Monday, August 6, 2018

Slide - Cornell - Slide, Catskills

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

Slide summit

Diamond Notch Trail, Catskills

Date Distance Time Elevation Gain Average Moving Time Year to Date Miles
7/30/2018 6.1 miles 4 hours 15 minutes 1,500'

Map: NYNJTC Catskills map 141
Parking: Spruceton Road (2nd parking lot from the end of the road)
Directions: Hike southbound on the Diamond Notch trail to the other end. Return the same way.

Our goal today was to hike the section of the Diamond Notch trail which is south of the Devil's Path. That's only a 4 mile round trip, so we were going to also add in Southwest Hunter Mountain. I had done some research on parking in Lanesville before, and I remember it was supposed to be tricky. The very end of the road is a grassy/rocky road recommended for high clearance vehicles only, but I thought you could park somewhere before that section. We drove up to the section where the road gets rough, and decided against trying to drive up that section. We so need a Jeep! At the end of the good section of the road, there was a sign put up by a homeowner which said you could park either ahead up the rough road, or 500' back near the bridge. Well, we drove back to the bridge, where there was a nice pullout (looks like a snowplow turnaround) which could hold 3 cars or so. Except there were no parking signs there. Pretty much all along the road there were no parking signs/you will be towed signs. I wasn't sure if there was anywhere safe to park, so we ended up changing plans.

We drove over to Spruceton Road and decided to just hike the whole Diamond Notch trail, starting from the north end. Since we were adding in a couple extra miles, and lost a bunch of time, we decided to skip Southwest Hunter Mountain, and just do the Diamond Notch Trail. Luckily we found a parking spot on Spruceton Road. The parking areas there tend to fill up. We got a spot in the 2nd parking area from the end of the road. From there, we continued down the road to the start of the Diamond Notch trail, which is behind a gate. There were quite a few people hiking over to see Diamond Notch falls, which are about an hour in. We've had a lot of rain recently, so a nice time to visit the falls. On the other hand, we've been to the falls another time, and the slow streams of water dripping over the edge of mossy rocks was magical.

The trail to Diamond Notch falls, is rocky at times, but not a hard trail. I would consider this one of the easier hikes in the Catskills. Continuing past the falls, I didn't expect to see many people, but we did see a handful, as well as 3 mountain bikers. It didn't seem like it would be a fun trail to bike on (too overgrown in spots). There were additional smaller falls past Diamond Notch falls. It was a pretty hike. There was one unbridged water crossing which we had to be careful at. We met some backpackers who said it was extremely challenging on Friday evening.

Walking from the parking lot to the start of the trail

Taking a break at the shelter south of the falls.

More difficult stream crossing, not bridged

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Warner Creek Trail, Catskills

Date Distance Time Elevation Gain Average Moving Time Year to Date Miles
7/21/2018 9.2 miles 6 hours 30 minutes 2,498'

Map: Catskills Map 141

Parking: One car at Notch Inn Road, one car at Willow Post Office

Directions: Walk up Notch Inn Road. Take yellow blazed trail on left side of road before the last house. Turn right on blue blazed Warner Creek trail. Hike southbound. Cross Warner Creek. Turn left on yellow blazed Willow Trail. Turn right onto Jessup Road and follow to the Willow Post Office.

Today we were joined by our friends Daniela and Brodie. This allowed us to do a one way hike on the Warner Creek trail. Brodie is a good hiking partner for Trek. Glen also really likes Brodie, who is a much calmer dog than Trek.

We decided to hike southbound, so that we'd have the 1.2 mile road walk along Jessup Road be at the end. We were familiar with both parking areas, as we've used both of them before. The Willow Post office allows hiker parking, but is about 1.2 miles from the trail. The parking area at Notch Inn Road is a small pullout before a private road sign, and also requires a road walk uphill to the trail.

I can't say today's hike was exciting. The Warner Creek trail was in pretty good shape considering how little usage it gets (we saw no other hikers today). But the trails to it and from it are rocky & overgrown with nettles in spots. We had no views today, but did do a Catskill 67 mountain - Silver Hollow Mountain. Warner Creek was nice. I read the crossing can be difficult when the water is high. The water wasn't high today, but I still managed to get wet. We stopped and took a lunch break at the creek, and let Trek play in the water.

The highlight of today was on our ride back from the Willow Post Office to Notch Inn Road. We saw a bear cub cross the road in front of our car. It was sooooo cute! Daniela tried to take a photo - but probably missed it. More photos from her blog soon.

Brodie - wearing a matching backpack 

Wild raspberries along the trail

Stream crossing before the main one

Warner Creek

Jessup Road (which turns into a paved road)

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Timp Torne loop, Harriman

Date Distance Time Elevation Gain Average Moving Time Year to Date Miles
4/18/2018 4.1 miles 3 hours

Map: NYNJTC Northern Harriman Bear Mountain Trails, Map 119

Parking: See Anthony Wayne Recreation area

Directions: Side trails to Fawn Trail. Turn right onto blue blazed Timp Torne trail. Continue on Timp Torne trail when AT joins the trail. Where AT and Timp Torne trail split, stay right on AT. Turn right on Beechy Bottom Road. Take side trails to parking area.

I had the day off of work for a visit with Karl and Ron. Glen wanted to show Karl the hiking trail we maintain, so we were able to get in a mid-week hike in Harriman. We weren't doing an official trail maintenance hike, but I did throw branches and sticks off the trail. Trek enjoyed trying to retrieve all of the sticks I was throwing off the trail. We trimmed brush back in the spring, and I was surprised to see how much the brush had grown back already. We need to get back out here with loppers. Otherwise the trail was in good shape. We had a relaxing hike. I was planning on going to the gym later that evening, so I didn't want to wear myself out early. I haven't been feeling in good shape lately, despite hiking regularly, so I'm trying out a local gym which has evening & weekend classes that fit my schedule well. I'm nervous but excited about getting in better shape. Nervous because I don't know if my hip will be able to handle it. Excited, because I miss working with the trainer I used to work with, and hope this gym will help me get strong again.

We got to snack on blueberries on the edge of the trail. I also tried something that looked like raspberries but wasn't - oops.

Bear Mountain summit

Wild blueberries