Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Hiking - A "Winter Peak" in the Catskills

What better way to spend a 70-degree mid-March day than bagging a Catskill 3500 peak in official winter? Holly wanted to do one just to say she did it, and to add to her 5 others, and today seemed like the perfect opportunity.

We (I?) settled on Rusk Mountain, a short (steep!) bushwhack on a south-facing slope that was almost guaranteed to be free of the minuscule snow we've received this winter. After leaving the parking area, we followed an old road for a little over a half-mile, and then set off through the woods with compass and GPS.

It was a gorgeous blue-sky day with a light breeze and temps in the 60s as we climbed.

We were a little surprised to see the first spring beauties already beginning to bloom. We don't often see these in the mountains until well into April and early May. There were also a couple of hepatica blooming on our route, though that picture didn't come out very well.

We found these bright red fungi near a fallen log. The color was stunning in contrast with the brownness of everything else in sight.

After some steep climbing and negotiating some small cliffs near the summit, we found the canister and had lunch. There are no views from this summit, so we dawdled a bit and then headed back down. Here's Holly with her 6th winter Catskill peak.

Heading down, we took a slightly different route to avoid the cliffs we'd found on the way up. That worked fairly well, but the going was still slow and steep all the way back to the old road we'd left earlier. All told, we'd only covered about 3.3 miles, but climbed about 1,600 feet, so we were glad to see the car.

We stopped at the Prattsville Diner for an early dinner on the way home. Even though we'd seen all the pictures of the Irene/Lee storm damage, seeing it up close had a much stronger impact. This area, and many others in the Schoharie Valley, will be struggling to recover for years to come.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing excellent informations. Your website is so cool. I’m impressed by the details that you have on this blog. It reveals how nicely you perceive this subject. Bookmarked this website page, will come back for extra articles.