Alder Lake to Millbrook Ridge

MillbrookRidgeJun2016_03camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Wednesday, June 29th I wanted to get out on a beautiful summer day to hike somewhere! I had again thought about going to Indian head and Twin but got up a little too late to make that trip. I decided to hike nearer to home and chose to go to Alder lake to hike Millbrook Ridge to the Beecher Lake lookout. We left Livingston Manor sometime after 10:30 AM and drove up the Beaverkill Road through Lew Beach and Turnwood. I turned left on Alder Creek Road and drove to the end where turned right onto the access road to Alder Lake. The road was very rough but soon we were at the parking lot where there was only one car present. I parked at got Sheila out of the car. After setting up all my electronic gear, we headed out toward the lake. The construction crew that was “fixing” the dam was wiring and they did seem to be making progress. I did want to ask someone what they were doing but they seemed pretty busy. Continue reading

Flynn and Big Rock Trails

gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Monday, June 27th Bryce was at our house for the day so Cindy and I decided we should go for a hike rather than sit in front of the TV or computers all day! When our grandson Bryce arrived early we asked him if he would like to go for a hike. His enthusiastic “Yes!” convinced me that we all should go to Frick Pond and hike up the Flynn Trail and down the Big Rock Trail. At Times Square we could hike the Logger’s Loop back to the Quick Lake trail and the parking area. Sheila was ready to go at any time and Cindy got herself dressed and we left Livingston Manor at 10:00 AM. After driving out the DeBruce Road and up the Mongaup Pond Road we arrived at the Frick pond trailhead parking area at 10:15 AM and got ready to hike. A couple of friends approached us from the area of the cabin and I hoped they had permission to hike through the private property. They also had an unruly dog with them so I put my unruly dog on her leash! We crossed the road and started out by hiking up the Flynn Trail toward the junction with the Big Rock Trail. The day was warm with temperatures in the mid-70’s and a little humid with a slight breeze blowing. We allowed Bryce to set the pace and he did a good job. Hiking with a five year old Bryce is almost like hiking with another adult. Bryce notices everything and has lots of questions but also contributes to the discussion. At one point he showed us a tree that he thought was a paper birch and explained his reasoning. He was absolutely correct. We came across some coyote scat which he correctly identified and then made a series howls and yelps that made Sheila turn her head. When Bryce gives Sheila commands, he uses a voice that makes her listen to his command most of the time. As we walked up the long ascent, we did begin to hear some comments like “When will we be there?” We told Bryce it was a little longer and then distracted him until we had hiked the 1.7 miles to the junction with the Big Rock Trail. It was 11:15 AM and we stopped to get a drink, have a snack and take a few pictures.

We turned left on the Big Rock Trail and began the descent to Times Square. We all liked the descent and we found that Bryce stopped frequently to clear branches from the trail. We talked and walked so that I hardly knew where we were or how long it was taking. At 11:45 AM we arrived at Times Square after hiking 2.9 miles. We continue straight ahead on the Big Rock trail to walk around the back of Frick pond on the wooden walkways. We had covered this part of the trail on our Father’s Day hike and Bryce really liked it. As we walked toward the boardwalks, the trail was relatively dry. We stopped at the first two bridges to look for fish swimming in the streams and saw a few. Tend to gather under the bridge and swim out when someone hikes over the water. We continued our walk through the evergreen forest and turned left on the Quick Lake Trail when the Big Rock Trail ended. We stopped briefly at the bridge over the outlet to Frick Pond to get a drink and a snack. I decided not to take pictures as there was nothing remarkable about the scene on this day. We walked up the hill and through Gravestone Junction. Bryce was doing pretty well and we told him to watch for the trail register box. He found the box and we turned right to follow the Quick Lake Trail back to the parking lot and the car. We did pass a couple headed out to Frick Pond with a small but aggressive dog! We were back at the car at 12:20 PM after hiking 4 miles and gaining just under 700 feet. I wasn’t sure I would like the Suunto Traverse GPS watch but it is quickly becoming a favorite! It is very convenient to have it on my wrist and it provides a LOT of information. I just have to remember to set the time between readings to 5 seconds or 1 minute from the default 1 second. The default Setting makes it very accurate but uses up the battery quickly.

Weather for the week of June 26th

The week of June 26th began with a warm and sunny Sunday with temperatures rising into the high 80’s in many areas. The sky was bright and sunny with some puffy white clouds. On Monday the temperature will drop into the high 70’s with clouds increasing by mid-afternoon and the threat of thunderstorms later in the day. The temperatures will stay much the saem on Tuesday and it will be cloudy with a continuing threat of thunderstorms in the afternoon. The storms should clear out by Wednesday but the temperatures will be in the low 70’s with some sun and less humidity. On Thursday the temperatures will again be in the high-70’s but the day should feature sunny skies and low humidity. Friday and Saturday look much the same with highs in the high 70’s and a mixture of clouds and sun with the chance of thunderstorms. Sunblock and insect repellant would be good additions to your pack. With the varying temperatures and weather conditions, be sure you are dressed appropriately in clothing with layers that can be used to manage the changing temperatures. Keeping hydrated when the temperatures are so varied can sometimes be tricky since you may not feel that you are sweating as much as on a hot 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!

Graham and Balsam Lake Mountains

GrahamBalsamLakeJun2016_01camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Friday, June 24th, I wanted to do a challenging hike close to home. I had planned to go north to do Indian Head and Twin but just couldn’t bring myself to drive that far to hike alone. I need to get motivated again! I decided than the 8+ miles to Graham Graham Mountain is on private property. Make sure you call the caretaker to get permission before hiking. and Balsam Lake would have to do. I had to go to Liberty before the hike so I put my gear and Sheila in the car and rove to Liberty. After I completed my business, I headed back to Livingston Manor and start out Old Route 17 at just after 9:30 AM. I turned right and headed up the Beaverkill Road. It wasn’t long before I got behind a slow moving truck and trailer and I kept wishing they would pull over. The truck soon turned into one of the roads that goes to a hunting camp and I made better time. The drive always seems so long and the entire area including the near side of Balsam Lake Mountain are in our ambulance district! Continue reading

Frick Pond Trail Maintenance

FrickMaintenanceJun2016_10camera32On Wednesday, June 22nd, I had planned to go to Frick Pond with Lisa to do some light trail maintenance including lopping a few branches and removing one blowdown. We frequently do this kind of work but we were especially interested in making sure everything was well-maintained for the events of June 30. On that day Governor Andrew Cuomo has challenged legislators and staff members to do something in the Catskills. There are several voices including paddling on the reservoirs, trail running and mountain biking. One choice is hiking through the Mongaup Pond Campgrounds and around Frick Pond. Lisa was coming to the house at 9:30 AM and Cindy decided she wanted to go also. When Lisa arrived we got in Cindy car and headed out the DeBruce Road to Frick Pond. Continue reading

Hunter Mountain (Spruceton Road)

HunterSprucetonJun2016_05camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Tuesday, June 21stI wanted to do a 3500 foot peak and had decided early in the week that I would do Indian Head and Twin. I got a text from Lisa asking if I had time for a hike and I told her my plans. To my surprise she said she would be at my house at 8:00 AM the next morning. I was excited since I knew it would be nice to have someone else along. I awoke early the next day and soon got a text from Lisa indicating she was bowing out. I was very disappointed as I had planned on the hike but deiced that I would go anyway. Before I left the house, I decided that I would change my plans to hike Hunter from Spruceton mostly because it was closer and I had an afternoon commitment. I had hiked Slide the week before and all had gone well so I thought I would have no problems with the hike from Spruceton which is a well-maintained hiking and horse trail. I left Livingston Manor a little before 8:00 AM with a fully charged Sheila in the back seat. I had decided to wear light summer clothing despite the fact that the temperature was only in the high 50’s when I left the house. Continue reading

Frick Pond: Logger’s Loop

FrickLoggersJun2016_02camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Sunday, June 19th, I had been told that we were taking a father’s Day hike after church. We gathered at the house after church and waited for everyone to arrive. By 2:00 PM everyone was ready and I drove out the DevRuce Road with Karl, Kurt, Bryce and, of course, Sheila. I turned left in DeBruce on the Mongaup Pond Road and then stayed left on Beech Mounatin Road when the road spilt. I parked in the smaller parking where there was only one other car. We started out on the Quick Lake Trail at 2:30 PM. The temperature was in the 80’s and I was glad I had chosen a light top and pants! As soon as we made it to the woods road we turned left by the register to walk toward Frick Pond. I kept Bryce busy since otherwise he starts to ask “Are we almost done?” Continue reading

Weather for the week of June 19th

The week of June 19th began with a warm Sunday with temperatures rising as high as 80 in most areas. The sky was bright and sunny with some puffy white clouds. Monday was more of the same with temperatures nearing 90 in some spots. There was a slight breeze at times which was even more noticeable in the heat. The blue sky had a few wispy clouds at times. On Tuesday the temperature again rose into the 80’s in some places although many areas in the Catskills saw only the high 70’s. The sky had only a few clouds and a daze hung around most of the day. On Wednesday the temperatures will reach into the mid-70’s with most sunny skies and a more pleasant feel. The temperatures will drop into the low 70’s on Thursday but the real news will be the thunderstorms rolling through the area for most of the day. The sun returns on Friday when the temperatures will again rise into the high 70’s with mostly sunny skies. The heat will continue into Saturday when the highs will be in the low 80’s with mostly sunny skies all day. With the varying temperatures and weather conditions, be sure you are dressed appropriately in clothing with layers that can be used to manage the changing temperatures. Keeping hydrated when the temperatures are so varied can sometimes be tricky since you may not feel that you are sweating as much as on a hot 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: Campbell Brook and Morton Hill Road

TroutMortonHillJun2016_03camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Saturday, June 18th, I had planned to hike locally but longer than some of the hikes I had been taking. I decided to hike at Trout Brook but to do a loop that was at least 7 miles long including a walk along Campbell Brook Road and Morton Hill Road. Cindy decided she wanted to go with us so we did some early morning work and then left Livingston Manor just after 10:30 Am to head toward Roscoe on Route 17. Sheila was happy since she was getting used to the increased number of hikes. I got off the Quickies at exit 4 and headed north on Route 206 through Roscoe and across the Rockland Flats.Just after entering Delaware County, I turned left on Morton Hill Road and drove to Russell Brook Road. I turned left here and drive carefully down the dirt road to park at the lower parking area. There were bald a dozen cars already parked when we arrived at 11:00 AM. Continue reading

Frick Pond Mongaup Pond Loop

FrickMongaupLoopJun2016_16camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Friday, June 17th, I had planned to hike some peaks on the Devil’s Path since my hike at Slide Mountain had gone son well. I have been hiking mostly flat hikes and my aerobic capacity is down but my hike on Slide made me want to hike some more 3500 foot peaks! Lisa called me the night before and asked we are happy to I was doing on Friday as she wanted me to check out the trails around Frick Pond. The DEC was supposed to have mowed the Logger’s Loop from Gravestone Junction to Times Square and then up the Big Rock Trail and back down the Flynn Trail. This is all in preparation for a visit from some state officials the following weekend. I told her of my plans and she said she would walk it on Sunday. When I got up in the morning, I decided I would go to Frick Pond to check to see if the work had been done and then hike a long loop over and around Mongaup Pond to at least get in some miles!I was up relatively early in the morning and saw no reason to wait around as the temperature was in the high 50’s but was supposed to rise throughout the day. Continue reading