Weather for the week of December 24th

The week of December 24th began with clouds that gave way to sun in the afternoon with a high of 38 degrees. The forecast for overnight on Sunday is for snow starting before midnight and continuing into the early morning hours on Monday. Accumulations should be from 3 to 6 inches with more possible. The higher elevations should see more snow. There will be a White Christmas on Monday will highs barely reaching 30 degrees and a chance of a snow shower. It will be windy with windchills will be in the teens. Tuesday will be sunny but with highs in the low 20’s. The wind will continue dropping the windchills into the single digits. This trend continues into Wednesday when ether will be more sun but highs in the teens. The winchill factor will again make it feel like the single digits. Incredibly the temperatures will continue to drop so that the highs on Thursday will be in the low teens under cloudy skies. The wind will make it feel like near zero degrees! Friday will be much the same with periods of clouds and sun and temperatures in the mid-teens. The wind will abate somewhat. Saturday the highs may rise to near 20 degrees but it will be mostly cloudy with a chance of snow in the afternoon. Microspikes are now a “mandatory” item on many trails and, certainly, on the 35’s. A further accumulation of snow in some areas will make snowshoes a good choice. When the weather conditions are constantly changing, 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!

Weather for the week of December 17th

The week of December 17th began with clouds and a forecast for highs in the high 20’s. Monday will be rather cloudy but highs will reach into the high 30’s. On Tuesday expect more clouds with some sun and highs in the low 40’s. Wednesday will bring some sun but also some wind with high temperatures in the low 30’s. The wind chill will make the temperature feel more like the low 20’s. For the first day if of winter, Thursday will be mostly sunny but the highs will stay in the low 30’s. Friday will be cloudy all day but the highs will reach into the high 30’s. Saturday will see some clouds and sun with the temperatures staying in the mid 30’s. Microspikes are now a “mandatory” item on many trails and, certainly, on the 35’s. A further accumulation of snow in some areas will make snowshoes a good choice. When the weather conditions are constantly changing , 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!

Trout Pond (Counterclockwise)

camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Monday, December 11th I planned to meet my brother-in-law, Jeff, to hike the Trout Pond loop. We agreed to meet at the Roscoe Diner at 9:00 AM since it is an easy place to find and meet. When I awoke at 6:30 AM the air temperature was 25 degrees with a slight breeze and I really wanted to crawl back into a warm bed. By 7:30 AM the temperature had dipped to 23 degrees which did not increase my enthusiasm. I knew that it would not be getting much warmer this winter and that I just needed to get out! I got my gear ready and made sure I had a set of spikes in my pack and another that Jeff could use. As I got dressed I put on a full baselayer including tights underneath my Columbia Omniheat pants. On top I decided to wear a medium weight Patagonia wool top. I wore a heavier hat and gloves putting a pair of mitts in my pack. I also decided to put on a pair of winter boots settling on my Salomon Nytros. I headed for Roscoe on the Quickway at 8:30 AM which was probably a little too early. I parked at the diner and waited for Jeff. When he arrived I wasn’t sure how Sheila would react but Jeff has apparently become one of her “pack” as she greeted him in her overenthusiastic way. I suggested we ride in my car as there is limited parking and Jeff agreed. I drove out the Rockland Flats on Route 206. 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. Continue reading

Weather for the week of December 10th

The week of December 10th began with several inches of snow on the ground from a light snowfall that fell for most of Saturday and into Saturday night. The temperature at 6:30 AM was 14.5 degrees! The forecast for Sunday includes some early morning show showers changing to partly sunny skies with a high of 33 degrees. Monday will have times of clouds and sun with highs around 32 degrees. Tuesday will be cloudy with highs in the mid 30’s with a possibility of 1 to 3 inches of snow. Wednesday will be COLD under mostly cloudy skies. The highs will only be in the high teens but the wind chill will make it seem even colder. Thursday will be sunnier but still COLD with highs in the low 20’s. There may be some snow shores. Friday will have periods of sun with snow showers and highs in the high 20’s. Saturday will be more of the same with cloudy skies and highs only reaching to 30 with more snow showers possible.It is time to break out the warm clothes and the winter gear. Microspikes are now a “mandatory” item on many trails and, certainly, on the 35’s. When the weather conditions are constantly changing , 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!

Sugarloaf (Roaring Kill)

camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Saturday, December 9 I was committed to an all-day track meet at West Point. On Friday the meet was cancelled due to the forecast of snow and I was free to plan a hike. I decided I would try one again to go to the Blacks and asked Cindy if she would like to go. I was very disappointed when she said “NO!”. We had been hiking together on Saturdays and, I thought, we had taken some very nice trips. I did a few quick chores around the house and was ready to leave by (;00 AM. It was only 25 degrees so I put on a full baselayer and wore my Columbia Omniheat pants. I wore a heavy Mammut pullover underneath my Mammut hoody. I wore light gloves and a hat but brought warmer gloves and mitts along as I did not expect the temperature to rise much during the day. I decided I would go to Sugarloaf which was a little closer than the Blacks. The forecast was for cloudy skies and light snow in the afternoon. My plan was to park at Roaring Kill and hike up the eastern side of Sugarloaf. After hiking over the summit and down the western slope to Mink Hollow, I could decide whether or not I wanted to try Plateau. We left Livingston Manor at 9:00 AM and Sheila seemed very happy to be getting out of the house. I headed out the DeBruce Road and turned left at the end onto Route 47 which passes by Frost Valley and the parking areas for Big Indian, Slide and Panther. There were a few cases in each lot. I turned right on Route 28 and decided to drive all the way to Phoenicia. I turned left on Route 214 and headed north through Chichester. Continue reading

Round Top Loops

gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Thursday, December 7th my brother-in-law, Jeff, came to our house to do some “shopping”. I have entirely too much hiking equipment and Jeff has recently decided to begin hiking. After picking out some boots and a set of poles, we decided we should check them out by going across the street to hike on Round Top. Jeff put on a new pair of boots and I got dressed to hike. The temperature was still in the high 30’s 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 and walked up the steep but short cemetery hill with Sheila giving me a little help as she pulled me up the hill. We turned left and entered the trail at about 10:15 AM. At the first trail junction Sheila turned right to head up the more gentle slope and we followed her. Where the trail split we continued to follow the yellow blazed lower trail which skirts the base of Round Top. At the next trail junction, we stayed on the yellow trail as it turned left. We walked down to the lookout over town and stopped for a few minutes to take in the view. We walked to the lower rock ledges to get a better look and then headed back to the main trail. We walked down the hill and back to the first trail junction. We turned around and headed back up to the lookout and followed the yellow trail to the trail junction. This time we continued straight ahead on the blue blazed upper trail which is a little steeper. We walked over the summit of Round Top and down the other side. At the trail junction we continued straight ahead on the lower trail and walked back to the first trail junction. At this point it was getting a little late so we turned left and headed out to the trailhead and down the cemetery hill to the church. We walked across the field and back to our driveway. It was about 11:30 AM and we had covered about 2 miles. What made the trip really worthwhile was that it allowed Jeff to “trail test” the boots which he found comfortable and supportive.

Round Top (Figure 8’s)

gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Wednesday, December 6th I knew I needed to get out after several days of family commitments but I had to do it before my indoor track practice started. I decided to simply head across the street to Round Top and do some figure 8’s just for the exercise. Sheila was happy to get out as we headed down the driveway and across the street for a hike on Round Top at about 10:00 AM. We crossed the street with Sheila on her leash and walked to the back of the church. We began the ascent of the steepest hill behind the church. The hill is short but really gets the circulation pumping and is the steepest and longest climb on the “trail”. Sheila helped me along by pulling me up the hill. When we got to the top of the hill, we started out on the trail by turning left at the trailhead. As soon as we entered the trees I released Sheila from her leash. At the first trail junction we continued straight ahead to walk the steeper path to the viewpoint. At the lookout I noted that there was no garbage and everything was in order. We followed the trail to the right and started the gentle climb through the woods. When we reached the next trail junction, we stayed to the right to follow the lower trail around the base of Round Top to the next junction. At this junction we turned left and started up to the summit of Round Top on the steeper blue trail. We walked across the summit of Round Top and down the other side which is also a little steep. When we got to the yellow trail, we turned left to follow it to the second trail junction. Continue reading

Weather for the week of December 3rd

The week of December 3rd began with a cool Sunday with overcast skies and highs in the low 40’s. There was some sun in the afternoon. Monday will be partly sunny with highs in the mid 40’s. On Tuesday the temperatures will rise again into the low 50’s under cloudy skies with a chance of afternoon showers. Wednesday will be much cooler with highs only in the high 30’s with clouds giving way to some sun. The temperatures will continue to drop on Thursday when the highs will be in the low 30’s with periods of clouds and sun. Friday will be cloudy and the cooling trend will continue with highs barely making it into the 30’s. Saturday will be cloudy with highs in the mid 30’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 cold 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!

Balsam Lake Mountain (Millbrook)

camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Saturday, December 2nd, I had planned to hike Balsam Lake Mountain from the Millbrook side wife my wife, Cindy, and her brother, Jeff. After reading some of my descriptions of hiking, Jeff decided he wanted to try hiking the Catskill 35’s and maybe even all the trails in the Catskills. I though that hiking the more gentle trail from the Millbrook trailhead to the Balsam Lake Mountain firepower would be a good introduction to the 3500 foot peaks. We agreed to meet at the trailhead at 10:00 AM since he lives in Delhi and we were coming from Livingston Manor. On Thursday night Cindy got a text from Jeff saying he had a commitment on Saturday and would be unable to hike. I was disappointed but decided I would do the hike any way since it had been some time since I had hiked to Balsam Lake from the Millbrook side. When I got up in the morning it was only 23 degrees so I decided to wait a little before starting out. I asked Cindy if she would like to go and she agreed. Cindy and I got dressed and got our gear ready to go. It was still only 35 degrees at a little after 10:00 AM so I decided to wear tights and a baselayer on top> I wore my Columbia Oniheat pants and, as always, my Mammut hoody. We hadn’t hiked in two days so Sheila was very excited as we put her in the backseat. We headed up the Quickway and took Route 206 towards Downsville. This route is a little longer than the Beaverkill Road but has less twists and turns. It seemed that every time we passed a spot where we had hiked before Sheila began to whine as if to say “Let’s stop here!” Continue reading