sky. I drove north and east on Route 17 to Roscoe and then drove through Roscoe and Downsville on Route 206. As I drove up Bear Spring Mountain I watched for the large parking area on the left which would allow access to the trails on the eastern ridge of the WMA. I parked at 9:00 AM and was on the trail soon after. The temperature was still in the low 20’s with a slight breeze. I had decided there wouldn’t be much snow and had traded in my Salomon B-52 snow boots for a pair of Vasque Taku hiking boots. Continue reading