Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Climbed over Plateu, Daley Ridge, Edgewood, Carl, and Tremper today. On Tremper there was an old firetower which I climbed up. Camped at the Baldwin Lean-to. The springs were barely producing water again today but I made sure to stock up early on. Phonecia is only another 4 miles and I'm taking a day off there to catch up and rest. The wind was blowing really hard making it a fairly cold night but the sunset was absoluetly amazing. Bright blue skies, firey yellow and orange sun, and the hills all shades of purple and green. Amazing.
This section of the trail was extremely rugged. I only did 7 miles and it took most of the day. I climbed up Indian Head, Twin, Sugarloaf, and set up camp at Mink Hollow Lean-to. The climbs were really rough rocky trails with some of the most amazing views of the trip, too bad it was pretty hazy. I'd really like to come back through the Devil's Pass with some friends. Later that night a hiker named Robert, AKA Miracle Man came up to sleep at the lean-to. He's hiked the Appalachian Trail southbound, biked across the country, hit all 46 in the Addirondacks, and was working on his 3500' Peaks in the Catskills. Looks like I picked up the hiking name Olive Oil. It fits.
Parted ways with Joey & Davey. I'm gonna miss those dudes. I headed over North Mtn and down towards North Lake Campground for water. Saw a ton of dayhikers & campers, school just let out and there was people everywhere. North Lake was hell. People yelling at each other, bros everywhere, families screaming at each other in front of their kids. I had to get out of there almost as soon as I stopped. I got turned around on the DEC trails and ended up at Katerskill Falls which was really awesome. I ran into three conservation/survivalist type dudes who were planning to head to Alaska next year. I found my way to the road and started hiking into Palenville for some supplies when Davey and Joey came by and stopped to give me a lift! We made plans to meet up in Harriman State Park for some more hiking and possibly at Gathering Of the Vibes. Hit town, grabbed some supplies and camped in state land nearby.
Hiked with the dudes again up Blackhead Mtn. Syncronicity rears it's head when I found out they were planning to start at the other end of the trail. If they'd done that & if I'd stopped just off Ginseng we never would have met. The spring we were depending on was barely a trickle & we were all running low on water so we camped up near Stoppel Point and planned to part ways the next day.
Decided to take it easy and hike with Davey & Joey for a few days. We hit Windham, Burnt Knob, Acra Point, and stayed at the Batavia Kill lean-to. We spent a lot of time talking, sharing stories, philosophes, laughs, food, and whiskey. I honestly feel closer to these dudes in the short while that I've known them then some people I've known for years.
Lots of miles today. I hit Ashland Pinnacle, Richmond Mtn, Richtmyer Peak, Mt. Pisgah, Mt. Nebo, Mt. Hayden & Ginseng Mtn. I ran into Vicki the Forestry Agent for Greene County up on Pisgah and scared the crap out of her. She was mapping out scrub trails and said she never sees anyone while she's working. Going over Nebo, Hayden, & Ginseng I saw a ton of bear scat and broken tree limbs from the bears lumbering through the woods. I scared one in the brush and heard him take off. While desending Ginseng I saw a cub climb up a tree right in front of the trail. He looked right at me and screamed, then I saw mama just down the ridge. I sang a bunch and they took off running across the trail. I double timed it, to get away from the bears, and because I was running low on water. Made it to the Elm Ridge lean-to in the Catskill Park. There I met Joey & Davey who were both really awesome dudes.
Not nearly as much fun. Saw some fossilized plant life. It started raining a few miles into the hike while I stopped for breakfast. Later I noticed my olive oil leaked all inside my food bag so everything smells like a mediteranian resturant. The reroute brought me along a mountain road and I got to stare up at the three mountains I planned to climb and sleep on. I ended up camping in Ashland State Forest at the base of Ashland Pinnacle. It rained all night.
Long and amazing day. I'm set up at Nickerson's Campground. It's a private owned developed campground but the area is really beautiful and the owners are incredibly nice. Today I saw two different blue herons. Stopped at Lansing Manor and Mine Kill Falls. I had a bald eagle take off from a tree ten yards in front of me, that was intense. Never been that close to one before. My campsite was right on the shore of a creek. I bought a ton of junk food & beer and pigged out.
Camped in Patria State Forest last night. Thunder storms rolled in later that night. Stayed totally dry, gotta love that silnylon tarp. I picked up fresh strawberries on the way out of Middleburgh and munched them all night and threw the rest in my oatmeal. Today I hiked on to Rossman Hill Shelter. I made it there by 4PM so there was still a bunch of daylight but the shelter was in really good condition and I didn't feel like hiking on. There was a ton of waterfalls on the way up to Looking Glass Pond, which is one of sixteen man made ponds in the area. They were built to drain the area for local farms before the reforestation occurred.
Saturday, June 19, 2010
This morning I was torn between taking off for the next campsite or coming back into town to dump some pictures and get this blog going. As I headed out I ran into two really nice ladies, Linda and Jan. Linda is actually the owner of Divinitea who makes some really amazing teas. We hung out for a while and then they gave me a lift back to town. I'm just here to charge my phone and updating the blog then I'm off again. I have a quick town stop in Palenville for any extra food I need and the next major stop is in Phonecia which is about 7-8 days away. Most of this is through the Catskills. Awesome.
Woke up super early before sunrise. It was incredably foggy. The sun actually took a long time to rise up high enough to burn all the fog off. The wind from the valley was creating dew in the trees which actually caused my hammock to slip a little bit. You could watch this deep blue fog fade to grey and whip up the sides of the cliffs. All the spiderwebs were covered in dew and I could follow all the intricate designs. It was also pretty cold. I was wearing base layers, fleece pants, wool sweater, nylon wind jacket, fleece hat and if I wasn't moving around I was getting shivers. Mark, the trail maintainer for this section came up to do some work. We talked for a little bit. There's nesting perrigrine falcons just below my campsite and this one turkey vulture has been mocking me all day. He'll fly over really low maybe 10 feet over my head. And everytime I grab my camera to take a picture he cuts over to the backside of the hill. Bastard. A 7th grade class from Schnectady came up and the teachers had me explain what I was doing and some of my gear to the kids. I headed back into town and as I hit the road Mark was driving by. He pulled over and gave me a lift into town. Unfortunetly the library was closed so I grabbed a couple more supplies, crushed a whole pint of Death By Chocolate ice cream, and found copies of Foundation and Foundation & Empire by Issac Asmiov for 11 cents each. Spent the night up on Vroman's Nose again and built a small fire mostly just for fun.
Bushwhacked west out of Cotton Hill Forest hoping to hit the next road. Randomly found the trail again. Headed up to the top of Cotton Hill, saw the geological survey marker and found the shelter. Glad I didn't last night. There was a bunch of bottles, some broken glass and some trash. I keep a trash bag on hand and pick up trash I find along the way but there was too many bottles to take with me. I went on to Middleburgh, NY down through the Cliffs of Middleburgh. Lots of quick elevation gains and when you hit the actual Cliff you have amazing views of the valley and you had to climb through a crack in them to get down. I picked up my mail drop at the Post Office, grabbed some pizza at Hubbies, little bit of Library action and hiked up to Vroman's Nose. WOW. This place is incredible. It's owned by a local group and classified as Forever Wild. Amazing views & really nice camping spots. My feet are totally soaked and muddy. Tomorrow is supposed to be really nice so I'm taking a day off.
The descent through the cliffs and the view of them from Vroman's Nose.