Saturday, September 21, 2013

Wittenberg Mountain and Cornell Mountain, Catskills

September 20, 2013
Distance: 9.8 miles
Time: 7 hours 30 minutes
Map: Catskill Trails Map Set

Parking: See Directions. The DEC parking lot is on the right. Drive past it a short ways (pass the recycling center) to the Woodland Valley Campground office on the left. Pay $6 for parking. Return to the DEC parking lot.
Restrooms: There are restrooms in a building right across the street from the parking area.
Notes: Catskill 3500 footers #20 & #21
Post hike dinner: Garden Cafe on the Green, Woodstock, NY

Directions: Wittenberg Mountain - Cornell Mountain from Woodland Valley 
To get to the start of the hike, cross the street (towards the bathroom). There is a sign that says trail to the left. Walk along the street for a few yards, and you will reach a sign for the trail (red blazed). Follow the trail briefly through a campground area, and turn left before the river. Cross the river on a bridge. Continue following the red blazes for the rest of the hike. Follow the blazes carefully. In one spot, we ended up going off trail accidentally on what I guess was a herd path.

Notes: This was a long, difficult hike. The beginning has a tiring uphill climb. Just when you wonder why you are doing this, it levels out a bit and gets easier. Then there are additional difficult sections later on - luckily by that time our muscles were more warmed up. This hike requires a lot of rock scrambling.

There is limited water on this hike. Make sure to bring enough for you and your dogs. 

This is a difficult hike for dogs. We have harnesses on our dogs, and they were invaluable in helping them scramble up rocks. Our dogs couldn't do the Cornell Crack (a place where humans have to shimmy up a crack). It turns out this is not difficult for humans, but there was no way my dogs could do it. We bushwhacked to the left of the crack, following the bottom of the ledge, until we found a way up. We found an easy way up (no trail), and hit the trail at the top. We put a stick on the trail to temporarily mark the spot, so we could find our turn off point to go back down (turns out one of our dogs could find it anyways). We turned left onto the trail. The trail split left and straight (main trail). We turned left to reach the summit of Cornell which has an overgrown view. We returned to the trail and went straight to get another view before turning around. You might want to consider using boots on your dogs due to the amount of rock scrambling there is (if they slip while scrambling, their pads can easily get cut).

Wittenberg's summit has a great view with a nice large area for sitting. It is supposed to be a crowded summit on weekends. Hiking on a weekday, there were only 2 other people on the summit while we were there.

Year to date miles 295.5

Parking area 
Across the street from the parking area. Restroom building on the right. 
Turn off the road onto the trail. You start out in a tenting area.

After this bridge, you start climbing.

At around 2.5 miles, the trail splits. Follow the red trail. 

This was one of the harder rock scrambles for the dogs. They both needed help getting up this one.

View from Wittenberg. Kind of a hazy day.

Taking a lunch break

Another difficult climb for the dogs

The Cornell Crack. From this perspective it looks like nothing!
But the top of the crack is tall and narrow and requires a human to shimmy up it.
There is also only a narrow spot to stand on below the crack.
We got the dogs up that far, and then decided there was no way they could get up the crack.

View on red trail just past Cornell Mountain's summit

View from actual Cornell Mountain's summit

Getting tangled up in dog leashes with branches in my hair. 

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