Round Top Loops

gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Friday, December 29th the temperature when I got up at 6:30 AM was 4 degrees with a breeze making the wind-chill well below zero. This had been true for several days in a row and I was tired of staying inside. Sheila seemed to agree with me as she kept “hinting” that she wanted to go outside. I decided to wait a little hoping that the temperature might rise. By 11:30 the temperature did rise to about 10 degrees! I would take Sheila and go across the street to hike on Round Top. I am getting bored hiking there but it gave us the best opportunity to hike close to home and to come home if it was too cold. I put on a full baselayer under my Columbia Omniheat pants and a heavier Patagonia wool top. I wore my Mammut Ultimate hoody and a pair of Salomon Nytro boots with Microspikes. Sheila was happy to finally et outside as I put her on her leash to walk across the street at 11:50 AM. 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 where I released Sheila from her leash. At the first trail junction Sheila turned right to head up the more gentle slope and I followed her. Where the trail split at the next junction I followed Sheila as she went straight up the hill on the blue trail toward the summit of Round Top. I was surprised that I was not very cold and was actually starting to sweat as we climbed the short but steep hill to the summit. We crossed over the top and started down the other side. I was glad I had on the Microspikes as it was steep and slippery as this side is out of the sun. I also noticed a slight breeze was making my exposed face cold. As I inhaled, I noticed that the air was very cold as my chest was cool. At the trail junction we continued straight ahead on the yellow trail toward the viewpoint. At the viewpoint we turned left and walked down the hill back to the first trail junction. We immediately turned around and started back up the hill. Sheila was very eager and bounded ahead of me. This time we repeated the big loop we had just done but in reverse. As always we needed up back at the first trail junction. We again turned around and walked back up the more gentle slope toward the junction with the upper blue trail. At this junction we turned left on the lower yellow trail to execute a small loop. We continued to follow the yellow trail along the base of Round Top and down to the viewpoint. After turning left and walking downhill, we were back at the first trail junction. We turned around for one last time and walked a small loop in reverse. This time when we arrived at the first trail junction, we turned left and walked out to the trailhead. We walked down the cemetery hill with the sun shining brightly. At the base of the hill I put Sheila on her leash and we walked back across the field next to the church to our driveway. We arrived back at the house at 1:10 PM having spent 1 hour and 20 minutes walking a little less than 3 miles.

Round Top Figure 8’s

camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Tuesday, December 26th I wanted to get out to hike┬ábut the temperature was 14 degrees at 11:00 AM with a breeze blowing dropping the wind-chill to the single digits. I didn’t know how Sheila would fare so I decided to go across the street to hike on Round Top. I knew we could get there and back quickly and could lengthen or shorten our hike easily. Cindy decided she would go along despite the cold so we started to get dressed. I put on a baselayer and decided to wear a heavier Patagonia wool top underneath my Mammut Ultimate hoody. I also took a heavier hat and wore a pair of warm mitts. I donned my Salomon Nytro boots and wore high gaiters. Cindy and i decided that it had not snowed enough to wear snowshoes but that MicroSPikes would be a good idea. Sheila would not leave my side as I was getting ready as she wanted to make sure she was going too!. I decided to take my pack along as a way to carry my camera. We stepped out onto the back porch, put on our spikes and headed out the slippery driveway at 11:15 AM. Continue reading

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!

Round Top Figure 8’s

gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Sunday, December 24th I knew I needed to get out after several days of substituting for the school nurse and some horrendous weather. In addition, the forecast for the coming week included snow and then temperatures with highs in the teens! After returning from church, Cindy decided to meet some of her family for lunch so I decided to simply head across the street to Round Top and do some figure 8’s just for the exercise. This would be the first hike of the winter season and also a hike on Christmas Eve day. When we started down the driveway at 1:10 PM the temperature was in the high 30’s which almost seemed warm. I did not put on a baselayer top or bottom but did take a hat and a pair of light gloves. Sheila was so happy to get out she kept winning and barking at me as I put her on her leash to walk down the driveway and across the street. Continue reading

Frick Pond Loop (Flynn, Big Rock, Quick Lake)

camera32gps_pictalltrailsmapmyhikeOn Monday, December 18th, I decided I needed to get out to hike with snowshoes even though they were probably not needed. The temperature was approaching 30 degrees when I woke up and I knew that overheating while snowshoeing was a possibility. I also knew that the snow tends to clump on snowshoes at this temperature which makes hiking much more difficult. Despite this I knew I wanted to get out and Sheila readily agreed by her antics. I convinced Cindy that we could take a short walk up the Flynn Trail and then take the long descent on the Big Rock Trail to Times Square. From there it is a relatively flat and short hike back to Frick Pond and out to the parking area. I did not put on tights and wore a lighter top over my baselayer. I did put on my Mammut Ultimate Hoody which I wear most of the time. I chose my Crescent Moon Gold snowshoes and I put Cindy’ Tubbs Alpflex snowshoes in the car. We left Livingston Manor just before 10:30 AM and headed out the Debruce Road. Continue reading

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!

Frick Pond Loop (Quick Lake and Loggers Loop)

camera32gps_pictalltrailsmapmyhikeOn Saturday, December 16th the temperatures was in the low 20’s and snow was falling lightly at home. I had last been out on Monday and then had a week of commitments and work as the school nurse. As Is started to get my gear ready, Sheila was glued to me to make sure I would not forget her. Cindy and I I decided to head to Frick Pond to do a hike. My plan was to do the big loop but I knew that would depend on the conditions and Cindy. We decided we would not take snowshoes as there was only a few inches of light snow on the ground. It may seem that returning again and again to the same area is monotonous but each hike is different. On this hike having Cindy with me would be very nice even though the skies were cloudy and snow was falling. As we got dressed, I decided to put on tights underneath my Columbia Omniheat pants. On top I wore an Icebreaker light wool top over a baselayer with my Mammut hoody. I also wore a pair of heavier gloves and a hat. Both Cindy and I decided to where high gaiters. We put our gear in the car leaving the house at 10:15 AM. Continue reading

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