Sunday, June 17, 2018

Plateau Mountain, Catskills

Date Distance Time Elevation Gain Average Moving Time Year to Date Miles
6/16/2018 9 miles 6 hours 2,410'

Map: NYNJTC Catskills, Map 141
Parking: Notch Inn Road, on a pullout right before the "Privately Maintained, No Thru Traffic" sign. Parking must be done before this sign.
Directions: Continue walking uphill on Notch Inn Road. Turn left onto yellow blazed side trail (no sign/no blazes visible from the road) before the house at the end of the road. Continue along the yellow blazed trail to the intersection with the Warner Creek Trail. Turn left onto the Warner Creek Trail towards the Devil's Path. Turn right on the Devil's Path to the Plateau summit (a short distance after a 90 degree turn). Return the same way.

Today we are hiking another trail on map 141 that we've never hiked on before. I really like to hike in new places as much as possible. I remembered that there were special instructions for parking on Notch Inn Road, so I made sure to google it to read up on it before we left. We parked, walked up the road, missed the trail, and got close to the house at the end of the road, where there was a no trespassing sign. Hmm...I didn't remember any instructions for finding the trail. We turned around and found the trail. There were no blazes or signs for it - except for a private property no trespassing sign. We didn't see any blazes until we entered the woods. It would have been less confusing if there was a blaze or sign visible from the road.

The yellow blazed trail felt like walking on a rocky dry streambed, but it wasn't as bad as the Dutcher Notch Trail. Parts of it were fine.

At the intersection of the Warner Creek Trail, we turned left towards the Devil's Path. We still need to hike a 5.5 mile or so piece of the Warner Creek Trail going southbound from this intersection.

We started a switchbacked climb uphill. Yeah for switchbacks - that made the climb easier! After the switchbacks were done, the trail leveled out as we followed a ridge. We saw a lot or orange tape tied to trees on the trail. We couldn't figure it out. Were they for trail maintenance? They were mostly tied to small trees. On the way back Glen saw something about an ultra being held here next weekend. Aha! That explains it. The tape is probably marking the route. We crossed paths with a group of four hikers a few times today. They made friends with Trek.

The trail was pretty dry. There was one spring on the way - it was pretty muddy and stagnant though. Trek carries a liter of water, but we stopped there to get more. Otherwise, there really wasn't any water on the trail.

On the way down, we saw an animal running down the trail in front of us! I couldn't tell what it was at first. It was brown and running too fast to be a porcupine. We continued on, and kept getting glimpses of it. We caught up enough and found that it was actually a large bird! It flew a little, landed next to the trail, and kept running. We wondered if it was trying to lure us away from a nest.

Notch Inn Road from the trail. The house on the left is at the end of the road.

Yellow blazed trail

Ultra trail marker

This was the spring off the side of the Warner Creek Trail - mostly stagnant water

An easy .5 mile to the summit from here - I love this section - not just because it's flat!

Plateau summit

Here is a view of the trailhead from Notch Inn Road. The no trespassing sign is to the right.

Walking downhill on Notch Inn Road to our car.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Stoppel's Point, Catskills

Date Distance Time Elevation Gain Average Moving Time Year to Date Miles
6/9/2018 8.8 miles 4 hours 47 minutes 2,624'

Map: NYNJTC Catskills, Map 141
Parking: Park at the east end of the Dutcher Notch trail at the end of Stork Nest Road
Directions: Dutcher Notch trail, turn left (south) on Escarpment trail, hike to Stoppel Point. Return the same way.

Today we are back to working on redlining the Catskills. We've made a lot of progress on map 141, and there is a chance we will complete all of the trails on this map this year. I like the challenge because it encourages people to explore all of the trails in the Catskills versus the concentration on the 3500 footers. That being said, if there is a 3500 footer nearby, we do consider adding it to our hike. Maybe we'll complete a second round of the 3500 footers.

We were the only car parked in the small parking area. I'm guessing this trail isn't hiked much. The trail starts out on private property passing by two houses. It enters the woods on a rocky trail. It isn't a really nice trail. It feels like walking on a dry stream bed most of the way. It also isn't well maintained. We decided on this trip to take photos and GPS coordinates of any blowdowns we found blocking the trail. After the hike, we found out who to send them to, and we hope this is useful for helping the volunteer coordinator know where to send crews. Glen put on his bug net right away. His favorite piece of gear used to be his Houdini, but now I think its his bug net. They can get hot to wear. I alternated putting it on and then pulling it off to cool off.

Once we got on the Escarpment trail, we were on nice trail! Yeah! We still found some blowdowns on the Escarpment trail too though - so we marked their locations and took photos. I was really low energy today. I'm not sure why. We took our time and just went slowly. We actually skipped hiking on the following day, because I was just feeling really tired and had no energy. We saw a few other hikers on the Escarpment Trail. We stopped and checked out the remains of a plane crash which is on the side of the trail. There's another one in the area, but it can't easily be reached. Soon after the plane crash is a lookout, somewhat overgrown - but you can see Blackhead, Black Dome, and Thomas Cole. Those are the only 3 mountains I can easily identify in the Catskills without looking at a map. They are three bumps in a row - so are easy to identify. I used my map and compass to verify. A little further on, we arrived at Stoppel Point, where there is another lookout, where again we practiced looking out and matching things on the map with things we saw in front of us. I just read this week that the DEC will be clearing viewpoints in the Catskills. I'm sure there will be debates about this - but I'm sure a lot of hikers will appreciate the better views.

We were glad to be heading mostly downhill on the return trip. We saw a handful of other hot and tired hikers going the other direction.

Figuring out what the hill in the background is

Stoppel Point lookout

Thomas Cole, Black Dome, Blackhead

Friday, June 15, 2018

Camel's Hump, Vermont

Date Distance Time Elevation Gain Average Moving Time Year to Date Miles
6/3/2018 6.5 miles 2 hours 16 minutes

Map: Long Trail map
Parking: See book
Directions: Monroe Trail to summit

Another beautiful day near Waterbury, Vermont. Today we got lucky and had sunny skies in the morning. We had a short drive to the Camel's Hump parking area. Parking is free. Again, we heard more French on the trail then English. Glen felt great physically on yesterday's hike, so he was excited about today's hike. Today's hike I think is considered harder than Mount Mansfield. The hardest part was once we were on the Long Trail. The rock scrambling reminded me of the Devil's Path. My muscles were tired! Lots of people passed us. There was a group of hikers much older than me that blew by us. It felt like everyone else was much more fit! We didn't get above treeline until close to the summit. You can see Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks from up there. I wanted to practice locating things with my map and compass, but the Long Trail map is just a strip map, so doesn't show much. Going down the trail was easier - we took a different route. People continued to pass us. My Altras do have poor traction so I had to be careful. After getting wet, they even slip on dry rocks. It felt like the hike was less crowded than yesterday's Mount Mansfield hike, yet when we got to the summit there were quite a lot of people. I guess they came up a different route. The summit, like Mount Mansfield is an alpine tundra area. You have to step carefully, so you only step on rocks, and not step on the fragile plants.

After we got cleaned up from our hike, we headed over to the Ben & Jerry's factory. Unfortunately, we got their too late for a tour, but we did have some ice cream & walked around the grounds. We also visited Sunflower Natural Foods (unrelated to the store with the same name that we frequent in Woodstock). We tried to pull together a dinner from what they have, and also bought some Heady Topper beer, which a few coworkers told me I must try.

Today's hike made me feel old. It's psyching me out for the backpacking we need to do in the White Mountains in NH, which is going to be tough! People a lot older than me hike the AT every year, so I just have to keep plugging away. I'm not concerned at all about the states south of us, but New Hampshire and Maine have a reputation of being very difficult.

Camel's Hump summit