Walnut Mountain Staff Hike

On Friday, September 29th I had hiked Giant Ledge including a bushwhack along the base of the ledges in the morning. In the afternoon I was scheduled to lead a hike for the staff of the Liberty schools. When I got back from the morning hike, I changed clothes so as not to offend anyone and headed for the main parking area at Walnut Mountain park. I parked at 3:20 PM and found one staff member already waiting for me. Just as I pulled in another car arrived with a staff member and her two small children. A few minutes afterwards another teacher arrived with her two high schoolers. I had hoped more people would attend but there were several conflicts and I had promised to do the walk again. I had brought along several sets of hiking poles and offered them to the staff members present. It was a little after 3:45 Pm when we walked down to the start of the cross country course on the Walnut Mountain East Trail on the third base side of the baseball field. It was a cool day and I had worn a light windbreaker in the morning but left it home for the afternoon hike. I was a little cool standings around but once we started walking I was OK. Continue reading

Giant Ledge Bushwhack

camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Friday, September29th I was scheduled to lead a hike for the staff of the Liberty schools at 3:30 PM at Walnut Mountain. I wanted to get hike in before what I knew would be a modest walk in the afternoon. I considered Ashokan High Point but the drive coupled with the hike was cutting it too close for me. I settled on going to Giant Ledge to try to find some fall colors. I thought I might return by bushwhacking along the base of the cliffs which I had not done in some time. I got my gear together and got dressed with Sheila watching my every move she could be sure I did not leave without her. The temperature was only 44 degrees when we were ready to leave the house at 9:15 Am so I put on a light windbreaker on top of my normal double layer top. I headed out the Debruce Road and drove through DebRuce and Willowemoc to Route 47. I turned left on route 47 and drove passed the Frost Valley YMCA Camp. There were no cars at the Biscuit Brook parking area and only three at Slide. I drove by Winisook Lake and down the hill to the Giant Ledge parking area. There were four or five cars already parked when we arrive. The temperature was 48 degrees so I decided to keep my windbreaker on. I set my electronics and we crossed the road to start the hike at 10:10 AM. Continue reading

Mongaup Pond Ledges

camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Wednesday, September 26th I knew I was going to hike somewhere but had really not worked it out when I got a text from Lisa saying she was available at 10:00 AM. She suggested Trout but I told her I had been there on Monday and countered with the ledges between the Flynn Trail and Mongaup Pond. She readily agreed and we agreed to meet at my house at 10:00 AM. I got some work done in the morning and then got ready to go.At 9:30 AM it was already almost 70 degrees but I stuck to my double layer outfit with a long-sleeved top suitable for bushwhacking. I was ping to find some color in the leaves around Mongaup Pond but was not optimistic since I had not found any color in other locations. Around Livingston Manor the leaves were falling but failing to display any bright colors. While I was getting ready Sheila was on my heels the whole time sensing we would be going out. Lisa arrived just after 10:00 AM and we left the house to drive out DeBruce Road for about 6 miles to Mongaup Pond Road. I turned left and drove to where the road split and stayed left on Beech Mountain Road. I parked in the small lot tat he trailhead and found no other cars present. I set my electronics and we started our hike by crossing the road at 10:25 AM. Continue reading

Trout Pond: Counterclockwise Loop

camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Monday, September 25th I decided I wanted to get in a hike close to home before cross country practice in the afternoon. A morning ambulance call further shortened my window for wing and convinced me that Trout Pond was a good option. I had not been to that area in some time and was still searching for some fall colors in the leaves. Around Livingston Manor the leaves were falling but failing to display any bright colors. While I was getting ready Sheila was on my heels the whole time sensing we would be going out. I knew the forecast was for warm weather but I wore a double layer anyway with a long sleeved shirt on top. We left the house at 9:50 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 turned around and parked on the side of the road avoiding the private parking area. It was 10:10 AM when I set my electronics and we began our hike. Continue reading

Weather for the week of September 24th

The week of September 24th began with a sunny Sunday with highs for the day in the high 80’s. Monday will be much the same with highs reaching into the high 80’s. On Tuesday the air temperature will drop slight into the low 80’s but the humidity will increase making the resulting air feel much warmer. Temperatures will drop into the high 70’s on Wednesday with the chance of an afternoon shower. The trend will continue on Thursday when the highs will reach only into the high 60’s. By Friday the temperatures will be more seasonable with highs in the mid to low 60’s but with plenty of sun. Clouds move in on Saturday but there will be some sun with highs in the low 60’s and a chance of afternoon showers. Remember that getting a sunburn or an overexposure to the sun’s UV rays is possible even in the fall. Protect t yourself at all times. 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!

Round Top: Official Opening

camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Sunday, September 24th I wanted to attend the “official” opening of the Round Top Trails in Livingston Manor. The plan was to meet on Round Top at 1:00 PM to have a brief ceremony and then hike the trails with the people attending the ceremony. After church, Cindy and I returned home and changed our clothes to hike. I explained to Sheila she could not go with us but that I would take her across the street to hike when the other people had left. It was over 80 degrees at the house when Cindy and I walked down the driveway to cross the street . I brought my pack so that I could carry my camera and a saw. I brought my hiking poles to prevent “sausage fingers”. We crossed the street and the field by the church and started up the hill to the top of the cemetery. As we passed through the parking area by the church two cars parked in the lots. I knew that Lisa was meeting a group of people in the municipal parking lot to walk up Pearl St. to the cemetery. I missed Sheila pulling me up the hill and noticed that it was really warm. We stopped at the top of the hill to wait for the others to arrive. There was a green ribbon across the trail and the sign was in place. The sign was very simple but very effective. The Sherwoods arrived shortly after us as did Kitty Vetter. We talked for some time waiting for the rest of the group to arrive. Continue reading

Indian Head and Twin Mountains

camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Friday, September 22nd, I decided that I wanted to return to the Catskill High Peaks for the first hike of the fall. I also wanted to hike some of the 35 peaks as I had the time and had not done one for some time. I decided to go to Tannersville to hike Indian Head and Twin from Prediger Road hiking up the east side of Indian Head and continuing over to Twin. I planned to return down the Jimmy Dolan Notch Trail, one of my least favorite trails in the Catskills. The weather forecast was for sunny skies with highs reaching into the 70’s with no rain in the forecast. Around Livingston Manor the leaves were beginning to fall without really changing colors. The leaves still on the trees shoed non of the bright colors typical of fall in the Catskills. I dressed in my “summer” outfit but did not take even a light jacket as I knew the temperatures would warm quickly. I made sure I had two water bottles and I also took my Suunto Traverse watch to back up my Garmin handheld unit. Sheila was ready to go as she always is as we started out a little after 9:00 AM by driving out the DeBruce Road to Route 47. I turned left on Route 47 and drove by the Frost Valley YMCA Camp. There were no cars at the Biscuit brook raking area and only a few at Slide. The parking area at Giant Ledge was almost full and I wondered how many people I would encounter on Prediger Road. The drive was longer than I remembered and I kept getting behind drivers who wanted to go no more than 30 mph! Continue reading

Round Top Maintenance

gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Thursday, September 21st I decided I wanted to go to the Round Top Trails and remove some small “stumps” and roots that remained in the trail. The trails were due to have their “official” opening on Sunday and I did not ant anybody to trip. Around 11:00 AM I put a round pointed shovel and a pick mattocks in my trunk. I put Sheila in the back seat and rove across the street to the cemetery and up the hill to the trailhead. I let Sheila out and grabbed the two tools from the trunk. We walked into the woods on the trail and turned right at the first trail junction to head up the yellow trail. Where the yellow trail turned left we continued straight ahead on the blue trail toward the summit of Round Top. As we climbed I stopped several times to remove some stumps and a few roots that ran across the trail. Most of the roots were easy to cut with the pick mattocks which did not seem that sharp but did a nice job. In a few cases I used the shovel to cut and then fill in some of the dirt that was removed. We continued up to the summit where I found a few more roots to removed. Some stumps proved stubborn as they were thicker than the rest but I persevered and was able to remove them all. There were a few well-formed stumps that were just two big to remove. I tried to remove what I could from these in an effort to allow rain to seep in and accelerate their breakdown. Soon we were back down at the lower yellow trail where we turned right and walked down to the lookout. From there we walked down to the first trail junction and back out to the car. It had taken just less than and hour to do the work and I still had enough time and energy to do more. Since the work was done, I decided to return home knowing I had accomplished all that I could.

Hodge Pond: Flynn Trail

gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Tuesday, September 19th, I had decided I would stay home and do some work around the house. On Monday night I got an e-mail from Lisa asking if I would like to go for a hike in the morning. I said I would go and she suggested a hike to Hodge Pond. I had been in this area several times recently but agreed to go with her. We decided to meet at 9:30 AM at my house. In the morning I got a few things done by getting up early and waited for Lisa. She appeared promptly at my house at 9:30 AM. I went out to meet her with an excited Sheila bounding out ahead of me. It was already very warm and a little humid. We loaded up our gear, put Sheila in the backseat and headed out the DeBruce Road. After about 6 miles, I turned left on Mongaup Road and drove to where the road split. I stayed left at the Y and drove up Beech Mountain Road to the parking area. There were no other cars when we parked at 9:50 AM in the smaller lot. I set my electronics and we crossed the road to begin our hike at 9:55 AM. Continue reading

Hodge and Frick Ponds Maintenace

camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Monday, September 18th I had decided that I wanted to go to the Hodge and Frick Pond area to do a fitness hike and clear a blowdown on the Flynn Trail that I kept forgetting to cut. The weather forecast was calling for high humidity and temperatures approaching 80 degrees. I got my gear together to go do some trail maintenance taking only my Silky Sugowaza saw in my pack. I got dressed and then put Sheila in the back seat and my gear in the trunk. We left the house a little after 9:30 AM and drove out the DeBruce Road for about six miles. I turned left on Mongaup Pond Road and stayed to the left on Beech Mountain Road when it split. When we arrived at the trailhead, there were no vehicles in either parking area. The temperature was 64 degrees when I set my GPS and we crossed the road at 10:05 AM to begin our hike. We quickly walked along the Flynn Trail to the woods road that was once the extension of Beech Mountain Road. We turned right on the woods road and started the long climb toward the junction with the Big Rock Trail. Continue reading