Saturday, June 19, 2010

Mohonk Preserve and the Catskill escarpment trail bro hike June-july 2010

    After 2 great weekends in the high peaks we scaled it back a smidgen and did some exploring in different regions to the south. Family played prominently in these hikes both for the good and for the slightly annoying.

     Memorial day weekend Jeanette and I decided to head to the 'Gunks (her first time, my second) to explore Bonticou Crag and Table Rock. This is truly a beautiful area and we can't wait to take a trip down again and do some trail riding on their huge network. Lets quickly get through the bad and move on to the good. It was extremely crowded (busy holiday weekend) with big families taking their once yearly outing to the woods. Jeanette and I literally ran away from one such family when a tweener loudly squealed to her mother "Do you think Justin Bieber is going to be on Gleeeeeee?" Oh the horror!
       Bonticou Crag was a wicked fun scramble with some great views of the Catskills looming out of the haze to the north. Table Rock was fun to revisit with lots of great memories of my first rock climbing trip there with Crystal, Mike and Ryan a few years back when we crossed paths with a Black bear.


   Saw some vultures busting moves over table rock while eating lunch and also saw a fox bounding down the trail. Jeanette had seen one earlier while we were wandering separately and wasn't 100% certain it wasn't a dog. The second view confirmed it. Really neat to see on the trail. Beuatiful wildflowers everywhere in the fields on this lovely spring day.

        We stopped in town at Rock and Snow in order to pick up the NY/NJ Trail Conference map packet for the 'Gunks area. I highly recommend this companies' maps. Great detail and easy to read with cool history info in the margins. You can also rent climbing gear from Rock and Snow for reasonable prices (as I did the first time I went climbing there).

               The first weekend of June, was lucky enough to get to do a hike in the Catskills with my brother Brain (and of course with my lovely trail companion Jeanette too!) We decided to do the Escarpment Trail out of the North and South Lake area with Inspiration Point as our destination. You can do this hike without having to pay the day use fees by parking just outside the gates at the Shute road trailhead.

      We were really blown away by the views on this hike. It's no wonder this area was one of the centers from which the Hudson River School of artists drew inspiration. There was old graffiti carved into the stone at many of the overlooks, dating to the early 19th century. This is a cool area to hike as it is part of a large network with many opportunities to lengthen or shorten the duration of the hike based on the needs of the group.

  We elected to push on further and closed our loop with a stop at the former site of the Kaaterskill Hotel and then down along the lake for a total of around 7 or 8 miles. We were tired but not floored since there is only a 500 ft change in elevation over the course of the hike.

       Super fun hike and was amped to use my recently acquired Catskills map packet (once again, from the NY/ NJ trail conference) and scout out some future hikes. We thought it would actually be worth the use fees to spend a weekend here with friends. Some could just chill and grill, others could do longer hikes, shorter hikes and/ or rent a kayak and paddle around the lake. Might see if Randy and Diddy are interested after festival season winds down.

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