Saturday, December 3, 2016

Onteora Lake, Catskills

Date Distance Time Elevation Gain Average Moving Time Year to Date Miles
12/3/2016 7.1

Map: NYNJTC Catskill Map 146
Parking: Sign off of Route 28 shows parking area. There is one parking area immediately off of the side road. However, pass through gate and drive to the lower parking area.
Directions: This hike is a series of 3 loop trails - yellow, red, and blue. From the parking area, start out on the yellow trail. Where trail splits, stay left on the yellow trail. Turn left on the red trail. Where trail splits, stay right on the red trail. Turn right on the blue trail. Where trail splits, stay right on the blue trail. Where trail splits, stay right on the blue trail. Turn right on the red trail. Wehre trail splits, stay right on the red trail. Turn left on the yellow trail. Where trail splits, turn left on the yellow trail, to the parking area.

It's still rifle season in the Catskills, but we decided to try our luck. I've read that there have been 4 hunting fatalities in the Catskills this season. Yikes! There were so many cars in the two parking lots, I figured we didn't need to worry about hunters in the area. We still wore our orange hats and Trek wore his orange vest, but we didn't go full out yellow/orange, like we sometimes do. This is an easy hike, with many distances/variations possible. It appears that most people come and do just the yellow loop. We came across so many people out for a stroll. We helped one couple who had no maps, and didn't know if they were going the right way. There are many loops and if you don't have a map, it could get confusing. Once we got off of the red trail, all of a sudden there were no more people. We saw no one on the red and blue trails at all. I checked out a couple of camping spots on the red trail - I figure if we ever want to bring Moxie along for a backpack, this might be a good place to do it (easier hiking, don't have to do long distances, and best of all - 2 ponds). We did hear gunshots while we were further out on the red and blue trails, so we were glad we were orange'd up. We kept Trek on leash for the whole hike - partially due to the number of people on the yellow trail, and partially due to the gunshots. We did stop at one of the lakes on the way back, and let Trek have a short swim. He wanted to swim really badly, but he didn't last long - after all its December.

Picnic area near the parking lot

Trails were clean except for this dumping area off the blue trail. I'm guessing someone used to live here, and used the area to dump their trash. We thought about trying to pack some out but it was big/heavy trash.

MA Appalachian Trail - Section 6 - Upper Goose Pond Cabin to Goose Pond Road

Date Distance Time Elevation Gain Average Moving Time Year to Date Miles

Directions: Take AT north from Goose Pond Road to Upper Goose Pond Cabin

Parking is always "iffy" once there is snow on the ground. We were lucky that the parking area at Goose Pond Road had been plowed. There was room for 3 cars - we were the only ones there. Goose Pond Road is a gravel road, so we were surprised that the area had been plowed. We started off going the wrong direction (oops), saw the mileage sign, and turned around. This hike starts on the AT on the same side of the road as the parking area. We hiked past the pond to the same intersection we were at yesterday, and then turned around. Again my hip was aching during the hike.

Oops - wrong way

MA Appalachian Trail - Sections 5-6 - Becket Road to Upper Goose Pond Cabin

Date Distance Time Elevation Gain Average Moving Time Year to Date Miles

Directions: Follow AT north from US 20 parking area to Becket Road. Turn around, follow AT south to side trail to Upper Goose Pond Cabin (closed in winter). Turn around, and head north to return to US 20 parking area.

I had to take last week off due to needing to rest my knee. I probably should have taken this weekend off too, but I was eager to get out hiking. I feel like I might have limited hiking time before my cortisone shot wears off, so I want to hike while I can. We originally planned to continue working on section 2 of the MA AT. We drove to the Mount Greylock area, planning on parking at Notch Road. Unfortunately we found that the road was closed off in the winter. We stopped by the visitor center and asked about various parking areas, but the whole area was closed off, so we needed a different place to hike. We considered working on section 1, but it really was too late in the day for a hike that long. It's over 2.5 hours drive to Mount Greylock for us. We had no other maps with us, but knew where we left off on section 5 of the AT, so we drove there, using the Guthook app to look up the parking coordinates. We got in a reasonable length hike, considering how much driving around we did. I guess we'll be waiting until the spring to finish off sections 1 & 2 of MA. We had very wet slushy trails today. It was drizzling, and there was a lot of snow on the ground. I ended up putting on microspikes, because it was just tiring to slip a bit with each step. My hip ended up aching during the hike as well, which was pretty frustrating. Each day I get to hike is a gift though.

I am not a deer outfit.

Turn around point. Trail to shelter in the background.

I was so glad for the pair of pedestrian bridges. This would have been a tough road crossing.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

MA Appalachian Trail - Sections 2-3 - Mark Noepel Lean-to to Ashuwilliticook Rail Trail

Date Distance Time Elevation Gain Average Moving Time Year to Date Miles

Directions: AT northbound from Ashuwilliticook Rail Trail to Mark Noepel Lean-to and back.

We had the opportunity to go hiking this weekend, and my hip felt okay enough to hike. We decided to continue our way up the MA AT, glad that we are able to do so on snow free ground. We started off at the rail trail parking area, and passed a replica of a cheese press. I didn't use hiking poles today - I don't like to carry them when I know I'll need to have Trek on leash part of the time for road walks. Our goal today was to reach Old Adam's Road (a trail). However, we got an early enough start, that we still had time to go further, so we continued on to the Lean-to. Today's hike went through some fields, but there were also rocky sections with deep leaves. Unfortunately I had a fall on the way back. Part of the hike is steep, and with the leaves it was challenging not to slip. So I fell, and hyperextended/twisted my knee. I was able to get up and continue hiking, just more slowly & carefully. During the long drive home, my knee started killing me. I had to take an Aleve. When we arrived home, I couldn't get out of the car without help, because I was completely non-weight bearing on my left leg. I need a break! I'm so sick of having orthopedic issues. After icing and elevating, I was able to hobble around. The next morning I stopped by urgent care before work. X-rays show nor fractures, and was instructed to rest for a couple of weeks and see my orthopedic doctor after that if it still hurts. So no hiking next weekend.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

MA Appalachian Trail - Section 3 - Ashuwilliticook Rail Trail to Gore Pond

Date Distance Time Elevation Gain Average Moving Time Year to Date Miles
11/6/2016 7.2

Directions: AT southbound from Ashuwilliticook Rail Trail to Gore Pond and back.

I woke up today feeling sore and stiff all over. My body is no longer used to hiking. 7 miles used to be easy. I didn't feel the chronic hip pain I've been having though, so today was another opportunity to hike! We decided to continue to work on the Massachusetts AT. It's a long drive for a day hike, so we listen to audio books in the car. We just finished an audio book yesterday about a family who took a few months to travel and volunteer around the world. Today we listened to the podcast, Sounds of the Trail, which is interviews of thru hikers during a single season.
It took us a little while to find parking. Our trail map doesn't have street names, and our GPS wasn't finding the names of the streets we entered in. We ended up at a school, where we didn't know if we were allowed to park. But we drove around a little more and found the parking area for the rail trail just a short distance away, where we knew we could park. The hike started off with a road walk to get to the trail. The AT also heads up to a popular viewpoint called The Cobbles. We decided to skip the view on the way up, and hope we have time for it on the way down. We hiked to Gore Pond, our turnaround point from yesterday as well. There is a large beaver dam there and the water is brown. We got a late start today (typical), and reached Gore Pond a little later than the time we needed to turn around to beat sunset. I'm out of shape, so I know I don't hike as fast as I used to. My leg muscles were shaking by the end of yesterday's hike, and today they were shaking early on. There are a ton of leaves on the trail, and they aren't packed down yet, so it is also easy to misstep and lose one's balance on an unseen rock. I'm trying really hard not to tweak my hip, so I'm going back to being a cautious hiker. We did decide to stop at the Cobbles on the way down. It's just a very short side trail to a nice view of Mt. Greylock. If my hip holds up, we'll be hiking Mt. Greylock soon. We did it once before a few years ago. We hiked out, not quite beating sunset, so Glen ended up using his headlamp. I'm thinking I'd like it better if we sprung forward an hour in the fall instead of falling back an hour. Given that we aren't early risers, this would work out so much better for us! Getting out of the car at home, I was stiff. I remind myself of Moxie after she has been for a hike (she gets wicked stiff, and isn't always weight bearing on all legs when she gets out of the car). My hips ache, my quads are sore, my feet are sore, my calves are tight. But I'm happy.