Trout Pond Maintenance

camera32On Monday, July 31st Cindy and I head to Trout Pond again to do some trimming on the trails that we had not done on Saturday. I put my Silky saw and hedge trimmers in my pack and made sure Cindy had the loppers this time. I decided to carry the hedge trimmers and forego my poles. Sheila was on my heels the whole time sensing we would be going out. We left the house at 10:00 AM and headed north and west on State Route 17 toward Roscoe. I got off at exit 94 and headed north on Route 206 passing through Roscoe and then Rockland. Just after the Roscoe Nursing Home I turned left on Morton Hill Road and followed it for 3 miles to the intersection with Russell Brook Road. I drove down to the lower parking area since we had gear to carry and I knew we would not want to hike up Russell Brook Road but the road at the end of the hike. There was only one car in the lower lot but there was a car parked at the upper camping area. The temperature was in the low 80’s when I got my gear out of the car and was ready to start at 10:30 AM. We got on the woods road that leads down to the bridge and crossed the stream. We passed the knotweed we had cut on another trip and the path to the falls. Both looked like work had been done and both were in better shape than we had found them. We continued on the main trail continued straight ahead toward Trout Pond. I had intended to walk up the trail and to start trimming after the bridge at the inlet. I began to notice some brush along the trail up to the pond and some weeds along the sides. Cindy started to use the loppers on the stray branches and I used the hedge trimmers on the brush and weeds. I soon found that bending over to do the trimming as starting to make my back ache. At some point Cindy went ahead of me and I was left alone. I have found that when I do this type of hard work I like to have someone to talk to so the work goes faster. Being alone was a little discouraging. I was cutting briars, nettles and weeds as well as some brush. Doing the cutting made the walk up the trail seem MUCH longer. I finally saw the pond and Cindy who was waiting for me. I was tired and very hot and decided I was done for the day. We turned around and headed back down the trail. I was a little disappointed that some of the trimming looked a little haphazard and incomplete. We were back at the car at 12:30 PM having spent two hours trimming about a mile of trail.

Round Top Maintenance

camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Sunday, July 30th I met Don and Alyce at 1:00 PM by the Presbyterian Church for some work on the Round Top trails. I drove up with my car and the tools while Don and Elise chose to walk up to the trail head. I parked my car at the trailhead and met them. We got started immediately by trimming some of the branches from the evergreens at the beginning of the trail. We walked along the trail to the first junction and found a pile of “firewood” on the left side of the trail. It was unclear who put the pile of sticks in a neat pile or why they did it. We decided we did not want them on the trail and moved them off to the left side. We started to hike up to the viewpoint and encountered a thick layer of leaf cover. Don volunteered to rake these leaves off the path while Alyce and I continued on around the lower trail trimming branches. Continue reading

Weather for the week of July 30th

The week of July 30th begins with a sunny and pleasant Sunday with highs in the high 70’s and low humidity. Monday will be mostly sunny and pleasant with highs reaching the low 80’s. On Tuesday the forecast is much the same as Monday with highs in the low 80’s with plenty of sun. Wednesday will be slightly cooler with highs just reaching 80 but with more sun. Thursday will be much the same with highs just below 80. There is a chance of an afternoon thunderstorm. Friday will be a repeat of Thursday with the possibility of thunderstorms in the forecast. Saturday the temperature will drop into the mid 70’s with showers and thunderstorms possible throughout the day. Getting wet in a shower may be refreshing but getting caught in a thunderstorm is no joke. When lightning begins to strike seek shelter under a rock overhang or in a lean-to or other building if possible. When the weather conditions are constantly changing, be sure you are dressed appropriately in clothing which will wick away moisture to allow further moisture to evaporate and cool your body. Layering should be with non-cotton materials as cotton tends to hold moisture. Keeping hydrated as the weather heats up can but hydrating properly will allow you to hike longer and in greater comfort. Be sure to carry plenty of water with you as local water sources can be unreliable and may be contaminated. 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!

Mud and Trout Pond Maintenance

 camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Saturday, July 29th I had planned to work with some people on Round Top but had postponed the work until Sunday since the forecast was for rain on Saturday. When I went to bed on Friday night the forecast had changed to partly sunny with no rain on Saturday. In the morning I drove to Goshen to get the hood scoop on my Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart replaced. I was back by 9:45 AM and Cindy was home soon after. I asked her if she wanted to return to Trout Pond to clear the trail loop and she agreed. I put my Silky saw and hedge trimmers in my pack and asked Cindy to bring the loppers. I decided to carry my Fiskars axe and forego my poles. Sheila was on my heels the whole time sensing we would be going out. We left the house at 10:15 AM and headed north and west on State Route 17 toward Roscoe. I got off at exit 94 and headed north on Route 206 passing through Roscoe and then Rockland. Just after the Roscoe Nursing Home I turned left on Morton Hill Road and followed it for 3 miles to the intersection with Russell Brook Road. I drove down to the lower parking area since we had gear to carry and I knew we would not want to hike up Russell Brook Road but the road at the end of the hike. Continue reading

Russell Brook Maintenance

 camera32On Friday, July 28th I decided to go to Trout Pond to cut out the trail to Russell Brook Falls and to beat back the Japanese knotweed that threatened to overrun the trail. I decided that I would use my Stihl string trimmer to cut out the grass, briars and weeds on the path to the falls and then handle the knotweed with a machete and loppers. Cindy agreed to go with me and we took Sheila even though we would have to tie her up for most of the time. I loaded all the supplies for the trimmer and the trimmer into the Outlander and also put in my regular pack with my Silky saw and machete. We left the house at 12:30 PM and headed north and west on State Route 17 toward Roscoe. I got off at exit 94 and headed north on Route 206 passing through Roscoe and then Rockland. Just after the Roscoe Nursing Home I turned left on Morton Hill Road and followed it for 3 miles to the intersection with Russell Brook Road. I turned left and drove down Russell Brook Road to the lower parking area since we would have to have access to the car to change tools and I did not want to carry the trimmer any farther than necessary. Continue reading

Trout Pond Loop

 camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Wednesday, July 26th I wanted to get in a hike since the weather forecast for the rest of the week was questionable. Since it had rained, I asked Cindy if she wanted to go to Trout Pond and see how high the water was at Russell Brook Falls. She agreed even though we knew the trail would be wet. In the morning when I awoke there was actually some sun peeking through the clouds and the forecast was only calling for partly sunny skies. I got some things done around the house and got out my gear while Cindy got ready to go. Sheila was on my heels the whole time sensing we would be going out. We left the house at 12:30 PM and headed north and west on State Route 17 toward Roscoe. I got off at exit 94 and headed north on Route 206 passing through Roscoe and then Rockland. Just after the Roscoe Nursing Home I turned left on Morton Hill Road and followed it for 3 miles to the intersection with Russell Brook Road. I considered driving down to the lower parking area but the road can be washed out at times. I also like the hike down the road as it parallels Russell Brook. I turned around and parked on the side of the road near a large pulloff that looks like a parking area. This pulloff is on private property and the owner does not like people parking on his land. Continue reading

Round Top Trails

gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Tuesday, July 25th I decided I wanted to check the trails on Round Top and get out after spending the early part of the day chained to a computer. The weather forecast was calling for rain when I got dressed and ready to go at 1:30 PM but the skies I could see looked only a little cloudy. I put Sheila on her leash as we started down the driveway and I looked north toward Roscoe. The skies were grey and almost black and I nearly decided to turn around. In the end we continued by crossing the road and walking through the field by the church. We started up the steep hill along the edge of the cemetery. I elected to leave my pack behind and to go without hiking poles. My heart was beating faster when we got to the top of the hill even though Sheila helped by pulling me up the hill. We turned left into the forest and I let Sheila off her leash. As we walked the woods road to the first trail junction, I picked up a few branches that had fallen in the wind over the past few days. At the trail junction we continued straight ahead up the steep little climb to the viewpoint. I continued to remove a few branches here and there. Continue reading

Weather for the week of July 23rd

The week of July 23rd began with a mostly sunny Sunday with highs reaching into the high 70’s. Monday will be rainy with showers and thunderstorms throughout the day with highs in the mid 60’s. The rain will continue well into Tuesday morning ending by noon. It will be cloudy after that with highs in the high 60’s. By Wednesday the rain will move out and the morning will be partly sunny with more clouds moving in for the afternoon. The highs will be in the mid 70’s. On Thursday the rain my return with the possibility of thunderstorms and highs in the mid 70’s. Friday will see more of the same with thunderstorms threatening especially in the afternoon and highs in the upper 70’s. The temperatures for Saturday will stay in the mid to high 70’s under cloudy skies. Getting wet in a shower may be refreshing but getting caught in a thunderstorm is no joke. When lightning begins to strike seek shelter under a rock overhang or in a lean-to or other building if possible. When the weather conditions are constantly changing, be sure you are dressed appropriately in clothing which will wick away moisture to allow further moisture to evaporate and cool your body. Layering should be with non-cotton materials as cotton tends to hold moisture. Keeping hydrated as the weather heats up can but hydrating properly will allow you to hike longer and in greater comfort. Be sure to carry plenty of water with you as local water sources can be unreliable and may be contaminated. 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

gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Sunday, July 23rd I decided that the weather for the rest of my week was looking pretty lousy with rain and thunderstorms almost every day. It was also my birthday and I thought I hike would be nice. The most important consideration was that I had hiked the previous two days without Sheila and had promised her a hike on Sunday. When we returned from church, we got our gear ready and got dressed. Sheila sniff our clothes and immediately knew we were hiking. She began to run around the house bouncing against the furniture but always keeping a close eye on us. We put our gear in the car and an exited Sheila in the back seat and drove out the DeBruce Road a little after 12:30 PM. It wasn’t long before we got behind a caravan of cars traveling at about 30 mph. At Mongaup Pond Road I turned left behind the other cars which also made the turn. They unfortunately were headed to Mongaup Pound but didn’t seem to know you drive until you run out of road! I continued to follow the road bearing left onto Beech Mountain Road at the fork. When we arrived in the parking area there were two other cars in the lot and one car following behind us. I pulled in and parked and the other car started to drive up to the cabin but then backed up. Continue reading

Sam’s Point: Ice Caves and Indian Rock

 camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Saturday, July 22nd Cindy and I planned to hike at Sam’s Point with members from the Grooville Free Methodist Church. We had not hiked there in some time and wondered what the area would look like after the massive fire that burned so many acres in April of 2016. Many of the trails were still closed including the High Point Trail and the trail to Verkeerderkill Falls. The Long Path had to be rerouted and now comes up the South Gully Trail from Route 52. When the trail meets the Loop Road, the Long Path turns left and follows the Loop Road to the High Point Carriage Road. It then follows the carriage road to the Berrypickers Path and the Upper Mine Hole Trail which finally leads down to Berme Road. The church group wanted to hike from the visitor’s center to Sam’s Point and then down to the Ice Caves and back. I planned to extend the hike fro Cindy and myself by walking around Lake Maratanza and visiting Indian Rock. When we got up in the morning, there was a lot of fog but it soon started to clear. Continue reading