Damascus Forest Trail

camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Sunday, May 21st, the forecast had been for rain but by the time we left church at 12:15 PM the skies were only a little cloudy with some sun shining through. I asked Cindy if she wanted to go to scout out the Damascus Forest Trail and the trail at Cobey Pond. I was trying to scout out the Damascus Forest trail and the Cobey Pond trail to update the trailkeeper.org website. She said “Yes” and I set out to create two geospatial PDFs using Caltopo. I should have done this the night before and it took some time to get it done! As I was getting my pack read, I noticed I had the scabbard to my saw but there was no saw. After a few minutes of searching, I was convinced I had left it on the Touch-Me-Not Trail the day before. Cindy and I got dressed to hike and got all our equipment in the car. I drove up the Beaverkill Road to Beech Hill Road behind a car that was looking for some location and would not pull over! Continue reading

Beech Hill Road to Cabot Mountain Maintenance

camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Saturday, May 20th, I had planned to hike to do some more trail clearing on the Touch-Me-Not Trail from Beech Hill Road to Cabot Mountain. Since I had done the maintenance from Barkaboom Road to Cabot Mountain on Thursday, this would complete my “spring cleaning” except for a little lopping to do in a few spots. I maintain this section of trail for the Finger Lakes Trail Conference. I had an early morning ambulance call which delayed my departure as well as a few morning showers. By 11:00 Am the rain had stopped and the radar was clear. I got my gear ready and dressed for what was going to be cooler day than Thursday so I wore a light jacket. I packed my Silky saw and plastic felling wedges and grabbed my light Fiskars axe. Sheila was ready to go as we pulled out of Livingston Manor at a little after 11:00 AM. I drove north on Old Route 17 before turning right on the Beaverkill Road. Continue reading

Big Pond to Cabot Mountain Maintenance

camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Thursday, May 18th, I had planned to hike to do some more trail clearing. I had worked on the trails around Frick Pond the day before in very warm conditions. I thought I would attend my 6:15 AM men’s bible study and then head out. That plan changed we an ambulance call came in around 5:00 AM. By the time got back the class was almost over and I was not sleepy. I decided to get an early start. I settled on hiking from Big Pond over the Touch-Me-Not Trail toward Cabot Mountain. I maintain this section of trail for the Finger Lakes Trail Conference and had not been out to clear it yet this spring. I got my gear ready and dressed for what was going to be a hot day eschewing even the lightest jacket. I packed my Silky saw and plastic felling wedges and grabbed my light Fiskars axe. Sheila was ready to go as we pulled out of Livingston Manor at a little after 8:00 AM. I drove north on Old Route 17 before turning right on the Beaverkill Road. Continue reading

Big Rock Trail and Logger’s Loop Maintenance

camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Wednesday, May 17th, I decided to head for the Frick Pond area to do some trail work on the Big Rock Trail and Logger’s Loop. The forecast was calling for temperatures reaching into the mid 80’s and by 9:30 AM it was already in the 70’s. I got my gear together including my Silky saw and felling wedges grabbing my Fiskars axe on the way out the door. The Fiskars axe is easy to carry and does a pretty good job despite its small size. I wore a light windbreaker but knew I would probably not need it between the rising temperature and the work I would be doing. We left the house at about 9:30 AM as I drove out the DeBruce Road for 6 miles. I turned left on Mongaup Road and stayed to the left on Beech Mountain Road at the Y. When I parked, there where no other cars in either lot. I took off the jacket and set my electronics. I also applied some insect repellant as the flies were already gathering in large numbers. At 9:55 AM we walked over to the larger parking area and out the back of the lot on the red-blazed Quick Lake Trail. Continue reading

Round Top Figure 8s

gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Tuesday, May 16th I wanted to get out for a hike since track meets and family commitments had kept me away from the forest for a week! Sheila seemed to agree as I got ready to go across the street to hike on Round Top. I had gotten a late start and decided this was the best plan. I also had not hiked Round Top in a while and wanted to make sure the trail was clear and in good shape. I also wanted to see what the proposed upper trail looked like after the winter. We are getting ready to cut this trail out and mark it with paint blazes. We headed across the street at about 11:00 AM with Sheila pulling me all the way down the driveway on her leash. It was probably the warmest day of the year so far with temperatures hovering in the high 60’s! I had decided not to bring my pack as I did not want to carry the extra weight and wanted to have the “freedom” from taking pictures. We began the ascent of the steepest hill behind the church which is short but really gets the circulation pumping! Continue reading

Weather for the week of May 14th

The week of May 14th began with a bright and sunny Sunday with highs reaching 60 degrees in most places. The wind began to pickup during the evening and remained in the double digits throughout the night. The forecast for Monday includes morning showers ending around noon. The highs should reach into the mid 50’s on Monday but the wind will continue to hit velocities just below 20 mph. A warming trend on Tuesday will send temperatures into the low 70’s with plenty of sun. The trend continues into Wednesday with highs in the low 80’s and plenty of sunshine. Thursday will be even warmer with highs in the mid 80’s but with increasing humidity also. The highs on Friday will drop back into the low 70’s with a chance of an early morning shower. On Saturday the highs will be in the low 70’s with clouds and sun.When the weather conditions are constantly changing, be sure you are dressed appropriately in clothing which will wick away moisture to keep you from developing a chill in cooler temperatures. Clothes that have pit zips are great and layering with non-cotton materials are a must for the varying temperatures. Keeping hydrated as the weather heats up can be tricky as you may be used to cooler temperatures 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!

Flynn Trail Maintenance

camera32On Tuesday, May 9th, the forecast was calling for rain by 11:00 Am so I had not planned to go for a hike. Sheila, however, had other plans and kept staring at me “asking” to go on a hike. I decided that we would go to Frick Pond and cut some blowdowns on the Flynn Trail up to the junction with the Big Rock Trail. It seemed cold out so I put on my Columbia Omniheat pants and the Mammut hoody. I got my pack and added my Silky saw and felling wedges grabbing my Fiskars axe on the way out the door. The Fiskars axe is easy to carry and does a pretty good job despite its small size. By the time I got to the car I knew I had to trade the Mammut hoody for a lighter jacket. We left the house at abut 9:30 AM as I drove out the DeBruce Road for 6 miles. I turned left on Mongaup Road and stayed to the left on Beech Mountain Road at the Y. Continue reading

Weather for the week of May 7th

The week of May 7th began with a cold and rainy Sunday with highs reaching only into the low 40’s. The overnight temperatures on Sunday are expected to reach into the low 30’s with the possibility of a snow shower! Monday will be more of the same with temperatures struggling to get into the mid 40’s. A double digit breeze and showers will make it feel even cooler. Tuesday will be mostly cloudy and cool with temperatures making it into the high 40’s but with less wind. On Wednesday the mercury should creep into the low 50’s with some sun and a few clouds. The trend will continue on Friday as  the temperatures jump into the high 50’s with periods of sun and clouds. Friday will be mostly cloudy but the highs should reach the low 60’s. The forecast for Saturday is almost a copy of Friday.    When the weather conditions are constantly changing, be sure you are dressed appropriately in clothing which will wick away moisture to keep you from developing a chill in cooler temperatures. Clothes that have pit zips are great and layering with non-cotton materials are a must for the varying temperatures. Keeping hydrated as the weather heats up can be tricky as you may be used to cooler temperatures 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!

Hickok Brook Trails

HickokBrookCompleteMay2017_03camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhike On Thursday, May 4th, I finished a short hike at the Mongaup River Trail on Route 97 and then headed for the Hickok Brook MUA which was on my way home. I drove north on CR-31 (Upper Mongaup Road) for a little over 5 miles to Glen Spey. I turned right and then made a quick left on CR-32 (Proctor Road). I drove north and west for a little less than 4 miles and turned left on Barker Road. I watched carefully for the sign for Hickok Brook MUA but I didn’t need to worry since the typical yellow on brown sign appeared on the right in .6 miles. I pulled into the parking area and had to decided whether to park in the lot outside the gate or drive farther down the road. I opted to park in the lot and hike the road even though the gate looked like it would not be closed. There was a van parked in the lot as I got my gear ready to go. I let Sheila run free but encouraged her to stay on the road as I had already picked several ticks off her coat. We started southwest on the road at 12:40 PM. The sun was out now and I was warm even in the light jacket. This time I brought my poles even though the road was flat and in good shape. I had remembered to bring insect repellant but the slightly cooler temperatures and the breeze were keeping the insects away. Continue reading

Mongaup River Trail

MongaupRiverMay2017_18camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Thursday, May 4th, I had planned to get out early to hike but an ambulance call in the middle of the night made sleeping a little later necessary. When I got up at 9:00 AM, the temperature was in the high 50’s and the sky was cloudy with some sun peaking through. The forecast called for increasing temperatures and more sun so I dressed in lighter pants and opted for a light windbreaker. I decided that I would investigate some more trails from the trailkeeper.org website that I was working to correct and improve. My choice was to first head to the Mongaup River Trail south of Glen Spey and stop by Hickok Brook MUA on the way back. Driving to the Mongaup River would take almost an hour and I had to make at least one stop along the way. We left Livingston Manor at 9:30 AM and I drove down State Route 17 to Liberty. I finished my business there and picked up Route 55 south toward Eldred. I drove for 23 miles through Swan Lake, Kauneonga Lake, and White Lake. In Eldred I turned left at the light on CR-32 (Proctor Road) and drove a little over 5 miles to Glen Spey. I turned right and then left on CR-31 (Upper Mongaup Road). I again drove south a little over 5 miles to Route 97. I made a left, crossed the bridge over the Mongaup River and made a quick left into the parking area. Continue reading