Southern Catskills

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Another year, another fall, and as September was passing us by I was beginning to think our fourth annual hiking trip wasn’t going to happen. Eventually David was able to tear himself away from the ‘computer to plate’ implementation at the paper. After driving all day he rolled into my driveway at 10pm on 9/19.

On Thursday we drove to Middletown to get provisions and to go to Alto Music. We ate at Johnny Rocket’s in the mall, and then headed over to Gander Mountain. It’s not the best place to get hiking gear, but they do have freeze-dried food and some other essentials.

Next stop, Alto Music — this is a very cool music store. It is very big; they have a lot of good brands; and in general there is a lot to look at. It is the sort of place that is dangerous for my bank account. About a year earlier with the help of my “Uncle Kenny” I bought a new amp there. A Mesa Boogie Stiletto Deuce head and a 2×12 Roadster cabinet. I’ve been using the rig to jam with some guys for the past year or so, and I absolutely love it.

Of course, we were working in David time and so we spent more time in Middletown than I intended, which wouldn’t have been a big deal, but I told Ali we’d cook dinner. She had to work late in Sidney, and so I thought it would be nice to take care of dinner (something I rarely do). The meal was simple just tacos (with Turkey meat), refried beans, and rice. With a little luck and a lead foot, we made it back with just enough time to have things well in hand by the time Ali walked in the door. She helped chop and dice the taco toppings and a few minutes later we were seated to eat.

David and I spent the evening deciding were to hike. We needed a loop for this trip because Ali wasn’t going to be able to pick us up. We thought we had a good route down the Finger Lakes trail, but upon closer inspection it turned out a lot of the trail relied on roads, and so we opted not to do it. Eventually, we found a loop in the Southern Catskills that worked out to about 25 miles with relatively small elevation changes.

After messing around most of Friday, we set out for the trail around 3:30 in the afternoon. We arrived at the trail head just before 5. We had an easy hour and 45 minute hike to the lean-to. I tried using my Crocks for this leg of the trip, but started getting blisters on the pads of my feet. They tend to slip around on my feet, but I think the additional weight from my pack (about 40lbs) was the real catalyst. The lean-to was near several hunting clubs, and they appeared to have stocked it with chopped wood. We built a fire, and though it took some effort to keep it going as everything was wet, it was definitely nice to have on the chilly night.

The next morning around 7:45 we were still sleeping, but I heard some rustling behind the lean-to that woke me up. As I was getting ready to see what it was this older man came around the side of the lean-to and scared the crap out of me. After a short conversation with asinine man, we were back asleep and didn’t stir again until some time around 10. This would normally be unusual for me, but with the short easy hike in we weren’t that tired, and we ended up staying up until after 2am.

The hike was mostly uneventful, but nice. With the exception of the last day it was real easy going, the elevation changes were nothing like we experience the year before. The worst part was the very end on Sunday when we hiked out — we had a two mile hike down a dirt road to get back to the car that was mostly uphill.

David stayed until Tuesday morning, which gave us Monday to lounge around and hang out. Post-hike hangout time is not something we’ve had until this year. It is really nice knowing when you come out you’ll still have a little time together.

As always we had a blast together — I can’t wait until next time.

Will, we missed you.

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