|Date||Distance||Time||Elevation Gain||Average Moving Time||Year to Date Miles|
|8/5/2018||10.4 miles||8 hours 40 minutes||3,337'|
Map: NYNJTC Catskills Map 143
Directions: Park at Frost Valley Road Slide parking lot. Take the yellow blazed Phoenicia East Branch Trail. Turn left onto the red blazed Wittenberg Cornell Slide Trail. Hike to Slide summit. Continue on to Cornell summit. Return the same way.
We had originally planned a weekend backpack in Vermont to finish up our remaining Vermont Appalachian Trail miles. Unfortunately Saturday's forecast was for flash floods & thunderstorms, so we canceled our plans. We headed out to the Catskills on Sunday to work on the All Trails Challenge - getting the section of trail between Slide & Cornell completed. This will be our 4th summit of Slide, and our 2nd summit of Cornell. It was a warmish day, and we planned on it being an 8 hour hike, so we headed out relatively early for us. It was a warm day, but we checked our map and saw that there would be plenty of water sources so we didn't have to go crazy carrying extra water. I did bring a water filter, and ended up needing it on the return trip.
The hike started out with a water crossing right after the parking lot. It's usually really easy to cross without getting your feet wet. Today it was more challenging. Glen did a log crossing. I ended up just getting my feet drenched. My feet stayed wet all day. The first mile up Slide was wet, wet, wet. Lots of water running down the trail. As we got higher, things dried out.
We didn't stop at Slide, but decided to keep going down towards Cornell. The descent from Slide was when things started getting rough. We started encountering cliff bands. Trek is starting to show small signs of aging, and rock scrambles are becoming a little harder for him. In addition, these were rock scrambles that were just too steep for him to accomplish by himself. It seemed like as soon as we figured out how to do one, we'd come to another and get stuck. We even had a pair of backpackers donate some rope to us, to see if we could belay Trek down one of them (thanks!). In the end, we didn't need the rope - we bushwhacked a bit, and had one of us above Trek & one below him, in order to get him down. After the col, things evened out for a while. Then we had 2 more rock scrambles up to Cornell. There were some good views on the approach to Cornell. I didn't take the time to pull out my map & compass to try to identify the mountains. It was going to be a long day, made even longer trying to figure out how to get Trek up & down all of the cliffs. After a short break at the Cornell summit, we headed back. Trek is better at rock scrambles up, then rock scrambles down. I did bushwhack a different one going back up to Slide. I remember reading something on bushwhacking in the Catskills. Cliffs don't last forever. Keep walking along them until you find a safe place to negotiate your climb. This helped. We did see someone hiking with a rottie, and I'm wondering how he negotiated all of the cliffs with his dog. In general, I've always found that we can manage anything with Trek in the Catskills, but I wouldn't particularly recommend this hike for dogs - especially if you are unable to lift your dog quite high.
I slipped and fell a couple of times on wet rocks on the return trip. I managed to pull my quadriceps muscle. After that, it was a slow trip back.
|I could not get Trek down this, but somehow got him up this. OMG.|
|Viewpoint below Slide|