Backpacking Catskills Style
Another year, another backpacking trip; sans Will, David and I started at the Middle Mountain trail head on the Western side of the Catskills. In the past when picking trips we have purely looked at distance and time as the active variables. We learned this year that we should add a third variable — difficulty. This year’s trek was by far the most challenging we have undertaken. We did almost 30 miles with 6600 feet of ascents spread across 4 days (2 full and 2 partial).
The first day on the trail we discovered a plant known as the stinging nettle. These are quite distracting when doing a technically challenging ascent and the trail is littered with the things. Of course, we had no idea what this wicked plant was until we ran into a Park Ranger on patrol. Aside from her, we only met 5 other people during our trek, and none of them were through hiking. The group of 5 had a base camp and were doing day hikes up various peaks in the area.
On the second day at Alder Lake we came across this old dilapidated house that sat just above the lake. It must have been very impressive in its time. I would have loved to go in and look around, but it was in such bad shape there is no way I would have risked it.
The last two nights our stopping points happened to coincide with lean-tos and it was very fortunate for us, as there were wicked rain storms both of those nights. This was the first time we stayed in a lean-to; David usually sleeps in his tent and me in my hammock. The up side was that we had very little setup, this was good as we were ungodly tired. The down side was that it was nowhere near as comfortable as my hammock.
On the third day we came across a fire tower at the summit of one of the peaks. It was so windy; we found it almost impossible to hold on as we tried to climb the stairs to the top. David made it about 2 tiers higher than me, but we both abandoned the attempt before making it all the way up. It was so cloudy that day we wouldn’t have been able to see anything anyway.
The last day contained the section with the most views, but it was so cloudy we didn’t really get to see anything.
It proved to be a great trip despite the weather and the difficulty of the terrain. I’m looking forward to next year where ever it may take us.
View the photo album for this entry.