Winter Clove: Rips Rock, Lost Pond, The Ledges

camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Friday, October 20th I asked Cindy if she would like to go to Winter Clove and hike some of the trails there and she agreed. I checked my records and we had not been there in almost seven years! Winter Clove is primarily a resort which offers room and board and various activities to those who stay there. It is located north of Palenville with the address being Round Top. The drawback for us is that this is around a two hour drive but I did want to hike some of the trails which are really interesting. Winter Clove has miles of hiking trails open to those who are paying guests but they allow non-guests to hike which is very generous. The trails included several nice lookouts and waterfalls. There is even a trail to North Point and Stoppel Point although not all the trails are well-marked or well maintained. We got our gear together and prepared to leave the house. I had created a map for the Avenza app on my iPhone from some GPS tracks from previous visits. The temperature was cool but seemed to be rising so I put on a light jacket and took along a light hat and gloves. I decided to follow the route suggested by Google maps so at 9:10 AM we left Livingston Manor with an excited Sheila in the backseat. I drove through Liberty on Route 52 to Woodbourne and on To Ellenville. In Ellenville I picked up Route 209 north to Kingston. Continue reading

Trout Pond: Clockwise Loop

camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Thursday, October 19th, I was ready to get out for a hike after my 6:15 AM men’s bible study at church. When I returned to Livingston Manor, I ate breakfast at CafĂ© 43 and returned home to do a few chores before heading out. I deiced I would go to Trout Pond since I had not bee there in some time and since it was close enough to get in a hike before cross country practice. When Sheila got wind of my plans, she started jumping around and could hardly contain herself even though we had hiked several times during the week. We left Livingston Manor at about 9:45 AM under sunny skies but with a temperatures just into the mid 40’s. I put on my Mammut hoody and brought along gloves and a light hat. I had my gear in the trunk and an overjoyed Sheila in the back seat as we headed to Roscoe on State Route 17. I got on Route 206 and followed it across the Delaware County line to Morton Hill Road. After a left turn on Morton Hill Road, I drove to the intersection with Russell Brook Road. I turned around and parked on the side of the road to avoid the parking area which is private. We began our hike down Russell Brook Road at 10:10 AM. The temperature was 44 degrees so I decided to wear the Mammut Hoody but leave the hat and light gloves behind. Continue reading

Round Top Loops

gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Wednesday, October 18th I had several different tasks to accomplish around the house and I also needed to leave early for an away cross country meet. I decided the solution was to take Sheila across the street to hike on Round Top. I had not been there since the week before and I like to walk the trails frequently to make sure they are in good shape. The temperature was in the low 50’s as I left the house so I wore a light jacket. Sheila was happy to go as I put her on her leash to walk across the street at about 11:30 AM. We walked through the field next to the church and then up the steep but short cemetery hill. Sheila gave 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 hoping to find a blotch of color somewhere. There were no colorful trees and had not been for the entire fall. Some other areas in the Catskills had some color but not Livingston Manor! We turned left at the trailhead and walked into the woods on the trail. I immediately let Sheila off her leash but she stayed very close to me for the entire hike. At the first trail junction, Sheila turned right and I followed her up the more gentle ascent. Where the lower trail turned left Sheila continued straight ahead on the blue-blazed upper trail and I followed her lead. The trails were in good shape and we were soon at the summit. We continued over the summit and down the other side of the hill. At the junction with the lower trail I found a large branch across the trail. I tried to move it in several ways but it would not budge. I decided we would complete our first loop, walk back to the house to get my saw and return to eliminate this obstacle. We turned right and walked the gentle downhill to the lookout. At the viewpoint we turned left and walked down the steep trail to the first trail junction. We walked out to the trailhead and then down the hill toward the church. I put Sheila on her leash and we walked to our driveway and back to the house. I picked up my smaller Silky saw and we headed back across the street and up the hill to the top of the cemetery. This time we continued straight ahead toward the lookout and then followed the rail to the junction with the blue trail where the tree was across the path. It took me only a few minutes to cut up the blowdown and pull it off the trail. We continued on the lower trail to the next trail junction where we turned right and headed down the lower trail to the first junction. I didn’t want to keep carrying the saw so I placed it behind a tree. We turned right and started back up to the lookout where we turned right to follow the trail to the junction with the upper blue trail. We continued straight ahead on the blue trail over the summit ion the opposite direction from before. We walked won the other side to the trail junction and continued straight ahead on the yellow trail back to the first trail junction. At this point Sheila started to run out to the trailhead but I called her back as I turned around to start the final lower loop up the shallower grade. We followed the lower trail in a counterclockwise direction passing the lookout and descending back to the first trail junction. This time Sheila made a mad dash toward the trailhead and I followed her. We continued out to the trailhead and turned right. I put Sheila on her leash for the walk down the hill and back across the street to the house. It was 1:00 PM and we had spent an hour and a half hiking over 3 miles and doing a little trail work.

Hodge and Frick Ponds

camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Monday, October 16th, I wanted to get in a hike after two days off for a cross country meet and obligations at church. I got up a little late and was in no hurry as the temperature was in the low 40’s and the sky completely overcast. I asked Cindy if she wanted to hike and she 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. Cindy and I both took a hat a light gloves since it was only 48 degrees when we left the house at 10:10 AM. Sheila acted as if she had not hiked or a month as she jumped into the back seat. We arrived just before 10:30 AM to find no one else parked in the lots. I checked the temperature and it was 44 degrees at the trailhead! I set my Garmin GPS and we crossed the road to get on the Flynn Trail. There was a slight breeze blowing which made it seem even cooler. Continue reading

Weather for the week of October 15th

The week of October 15th begins with a cloudy Sunday with some sun and highs in the low 60’s. Monday will be cooler will plenty of sun but highs only reaching the low 50’s. It will be breezy much of the day. Tuesday will be sunny all day with highs reaching the mid 50’s. The warming trend will continue of Wednesday with highs getting into the mid 60’s under sunny skies. Thursday will be mostly sunny and mild with highs creeping into the high 60’s. Friday will be a rapt of Thursday with sunny skies and highs in the high 60’s. On Saturday there will be more sunshine with highs nearing 70 degrees. Remember that getting a sunburn or an overexposure to the sun’s UV rays is possible even in the fall. Protect yourself at all times. When the weather conditions are constantly changing with cool mornings and warm afternoons, be sure you are dressed appropriately in clothing which will wick away moisture to allow further moisture to evaporate and cool your body. 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!

Bear Spring: East Loop Clockwise

camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Friday, October 13th I wanted to get out for a longer hike after a week of XC races and practice and other commitments that had kept me out of the woods and away from hiking. I planned to hike in the northern Catskills perhaps at North South Lake or in the Blacks. I asked Cindy if she wanted to come along and she said she would like to but had to be back by 3:00 PM at the latest. Cindy likes to hike but 8 miles and 4 hours are about her limit and she is not thrilled with big elevation gains. I suggested we go to Bear Spring WMA where we had not been for some time and where I hoped we might get a glimpse of some elusive fall colors. When I got up in the morning the skies were completely overcast and the temperature was in the low 40’s. I was in no hurry to start as I wanted the skies to clear so we delayed leaving until a little before 9:30 AM. I debated whether to wear tights underneath my pants but in the end decided they were not necessary. I did put on my Mammut hoody for the first time since the spring. This jacket is great for layering and has large pit zips on either side to dump heat. The hoody also fits nice in my pack if I need to take it off. We left Livingston Manor and headed north on State Route 17 to Roscoe. I got off at exit 94 and headed north on Route 206 through Roscoe and then Rockland. Continue reading

Walnut Mountain XC Course

On Tuesday, October 10th I planned to go to Walnut Mountain to make sure the cross country course was in good shape and to mark it with white arrows for our home meet against TriValley and Livingston Manor later in the day. I had laid out the course last year and made sure it was exactly 5K which translates to 16,404.2 feet. When I arrived at 9:00 AM, I decided to mark the part of the course nearest the parking area so I walked to the far end of the parking lot and began top spray paint white arrows along the fence. I continued through the picnic grove and across the playground area to the East Trail toward the finish line. There were two large puddles on the course but I decided to allow the runners to choose to run through them or around. When I got to the varsity finish line, I painted it and then continued a little farther up the trail. I knew I needed to extend the modified course to get it to about 1.6 miles. Just as I started walking up the hill, I found a good place and marked a line. I walked back down to the car with an almost empty paint can. I picked up a new can of paint and headed up the Mountain Overlook Trail carrying a rake to remove leaves where I needed to put down arrows. Continue reading

Weather for the week of October 8th

The week of October 8th begins with a cloudy Sunday with highs in the mid 70’s and the possibility of rain showers spread throughout the day. On Monday there will be rain throughout the date from the remnants of Tropical Storm Nate. The highs will still be in the low 70’s. Tuesday will be warm with clouds and sun with highs in the low 70’s. Wednesday will be cooler with highs in the mid 60’s and the chance of a passing afternoon shower. The rain showers will continue through Thursday morning. The rest of Thursday will be cloudy with highs in the low 60’s. Friday will also be cloudy with highs again in the low 60’s. Saturday will finally see some sun with highs reaching just into the low 70’s. Remember that getting a sunburn or an overexposure to the sun’s UV rays is possible even in the fall. Protect yourself at all times. When the weather conditions are constantly changing with cool mornings and warm afternoons, be sure you are dressed appropriately in clothing which will wick away moisture to allow further moisture to evaporate and cool your body. 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!

Dry Brook Ridge: Southside Drive

camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Saturday, October 7th I had planned to hike Dry Brook Ridge to the lookouts from Southside Drive in Margaretville. This would take me over Pakatakan Mountain which I remembered was a steep climb in several places. I planned to return by descending the German Hollow Trail and then walking the roads back to the car. From what I pieced together from previous trips, this would be about a 9 mile hike. When I went to bed Friday night, the forecast was somewhat unsettled but the chance of rain was out at less than 10%. When I awoke on Saturday morning the forecast had not really changed but there was some rain in the Southern Tier which I thought could reach Margaretville. I decided to take a chance and do the hike anyway despite the fact that I knew that the views from the lookouts would probably be hazy due to the overcast skies. I was looking for some pictures of fall leaves with some vibrant colors. Many of the leaves around Livingston Manor had already fallen from the trees without changing colors. I delayed leaving the house since it was so foggy but I eventually got my gear together and got dressed. I wore a light windbreaker and packed a rain jacket just in case. I decided to take my collapsible Leki Micro Vario poles which are light and easy to stow for the 3 mile road walk. Sheila was very excited since we had not hiked since Tuesday! Continue reading

Round Top Big Loops

gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Tuesday, October 3rd I had several different tasks to accomplish around the house and I also needed to leave early for an away cross country meet. I decided the solution was to take Sheila across the street to hike on Round Top. I had not been there since the official opening last Sunday and wanted to see if everything was Ok on the trails. Sheila was happy to go even though we had hiked the day before and I put her on her leash to walk across the street at about 11:30 AM. We walked through the field next to the church and then up the steep but short cemetery hill. Sheila have me a little help as she pulled me up the hill. We turned left at the trailhead and walked into the woods on the trail. I immediately let Sheila off her leash but she stayed very close to me for the entire hike. At the first trail junction, Sheila turned right and I followed her up the more gentle ascent. Where the lower trail turned left Sheila continued straight ahead on the blue-blazed upper trail and I followed her lead. The trails were in good shape and we were soon at the summit. We continued over the summit and down the other side of the hill. At the lower trail we turned right and walked the gentle downhill to the lookout. At the viewpoint we turned left and walked down the steep trail to the first trail junction. Sheila continued on toward the trailhead but I turned around and started back up the trail. Sheila followed and we began our second big loop in reverse. When we completed this one I turned around again to start another in the same direction as the first. Sheila was a little more reluctant to follow but did turns round to come with me. After completing this third loop, I thought about going home wanted to try one more. Sheila gave me a disgusted look but followed me for our fourth and final loop. Once we were back at the trail junction, we continued out to the trailhead. We turned right and I put Sheila on her leash for the walk down the hill and back across the street to the house. We had spent a little over and hour hiking 3 miles.