N e w s
The week of August 13th begins with a sunny Sunday with highs in the low 70's and low humidity. Blue skies with white, billowing clouds dominated the day. Monday will be partly sunny and nice with highs in the high 70's. On Tuesday the forecast calls for thunderstorms in some places in the morning with cloudy skies. The storms should move put by late afternoon and the highs will be in the high 70's. Wednesday will mostly sunny and beautiful with highs reaching into the high 70's. The rain returns on Thursday with increasing clouds and the possibility of clouds in the morning and thunderstorms in the afternoon. Friday there will be periods of sun with highs in the mid 70's but with a chance of showers. On Saturday the highs will top out at 80 degrees with periods of clouds and sun. Getting wet in a shower may be refreshing but getting caught in a thunderstorm is no joke. When lightning begins to strike seek shelter under a rock overhang or in a lean-to or other building if possible. When the weather conditions are constantly changing, be sure you are dressed appropriately in clothing which will wick away moisture to allow further moisture to evaporate and cool your body. Layering should be with non-cotton materials as cotton tends to hold moisture. Keeping hydrated as the weather heats up can but hydrating properly will allow you to hike longer and in greater comfort. Be sure to carry plenty of water with you as local water sources can be unreliable and may be contaminated. Once you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated! Remember, the weather forecast is only a prediction and always contains percentages. Be prepared and have a plan for the most likely and least likely forecast! Are you prepared to stay out overnight on a trail? Conditions in the morning can change drastically by afternoon. Conditions at the trailhead do not always reflect the conditions on the peaks! Variable trail and weather conditions are a hallmark of these mountains. BE CAREFUL AND BE PREPARED!
Being a Responsible Hiker: Mink Hollow and the Blue Hole
What can be more exciting than parking at Mink Hollow in Spruceton and bushwhacking North Dome and Sherrill? What can be more refreshing than taking a dip in the Blue Hole after hiking Peekamoose and Table? Sadly, careless and irresponsible visitors threaten these places and several others in the Catskills. The parking area at Mink Hollow is small and fills up early in the day especially during the summer and on weekends. After the parking lot is full, hikers are parking on the sides of the road narrowing the already narrow road. Others are parking close to or on private property. The town board is concerned that fire trucks and ambulances wouldn’t be able to get through. The town board has considered issuing parking tickets to hikers not parked in designated parking lots. If you are parking in this area, be careful to park in the lot or on the shoulder in a way that does not block traffic. Consider parking down the road at another parking lot. Stay out of the road and DO NOT park on posted property. One forest ranger estimated that 1000 people visited the Blue Hole on July 4th. They left behind a large amount of garbage and human waste. Several magazines and websites have mentioned the Blue Hole and this has increased traffic. There is no solution other than to ask every visitor to adhere to "Carry it in, carry it out". These simple solutions are the only way to solve the problem BEFORE law enforcement steps in. Be considerate of others and help preserve your own access to these and other popular spots.
Friday: July 21st: Peters Kill Loop (Jenny Lane)
I take hundreds and sometimes thousands of pictures each year. It is hard for me to "throw out" pictures so most of them end up in my online albums. Some of these pictures are better than others and I am trying to be more selective. For the past four years I have looked at ALL of the pictures for the year and selected some to publish in print. Various websites such as Winkflash, Blurb and Zazzle provide this service. I always wait until there is a sale of 50% off or more! Below are links to the PDF copies of these books.
Sullivan County and the areas bordering it have many different trails for visitors to hike. Some trail are hiking trails that can be difficult for beginners. Over trails can be found in local parks and offer a much more relaxed experience. There area also some rail trails for walkers to explore. I have created a website called Sullivan County Hiker to highlight some of the trails available. The site has a list of all the trails on the home page. There are also pictures of different areas. In each area there are:
- Trail descriptions for an easy, moderate and difficult hikes
- Trail maps for the area
- Distances for the hikes
- Latitude and longitude for each trailhead and parking area
- The reason the hike was given its difficulty rating
I often use Silky saws to clear blowdowns from trails and they work very well. Recently I have been trying out various premium axes to see how well they perform in removing some larger blowdowns. I have concentrated mostly on higher end premium axes both those made in America and those produced abroad in Sweden, Germany. Austria, New Zealand and Latvia. These axes when used properly are a good choice for felling and sectioning most large blowdowns and some smaller ones.
When I first began seriously hiking in the Catskills around 2005, I was 53 years old and was puzzled by the number of people who were walking on the trails with sticks. I soon found out that many people considered hiking poles an essential part of their gear and I began to us them on every hike. I found that the poles enhanced my stability, provided support on all types of terrain, gave me an upper body workout and prevented “sausage fingers”. Click here for a complete explanation.
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