Frick and Hodge Ponds (Figure 8)

camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Wednesday, November 29th, I wanted to get in a longer hike but one not too far from home. I also wanted to stay in an area where there is not too much hunting and use well-established trails. I decided to go to Hodge and Frick Ponds and do a route I had not done before which would add a little mileage to my typical route. I had a few things to do around the house but eventually got my gear ready. The temperature on the back porch showed 52 degrees but I knew it would be colder at the trailhead. I donned my Columbia Omniheat pants but did not put on tights. I did wear a baselayer on top underneath a Mammut shirt and on top of that my Mammut Ultimate hoody. I made sure I had an orange hat and brought along a light pair of gloves. We had not been out in three days so Sheila was ready to go and kept an eye on me the whole time. We left Livingston Manor at 10:00 AM as I drove out the DeVRuce Road about 6 miles to Mongaup Pond Road. I turned left and drive to where the road split and stayed left on Beech Mountain Road. When we arrived at the trailhead parking at 10:15 AM there was one pickup truck in the small lot. I parked next to the truck and got ready to hike by setting my GPS devices. The temperature was 47 degrees so I put on my gloves and we headed out toward the trail register at 10:20 AM. Continue reading

Weather for the week of November 26th

The week of November 26th began with a cool Sunday with overcast skies and highs were in the high 30’s. A stiff breeze all day made it seem even cooler. Monday will be partly sunny with highs in the high 30’s. On Tuesday the temperatures will rise again into the mid 40’s under partly sunny skies. Wednesday will also the partly sunny as the temperatures again increase reaching the high 40’s. On Thursday there will be periods of sun and clouds but the highs will drop into the low 40’s. Friday will be cloudy with a possibility of showers with highs in the mid 40’s. Saturday will have some sun and clouds with highs in the low 40’s. When the weather is warm, a rain shower sometimes feels good. In cooler weather wet clothing and a light breeze can be the start of hypothermia. When the weather conditions are constantly changing with coid mornings and cool afternoons, be sure you are dressed appropriately in clothing which will wick away moisture to prevent it from accumulating in your clothing which can bring about hypothermia. Layering should be with non-cotton materials as cotton tends to hold moisture. Keeping hydrated is important no matter the temperatures since 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!

Big Pond to Little Pond (road loop)

gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Saturday, November 25th I wanted to get out for a hike but had to do some chores in the morning. When I was done, I decided to head for Big Pond even though rain was forecast for 1:00 PM. I decided a short hike was better than none at all. Brad was willing to come along so we got dressed and got our gear ready to go. The temperature was only in the high 30’s but it was very sunny and felt much warmer. It was hard to believe that rain was in the forecast! I wore my Mammut hoody and Columbia Omniheat pants but did not put on a baselayer as I thought I would be too warm. I had considered several possibilities to do a loop from Big Pond to Little Pond but realized this would depend on the weather we found as we hiked. We left Livingston Manor a little before 11:00 AM and headed north on Old Route 17. Just outside Livingston Manor I turned right on the Beaverkill Road and drove toward Lew Beach. The further we went the cloudier the sky became and the more likely the forecast of rain became. I drove through Lew Beach and turned left on the Barkaboom Road just before Turnwood. I turned left on the Barkaboom Road and drove to the parking area for Big Pond on the right. There were a few cars parked including one with the door hanging open! As we were getting ready to hike, a young couple came up to the car from Big Pond. They were staying at the North Branch Inn and wanted to know a little bit about the trails in the area. I gave them some information about hiking to Little Pond as I set my GPS. Continue reading

Hodge and Frick Ponds

camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Friday, November 24th, I wanted to get in a hike instead of worrying about Black Friday! We did have some things to take acre of in the morning so we didn’t get started until just before 1:00 PM. I asked Brad if she wanted to hike and he said “Yes” and we agreed to go to the Frick Pond area. This is our “go to” spot since it is close to home and there area number of different rails that can be combined into a variety of hikes. I decided against wearing tights underneath my pants but did wear my Mammut hoody since it has several different zippers to vent heat. I took a hat and light gloves since it was only 46 degrees when we left the house. Sheila acted as if she had not hiked in a month as she jumped into the back seat. We arrived at 1:15 PM to find the small lot filled with four cars. I parked in the larger lot which was empty. I checked the temperature and it was 42 degrees at the trailhead! I set my Garmin GPS and we crossed the road to get on the Flynn Trail. There was no breeze blowing and the sun was out which made for a pleasant walk. We did meet two hikers approaching with a dog on a leash and we said “Hello” as we passed. We made the right turn up the wide woods road that is the Flynn Trail and started up what was once the Beech Mountain Road. Continue reading

Trout Pond (Morton Hill Road)

gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Wednesday, November 22nd I was ready to take a longer hike again after staying close to home for several hikes. The forecast for the day was for clouds and overcast for most of the day but when I got up there was a heavy mist bordering on rain. I was a little discouraged and decided I might not go out at all. By noon the weather was no better but I was itching to get out. It was still only 36 degrees outside so I dressed warmly with tights underneath my Columbia Omniheat pants. I also wore a long-sleeved baselayer underneath a top with my Mammut hoody over that. I did put on a blaze orange hat as it was rifle season in the area. Sheila seemed more than happy to be going out and by 12:30 Pm we were in the car with all my gear and ready to head out. After two quick stops in town I headed north on Route 17 to Roscoe and got off at exit 94. I headed out the Rockland Flats on Route 206 and just after entering Delaware County I turned left on Morton Hill Road. When I arrived at the intersection with Russell Brook Road, I found no cars parked in the private lot. The lot is clearly marked as private property and the owner does not like people to park there. I parked on the side of the road on the public right-of-way and as far off the pavement as possible. As soon as I parked, I could feel the breeze making me colder than the air temperature indicated. Continue reading

Round Top Loops

gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Tuesday, November 21st I had time to get in a hike before indoor track practice. Since I had some time, I had decided to take a longer hike at Frick Pond. Before we could get started, Cindy’s phone stopped working and we were off to the local store where they were able to get it working rather quickly. By the time we got home, it was too late to go very far to hike. We decided to go across the street and hike on Round Top. We began to get ready around noon when the temperature was still in the low 40’s. I wore my Mammut hoody since it has a lot of zippers to dump heat. Sheila was happy to go as I put her on her leash to walk across the street. We walked through the field next to the church and walked up the steep but short cemetery hill with Sheila giving me a little help as she pulled me up the hill. At the top of the hill I took a look back down to town and over to the surrounding hills but all was pretty bleak. I set my GPS to record the track and we entered the trail at 12:30 PM. At the first trail junction Sheila turned right to head up the ore gentle slope and we followed her. Where the trail split we continued straight ahead on the blue-blazed upper trail over the summit of Round Top. When we reached the top we continued down the other side and turned right onto the lower yellow-blazed trail. Continue reading

Weather for the week of November 19th

The week of November 19th began with a cool Sunday with bright blue skies and plenty of sun. The highs were in the mid 40’s. Monday was overcast and cool with highs barely reaching 40 degrees. There was moisture in the air most of the day as a heavy mist or light snow. On Tuesday the highs reached the low 50’s with plenty of sun and very few clouds. Wednesday was overcast with periods of snowflakes ion the air. The highs never made it to 40 degrees and there was a light wind most of the time. On Thursday it will be partly sunny but the highs will only be in the mid 30’s. No precipitation is in the forecast. On Friday it will be mostly sunny with highs reaching into the low 40’s. Saturday will see more sun with highs in the mid 40’s and the possibility of a shower. When the weather is warm, a rain shower sometimes feels good. In cooler weather wet clothing and a light breeze can be the start of hypothermia. When the weather conditions are constantly changing with coid mornings and cool afternoons, be sure you are dressed appropriately in clothing which will wick away moisture to prevent it from accumulating in your clothing which can bring about hypothermia. Layering should be with non-cotton materials as cotton tends to hold moisture. Keeping hydrated is important no matter the temperatures since 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!

Conklin Hill Loop

camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Friday, November 17th I had planned to go with Cindy to hike the Conklin Hill Loop and show her the waterfalls we had visited on Wednesday. I also wanted to hike to the upper waterfall which we had missed, pick a route around the blowdowns from Hurricane Sandy and hike the west bank of the small, unnamed brook we had followed back to the Willowemoc. I wanted to do this before the start of rifle hunting season in our area. I don’t have a problem walking established trails during hunting season but bushwhacking during this time seems foolish. The loop starts at Willowemoc Covered Bridge and explores a part of the Willowemoc Wild Forest south of Willowemoc Road. The majority of this wild forest is to the north of the road and encompasses the area around Frick and Hodge Ponds and Long Pond. The smaller parcel south of Willowemoc Road has no trails but does have a few woods roads and informal paths to follow. When I got up at 7:00 AM the temperature was 30 degrees and I knew it might be colder where we are going. I put on a baselayer top and bottom and wore my Columbia Omniheat pants with the Mammut hoody. I made sure I wore a blaze orange hat and brought along light gloves. We got dressed and collected our gear to leave the house a little before 10:00 AM. From the caboose in Livingston Manor I drove out DebRuce Road 7.3 miles to Conkin Hill Road. I turned right and followed the road .4 miles passing through the covered bridge. There is a small parking area big enough for three cars just on the other side of the bridge and I parked there. Continue reading

Conklin Hill Bushwhack

camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Wednesday, November 15th I had planned to go with Lisa and mutual friend Randy and a bushwhacking adventure starting at the Willowemoc Covered Bridge and exploring a part of the Willowemoc Wild Forest south of Willowemoc Road. The majority of this wild forest is to the north of the road and encompasses the area around Frick and Hodge Ponds and Long Pond. The smaller parcel south of Willowemoc Road has no trails but does have a few woods roads and informal paths to follow. Randy lives in the area and has explored it extensively so we planned to follow him. When I got up at 7:00 AM the temperature was 30 degrees and I knew it might be colder where we are going. I put on a baselayer top and bottom and wore my Columbia Omniheat pants with the Mammut hoody. I made sure I wore a blaze orange hat and brought along light gloves. I wasn’t sure whether I should bring Sheila because of the hunting in the area but decided she should come with me. Sheila seemed to appealed my decision. I met Lisa at the caboose in Livingston Manor at 8:00 AM and we drove out DebRuce Road to Conkin Hill Road where we turned right and followed the road .4 miles passing through the covered bridge. There is a small parking area big enough for three cars just on the other side of the bridge and Randy was waiting there for us. We parked and got out of our cars to get acquainted. After talking briefly, I set my GPS devices and we crossed the stream that runs parallel to Conklin Hill Road at 8:25 AM. Continue reading

Round Top (Loops and Figure 8)

gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Monday, November 13th I had a day free without practice as cross country had finished on Saturday and indoor track was scheduled to begin on Tuesday. Lisa and I had been trying to get people to hike the new trails on Round Top so she scheduled some after school and lunchtime hikes to see if they would attract people. A walk was scheduled for noon but only three people had signed up. I decided that I had made a commitment to hike so I would keep it even though I doubted two of us would be needed. In the morning Lisa sent an e-mail indicating two of the people had cancelled which was even more frustrating. I began to get ready around 11:30 Am and Cindy agreed to go with me. The temperature was in the high 30’s as we got ready to go so I wore my Mammut hoody since it has a lot of zippers to dump heat. Sheila was happy to go as I put her on her leash to walk across the street. We walked through the field next to the church arriving at exactly noon. We waited around but no one was in the parking lot and at 12:10 PM we decided to go hike on our own. We walked up the steep but short cemetery hill with Sheila giving me a little help as she pulled me up the hill. At the top of the hill I took a look back down to town and over to the surrounding hills but all was pretty bleak. Just as we were about to go into the forest Cindy spotted Lisa and another woman in the parking area. We waited as they walked up the road through the cemetery to the trailhead. Continue reading