Palmer Hill

PalmerHillJul2014_02camera32gps_pictalltrailseverytrailcaltopomapmyhikeOn Wednesday, July 23rd I wanted to celebrate my birthday by hiking with Cindy and Karl. Karl had a real estate closing in the morning but said he would be ready by about noon. Karl made it to our hose at the appointed time and we were ready to leave by 12:15 PM. I had decided since time was limited we could do a short hike but we all wanted something new and a little different. I chose the new trails on Palmer Hill that had been constructed by the Catskill Mountain Club and opened this summer. When I looked on their website the description said that the trailhead parking was on Finkle Road about 2 miles east of Andes on Route 28. We all got into our car with our gear and, of course, Sheila and headed to Roscoe on Route 17. From Roscoe we went north on Route 206 to the Pepacton reservoir and turned right when we got to the T at Route 30. We followed Route 30 all the way to Route 28 and turned left. As we began to head up Palmer Hill we found Finkle Road on the right and pulled into the parking area. The view from the parking area was great. A signboard showed a picture of the view with all the peaks and hills labeled. All the peaks from Balsam Lake and Graham through Doubletop and Balsam were visible. There was some haze in the air. The temperature was in the high 80’s and the humidity made it feel well over 90. Thunderstorms were predicted for around 4:00 PM so we started in on our hike almost immediately. The first half mile of the trail descends to a small brook. The trail passes through wide corridors which have been mowed through the grass and then enters the woods on an old road. Just after the brook crossing are the foundations from a farm and then the first trail junction.

PalmerHillJul2014_28The trail junction is sort of a “times square” since at this point you can choose to do the upper meadow or lower meadow. Cindy suggested that any climbing that had to be done should be at the beginning of the hike and so we turned left to start to the upper meadow. The trail shortly entered the woods and began a half mile ascent to the highest point on the hike. The vertical gain was only about 250 feet and the average grade was around 9%. There were a few steeper areas which were between 15% and 20% for short distances. Along the way we saw some nice stone walls as we looped in a clockwise direction. At the high point we broke out into a field with some since views of the surrounding hills. The trail the began to descend for about .4 miles back to the trail junction losing around 200 feet. We turned left at the junction and almost immediately came to another split in the trail. The left fork has not labeled so we strayed to the right and continued to descend through paths mowed through the field. At 1.85 miles we hit the lowest spot on the hike and walk beneath some powerlines for a short distance. The skies that had been blue with white clouds were beginning to get grayer with much darker clouds. We left and then rejoined the powerlines and at 2.1 miles completed the turn and started back toward the trail junction. Our route roughly parallel our path on the way out but wound through the trees and had a few ups and downs. By 2.75 miles we were back at the trail junction and continued back up the woods road and back to the car. We were back in the parking area by 2:50 PM having covered 3.3 miles in a little under 1.5 hours. The vertical gain was only 650 feet. To get back home we drove into Andes and took the Tremperskill Road back to Route 30.