Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Hiking - Mt. Utsayantha and Mine Kill State Park

Today was expected to be sunny and in the mid-40s, a fine November day. So Holly and I headed off to the western Catskills, near Stamford, NY, and climbed little Mount Utsayantha. Actually, at over 3,200 feet, it's not so little in the overall Catskill scheme of things, but it's an easy 1-mile walk up a dirt road, gaining only about 700 feet from the parking area. The road would even be driveable in good conditions, but after the snow of the past day or two, we wouldn't see any people driving it today.

Near the top, there was a nice view off to the east.

Somebody is apostrophe-challenged. This drives me crazy.

It didn't take long to reach the summit, where the views from the fire tower were outstanding. The white building was once an "observatory", not the astronomical kind, but the kind that tourists would flock to in droves for the views. Stamford, 1,400 feet below us, was once quite a popular resort with many big hotels, and the summit of Utsayantha was a major local tourist attraction, now being lovingly restored. The kiosk on the summit tells the whole story.

To the south, we were trying to figure out what summits we were looking at, since we rarely see the Catskills from this angle.

The walk down took even less time, so we stopped on the way home at Mine Kill State Park. It was just too nice a day to quit that early.

Opening the trail register at the trailhead for the Long Path, we found it had an inhabitant. There was quite a nest in here, and this guy wasn't the least bit shy about posing for pictures.

Leaving the Long Path shortly, we followed the yellow trail, a portion of which in winter is the designated "expert" cross-country ski trail. We agreed that it deserved this rating, with a long twisting downhill ending at the Schoharie Reservoir. The dam in the distance maintains this reservoir as part of New York City's water supply, and also provides flood control for the communities downstream. There's also a pumped-storage power generating facility on the opposite shore.

This is a large park, with plenty of trails to explore. We'll probably be back here someday, but now it was time to head home. Darkness comes early now that daylight savings time has ended.


  1. I also loathe errant apostrophe's (!)
    But the sign could be correct if there is but one camera, operating.

  2. True enough, but I doubt that was the intent.