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What You Missed

Winter 2017-2018

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Winter 2017-2018

picture taken during a hike picture album icon map icon Frick and Hodge Ponds - Quick Lake and Flynn Trails AllTrails - Frick and Hodge Ponds - Quick Lake and Flynn Trails caltopo  icon Gmap4 - Frick and Hodge Ponds - Quick Lake and Flynn Trails MapMyHike - Frick and Hodge Ponds - Quick Lake and Flynn Trails On Monday, January 15th I had the day off for Martin Luther King Day and wanted to get in a longer hike after too many days of inactivity and hiking only on Round Top. I decided to go to Frick Pond and found that this would be the FIRST hike of the winter at someplace other than Round Top! My plan was to wait until the temperature was in the teens and then go to Frick Pond and hike the loop in a clockwise direction. At 7:00 AM it was still 8 degrees out so I delayed my departure until after 11:00 AM. After doing a few chores around the house, I began to get my gear together which made Sheila watch me very closely. Even though we had been out on Saturday, I think she had the idea that this would be a longer hike as I was getting my pack ready. When I was ready to leavethe temperature was only in the high teens but the sun was shining. As I stepped outside I found the sun was negated by the presence of a stiff breeze. I had on a full baselayer under my Columbia Omniheat pants and a heavier Patagonia wool top. I wore my Mammut hoody and Salomon Nytro insulated boots. I also waore a heavier hat and gloves and packed a pair of mitts just in case. I put my Microspikes in my pack hoping I could walk around the ice patches rather than wear them the whole time. I got my gear and Shiela in the car and headed out the DeBruce Road. After 6 miles, at Mongaup Pond Road, I turned left and continued to follow the road bearing left onto Beech Mountain Road at the fork. When we arrived in the parking area there was one other car parked in the small lot. Sheila was acting as if she hadn't hiked in a month as she ran around and headed for the trail. The temperature was 18 degrees and the constant breeze blowing made it seem colder. I got my gear ready to go and set my GPS. The skies were blue with only a few white clouds and the sun was shining brightlyas we headed out the path to the register on Quick Lake Trail at 11:40 AM. The Quick Lake Trail from the start was covered in thick ice! I should have given up immediately and put on my spikes but I stubbornly decided to walk on the side of the trail following some other foolish hikers. I made it to Gravestone Junction without too much trouble and we turned left to head down to Frick Pond. The water level in the pond was a little higher than it had been and there was a pretty solid looking sheet of ice over the whole pond. I had thought I would not stop to take pictures but I couldn't resist the blue sky and icy pond. After taking a few shots, I put the camera in the pack and we continued on the Quick Lake Trail around the pond bearing left at the next trail junction to stay on the red trail. This part of the trail was also very icy in most places and even the parts with less ice were tricky as a thin layer of snow hid the ice. It was hard to find a place to get good footing without stepping on ice or in some water or mud. We were setting a fast pace despite the slippery conditions and soon came to the "pine promenade" and the little stream through the woods. The water level in the stream was higher than it had been in some time and I had to walk upstream to cross without getting wet. I stopped to take a few pictures before we continued on the trail toward Iron Wheel Junction. I did remove a few loose sticks along the way but left a larger blowdown which would require a saw. Just before the junction there was a large branch and a pile of smaller ones on the trail. These branches had been hung up for some time and had finally come down in the strong winds. We arrived at Iron Wheel Junction at 1.6 miles.

picture taken during a hike We turned left on the Quick Lake Trail and started the long uphill climb toward Junkyard Junction. The trail continued to be icy from the heavy rains and quick freeze at the end of the week. There were signs that once again the hard rain had produced small streams that had run down the trail. We were headed for Junkyard Junction at 3.2 miles. With no one to talk to I was lost in my own thoughts as Sheila followed a few game trails. As we walked the clouds in the sky increased and the wind picked up a little. We turned right onto the blue Flynn Trail which is almost flat. It too was icy and wet in places. There were no major blowdowns but I continued to remove branches that littered the trail. When we got to the gate, we turned right to stay on the trail and head down toward Hodge Pond. At 3.75 miles the Flynn Trail heads right and I followed it toward the outlet end of Hodge Pond. I continued to be stubborn and refused to stop to put on my spikes even though there were vast expanses of ice all along the trail. The trail broke out into a field which we crossed and continued to follow the Flynn Trail toward the outlet of the pond. Just as the trail again Brooke out into the open field at the lower end of the pond, I noticed that the trees were covered in ice. The sunlight sparkled off the trees and I knew I needed some pictures. We walked through the clearing at the outlet end of the pond almost to the shore where I dropped my pack and got out my camera. I took shots of the pond with the blue skies an d clouds. Many of the trees around the pond were covered in ice and I tried to capture their beauty. Before packing up, I got out a bar and put it in an inner pocket to soften. I packied up walked back to the Flynn Trail to the point where it re-enters the woods. The snow always drifts here and I could see several drifts. When I got to them, I was surprised since they were as hard as a rock. As we entered the woods, I looked back and saw the trees encased in ice and the blue pond. I couldn't resist a few more pictures. We started the climb up the hill and I was feeling quite fresh and concentrated on using my poles to help set a quick pace up the hill. At the top of the hill we stayed to the right to continue on the Flynn Trail. A left turn follows a woods road out to what remains of the Beech Mountain Boy Scout Camp. The Flynn Trail is relatively flat to the junction with the Big Rock Trail at 4.5 miles and there was less ice on this section. We continued straight through the junction with the Big Rock Trail to follow the Flynn Trail back to the car. I expected the walk back downhill to go quickly and that there would be less ice to contend with on this section of trail. I was wrong! In several places, the water had overflowed the "ditch" at the side of the trail or the watercourse was blocked by ice. The water found its way onto the trail and there were large sections that showed erosion. The water had frozen into large sheets of ice making the descent interesting. We walked as quickly as I could with Sheila leading the way. Sheila has built-in crampons and a nice warm coat. I was worried about her paws in the low temperatures but she did not seem bothered at all. As we approached the gate on the woods road, we turned left to avoid the private property around the cabin and to stay on the trail. This trail had also acted as a streambed during the heavy rains and was covered in ice for the first half. We finished our walk and were back at the car by 2:30 PM. We had covered 6.4 miles in 2 hours and 50 minutes with an elevation gain of 950 feet. It still seemed cold as the temperature was only 19 degrees with some wind.

map icon Round Top Lower Trail AllTrails - Round Top Lower Trail caltopo  icon Gmap4 - Round Top Lower Trail MapMyHike - Round Top Lower Trail On Saturday, January 13th I knew I had to get out after almost a week of ridiculous weather. The beginning of the week had been cold but by Friday the temperature was 58 degrees! The temperature dropped 40 degrees overnight and everything turned to ice with a coating of snow to make the sidewalk and roads even slipperier. I knew I couldn't go too far from home as the roads were still icy even at noon. I was still getting over a cold and did not want to overexert myself. Around 1:00 PM the temperature was in the low 20's and I asked Cindy if she wanted to go across the street to hike on Round Top. She agreed and we started to get ready. I decided on tights underneath my Columbia Omniheat pants and a heavier Patagonia wool top with a baselayer. Sheila seemed to agree that hiking was a good idea as she kept "hinting" that she wanted to go outside. I wore my Mammut Ultimate hoody and a pair of Salomon Nytro boots. Cindy decided to wear her Microspikes but I stubbornly went with bare boots. Sheila was happy to finally be outside as I put her on her leash to walk across the street at 1:35 PM. We walked through the field next to the church and walked up the steep but short cemetery hill with Sheila giving me a little help as she pulled me up the hill. The wind made it seem much colder than it was. We turned left and entered the trail where I released Sheila from her leash. I immediately noticed that it seemed much warmer out of the wind. At the first trail junction Sheila continued straight ahead up the steeper slope to the lookout and I followed her. At the lookout I caught a quick glimpse of town and everything looked a little bleak. We followed the lower yellow trail as it started toward Round Top. At the trail junction we continued straight ahead on the upper blue trail which goes over the summit of Round Top. I had to walk on the side of the trail since the part of the trail that was packed was now icy. Cindy had no problem as she had worn spikes. We walked over the summit and down the other side with me descending carefully on the icy trail. At the bottom of the hill we continued straight ahead on the lower yellow trail as it followed a woods road back to the first trail junction. We turned around and started back up the woods road following the yellow trail until we were at the junction with the upper blue trail. We continued straight ahead and over the summit of Round Top. The descent down the ether side was the most difficult part of the hike as the trail is steeper and negotiating the icy spots was more tricky. At the junction with the yellow trail we continued straight ahead and walked down to the lookout. We continued to follow the yellow trail and turned left at the lookout to walk down to the first trail junction. Cindy was ready to go home but Sheila and I wanted to stay out a little longer. As Cindy headed off to the trailhead, Sheila and I turned around and walked back up to the lookout and followed the yellow trail to the next junction. This time we turned to the right to follow the lower trail along the base of Round Top. At the next junction we turned right again and followed the lower trail back to the first junction. Once again we turned around and reversed the lower loop until we were once again deciding from the lookout to the first trail junction. This time we continued straight ahead and walked out to the trailhead. We walked down the cemetery hill with the sun shining brightly and the wind blowing. At the base of the hill I put Sheila on her leash and we walked back across the field next to the church to our driveway. We arrived back at the house just before 3:00 PM having spent 1 hour and 25 minutes walking a little less than 3 miles.

map icon Round Top Figure 8s AllTrails - Round Top Figure 8s caltopo  icon Gmap4 - Round Top Figure 8s MapMyHike - Round Top Figure 8s On Monday, January 8th I planned to finally get out on my first hike of 2018. It had been more than a week without a hike but with good reason. I had a cold AND the wind chill temperatures had been well below zero for many days in a row. In addition, Our ambulance corps had been responding to quite a few calls. Even though I had track practice in the afternoon, I planned to go to Frick Pond and get in a 6 mile hike since the temperature was in the high teens and climbing. I made my plans the night before and went to sleep thinking about hiking until phone call woke me up at 6:00 AM. Despite my plans I was needed as a substitute for the middle school nurse for two days! Its not what I wanted to do and I knew Sheila would be wondering why we weren't going out wanted to get out but there are very few people who can substitute for the nurse. I wasn't happy as I got dressed and headed off to school. The day went pretty quickly and some light snow began to fall after noon. An announcement was made indicating after school activities were canceled which I knew meant I could go home early. I began to think that I could get a quick hike in on Round Top before dark! I drove home arriving at about 3:30 PM and asked Cindy if she wanted to go. She has also had a cold but decided she wanted to get out in the "Warm" weather. As I got dressed I decided to forego a baselayer and to wear a lighter Mammut crew neck shirt under my Mammut Ultimate hoody. I wore a hat and a pair of gloves. I donned my Salomon Nytro boots but left the gaiters at home. Cindy and I decided that it had not snowed enough to wear snowshoes but that MicroSpikes would be a good idea. Sheila would not leave my side as I was getting ready as she wanted to make sure she was going too! We stepped out onto the back porch, put on our spikes and headed out the slippery driveway at 3:45 AM. The temperature was 23 degrees as we crossed the street with Sheila on her leash and walked to the back of the church. We began the ascent of the steepest hill behind the church. The hill is short but really gets the circulation pumping and is the steepest and longest climb on the "trail". Sheila helped me along by pulling me up the hill. When we got to the top of the hill, we started out on the trail by turning left at the trailhead. As soon as we entered the trees I released Sheila from her leash. At the first trail junction we continued straight ahead to walk the steeper path to the viewpoint. At the lookout we turned to the right and we continued our hike on the yellow lower trail.

We followed the trail and started the gentle climb through the woods which had four or five inches of new and unbroken snow. When we reached the next trail junction, we stayed to the right to follow the lower trail around the base of Round Top to the next junction. At this junction we turned left and started up to the summit of Round Top on the steeper blue trail. The spikes definitely made the going easier although they are better suited for ice or firmly packed snow. We walked across the summit of Round Top and down the other side which is also a little steep. Again, the spikes helped in the descent but I was still able to get a little glide. When we got to the yellow trail, we turned left to follow it to the second trail junction. This time we turned right and followed the yellow trail back to the very first trail junction to complete a figure 8. At the trail junction Cindy decided to go home as the cool air was bothering her cold. Sheila and I turned around and retraced our steps taking the more gentle path this time. When the yellow trail turned left, we followed it to the next trail junction were we turned right and headed up the blue trail to the summit. We walked over the top and down the other side to the yellow trail again. It was beginning to get very dark as we turned right and followed the trail along the base of Round Top. Where the yellow trail turned left, we continued to follow the trail to the left and down to the lookout. From the lookout we walked down hill to the first trail junction. We continued straight out to the trailhead. I was a little depressed to think that the 40+ degree weather later in the week would eliminate all the beautiful snow! Sheila did not seem to be bothered by the cold at all and had been well-behaved staying with me most of the time. At the trailhead, I put Sheila on her leash and we walked down the cemetery hill and across the field to our driveway. It was after 5:00 PM and we had hiked a little under 2 miles in 1 hour and 15 minutes. It must have been a good workout as I was tired after so many days without an activity.

map icon Round Top Lower Trail AllTrails - Round Top Lower Trail caltopo  icon Gmap4 - Round Top Lower Trail MapMyHike - Round Top Lower Trail On Friday, December 29th the temperature when I got up at 6:30 AM was 4 degrees with a breeze making the wind-chill well below zero. This had been true for several days in a row and I was tired of staying inside. Sheila seemed to agree with me as she kept "hinting" that she wanted to go outside. I decided to wait a little hoping that the temperature might rise. By 11:30 the temperature did rise to about 10 degrees! I would take Sheila and go across the street to hike on Round Top. I am getting bored hiking there but it gave us the best opportunity to hike close to home and to come home if it was too cold. I put on a full baselayer under my Columbia Omniheat pants and a heavier Patagonia wool top. I wore my Mammut Ultimate hoody and a pair of Salomon Nytro boots with Microspikes. Sheila was happy to finally et outside as I put her on her leash to walk across the street at 11:50 AM. We walked through the field next to the church and walked up the steep but short cemetery hill with Sheila giving me a little help as she pulled me up the hill. We turned left and entered the trail where I released Sheila from her leash. At the first trail junction Sheila turned right to head up the more gentle slope and I followed her. Where the trail split at the next junction I followed Sheila as she went straight up the hill on the blue trail toward the summit of Round Top. I was surprised that I was not very cold and was actually starting to sweat as we climbed the short but steep hill to the summit. We crossed over the top and started down the other side. I was glad I had on the Microspikes as it was steep and slippery as this side is out of the sun. I also noticed a slight breeze was making my exposed face cold. As I inhaled, I noticed that the air was very cold as my chest was cool. At the trail junction we continued straight ahead on the yellow trail toward the viewpoint. At the viewpoint we turned left and walked down the hill back to the first trail junction. We immediately turned around and started back up the hill. Sheila was very eager and bounded ahead of me. This time we repeated the big loop we had just done but in reverse. As always we needed up back at the first trail junction. We again turned around and walked back up the more gentle slope toward the junction with the upper blue trail. At this junction we turned left on the lower yellow trail to execute a small loop. We continued to follow the yellow trail along the base of Round Top and down to the viewpoint. After turning left and walking downhill, we were back at the first trail junction. We turned around for one last time and walked a small loop in reverse. This time when we arrived at the first trail junction, we turned left and walked out to the trailhead. We walked down the cemetery hill with the sun shining brightly. At the base of the hill I put Sheila on her leash and we walked back across the field next to the church to our driveway. We arrived back at the house at 1:10 PM having spent 1 hour and 20 minutes walking a little less than 3 miles.

picture taken during a hike picture album icon map icon Round Top Figure 8s AllTrails - Round Top Figure 8s caltopo  icon Gmap4 - Round Top Figure 8s MapMyHike - Round Top Figure 8s On Tuesday, December 26th I wanted to get out to hike vu the temperature was 14 degrees at 11:00 AM with a breeze blowing dropping the wind-chill to the single digits. I didn't know how Sheila would fare so I decided to go across the street to hike on Round Top. I knew we could get there and back quickly and could lengthen or shorten our hike easily. Cindy decided she would go along despite the cold so we started to get dressed. I put on a baselayer and decided to wear a heavier Patagonia wool top underneath my Mammut Ultimate hoody. I also took a heavier hat and wore a pair of warm mitts. I donned my Salomon Nytro boots and wore high gaiters. Cindy and i decided that it had not snowed enough to wear snowshoes but that MicroSPikes would be a good idea. Sheila would not leave my side as I was getting ready as she wanted to make sure she was going too!. I decided to take my pack along as a way to carry my camera. We stepped out onto the back porch, put on our spikes and headed out the slippery driveway at 11:15 AM. We crossed the street with Sheila on her leash and walked to the back of the church. We began the ascent of the steepest hill behind the church. The hill is short but really gets the circulation pumping and is the steepest and longest climb on the "trail". Sheila helped me along by pulling me up the hill. When we got to the top of the hill, I paused to take a few pictures of the town covered in snow. We started out on the trail by turning left at the trailhead. As soon as we entered the trees I released Sheila from her leash. At the first trail junction we continued straight ahead to walk the steeper path to the viewpoint. At the lookout I turned to the left on the spur trail and walked out to the lower viewpoint that has the best view of the school. I took several pictures including a couple of Cindy and Sheila on the upper lookout. I walked up to the upper lookout and we continued our hike on the yellow lower trail.

picture taken during a hike We followed the trail and started the gentle climb through the woods which had two or three inches of new and unbroken snow. When we reached the next trail junction, we stayed to the right to follow the lower trail around the base of Round Top to the next junction. At this junction we turned left and started up to the summit of Round Top on the steeper blue trail. The spikes definitely made the going easier although they are better suited for ice or firmly packed snow. We walked across the summit of Round Top and down the other side which is also a little steep. Again, the spikes helped in the descent which had been very icy on my previous trip. When we got to the yellow trail, we turned left to follow it to the second trail junction. This time we turned right and followed the yellow trail back to the very first trail junction to complete a figure 8. At the trail junction we turned around and retraced our steps taking the more gentle path this time. When the yellow trail turned left, we followed it to the next trail junction were we turned right and headed up the blue trail to the summit. We walked over the top and down the other side to the yellow trail again. We turned right and followed the trail along the base of Round Top. Where the yellow trail turned left, I stopped to take a few shots of the trails in all directions. We continued to follow the trail to the left and down to the lookout. From the lookout we walked down hill to the first trail junction. Cindy was tired at this point and I was a little bored so we continued straight out to the trailhead. Sheila did not seem to be bothered by the cold at all and had been well-behaved staying with me most of the time. At the trailhead, I put Sheila on her leash and we walked down the cemetery hill and across the field to our driveway. It was 12:30 PM and we had hiked a little over 2 miles in 1 hour and 15 minutes. It must have been a good workout as I was tired.

map icon Round Top Figure 8s AllTrails - Round Top Figure 8s caltopo  icon Gmap4 - Round Top Figure 8s MapMyHike - Round Top Figure 8s On Sunday, December 24th I knew I needed to get out after several days of substituting for the school nurse and some horrendous weather. In addition, the forecast for the coming week included snow and then temperatures with highs in the teens! After returning from church, Cindy decided to meet some of her family for lunch so I decided to simply head across the street to Round Top and do some figure 8's just for the exercise. This would be the first hike of the winter season and also a hike on Christmas Eve day. When we started down the driveway at 1:10 PM the temperature was in the high 30's which almost seemed warm. I did not put on a baselayer top or bottom but did take a hat and a pair of light gloves. Sheila was so happy to get out she kept winning and barking at me as I put her on her leash to walk down the driveway and across the street. We crossed the street with Sheila on her leash and walked to the back of the church. We began the ascent of the steepest hill behind the church. The hill is short but really gets the circulation pumping and is the steepest and longest climb on the "trail". Sheila helped me along by pulling me up the hill. When we got to the top of the hill, we started out on the trail by turning left at the trailhead. As soon as we entered the trees I released Sheila from her leash. At the first trail junction Sheila turned right so i followed her to start up the more gradual side of the hill. At the next junction Sheila continued straight ahead on the blue trail to the top of the hill so I again followed her toward the summit. I was surprised that there was still some snow on the trail. We had rain for most of Saturday but the temperatures were just above freezing so some of the snow did not melt. we walked over the top of the hill which did not have much shoe and then down the other side. The descent is the steepest on the trail and it was covered in snow and was a little tricky to negotiate. I was disappointed to find many ATV tracks criss-crossing the hiking trail. People developed the habit of going wherever they want without permission and breaking that bad habit may be almost impossible. At the next trail junction at the bottom of the hill we continued straight ahead on the yellow trail to walk down to the lookout. There was a good view of town but I had seen it before and did not linger. We continued down the hill to the first trail junction. Wee immediately turned around and walked back up the hill to walk the same route but in reverse. Climbing the steeper section of the trail seemed easier than descending it. Once we were again at the first trail junction we turned around and started back up the more gentle slope. This time we did a figure 8 by turning left at the next trail junctions and taking the lower yellow trail along the base of Round Top. At the next junction we trend right and took the blue trail up to the top and back down to the yellow trail. We turned right and followed the yellow trail back to the viewpoint and back down to the first trail junction. When we reached the starting point, we turned around and did another Figure 8 by reversing the route we had just completed. When we finally were back at the first trail junction we turned left and walked back out to the trailhead. I put Sheila on her leash as we turned right and walk back down to the church and across the field to our driveway. We were back at the house at 2:45 PM after hiking 3.1 miles in 1.5 hours with a vertical gain of 1080 feet.