Saturday, January 2, 2016

Hunter Mountain, Catskills

Date Distance Time Elevation Gain Average Moving Time Year to Date Miles
1/2/2016 7 miles 3 hours 46 minutes 1,994' 2.3 mph 13.3

Trail Map
Parking: Spruceton Road
Catskill All Trails Challenge: Map 141
Catskill 3500 Winter Peak #6

Directions: Spruceton Out and Back

Winter hiking is hard. It sort of feels like when we first started hiking 3500 footers and they were very hard. I'm trying to figure out why it is harder. We took several rests on the way up. We dress in layers and in general are warm - except for Glen's cheeks and my hands whenever I take my gloves off in order to have more mobility. Glen ended up wearing his balaclava - which steamed up his glasses. He will be buying some Cat Crap to see if it helps. Our packs are heavier with extra gear, so I can see that has to be part of it. We both went to the Catskill 3500 Footer Club talk on winter hiking. One good tip I got out of it was to use a Nalgene insulating sleeve that attaches to your pack, and to fill your Nalgene with boiling water in the morning. It is so much more pleasant to drink warm water when hiking in the winter. I already don't drink enough when hiking, so I tend to get dehydrated in the winter - not wanting to drink really cold water on a really cold day. This tip has really helped! The water bottle is a bit difficult to get out of the insulating sleeve, but I've heard that in time it will get looser.

Even after the winter hiking class - Glen felt he could continue to use his hydration bladder in the winter and eat Cliff Bars in the winter. Haha! He had read that if you blow air into the mouthpiece of your hydration bladder tube, it will stop it from freezing up. Today he wasn't drinking much - and his tube completely froze up. And his philosophy was that you can eat Cliff Bars if you just warm them up in your mouth before biting down too hard - except his face got cold while trying to do this with his balaclava pulled down. So, now he has decided to switch to using the Nalgene & insulating sleeve I got him for Christmas. And he's going to switch from Cliff Bars to fig newtons.

Today's route was following the Spruceton Trail all of the way to Hunter Mountain. It is a wide trail with very easy terrain. About halfway up the trail became icy, and we had to put on microspikes. I found the trail to be beautiful beyond the turn off to Colonel's Chair. The trail is surrounded by balsam on both sides, and they were covered in a light dusting of snow. Just magical.

Speaking of magical, I love the Hunter Mountain summit area. I think it is my favorite summit. And seeing it in the winter was spectacular. The snow on the the trees was just breathtaking. I climbed partway up the fire tower. No views of mountains today - we were socked in with clouds. But still seeing the snow covered trees made it worth it. We didn't stay long, as we got too cold standing around. We had some fig newtons (which work really well in the winter) and a drink, added more layers, and headed back down.

The snow had a hard crust today, so Trek didn't have a problem with ice balls between his toes. He did stop and wade in the river on the way down. What a crazy dog. It was 27 degrees out on the bottom of the mountain.

For the first 1.8 miles we could easily walk around any icy sections

At this turn, it was time to put on the microspikes

Beautiful section of the trail, not captured by my photo

Summit - LOVE!

Looking down at Trek & Glen

Ha! Trying to eat a Cliff Bar!

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