Sunday, February 25, 2018

Kaaterskill Falls Winter Rain Hike

Catskill Forest Preserve,
Greene Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Kaaterskill Falls Trail: Yellow blaze

Total Time: 0:55 hour
Estimated Distance: 1.4 Miles

Pros: Highly scenic waterfall
Cons: Very muddy conditions

I had a show in Albany, and had been there for much of the day. It had been raining all weekend, with a particularly stormy morning of heavy, steady rain. On my return back from Albany, the rains finally lifted, although it was still cloudy and damp. I decided to visit Kaaterskill Falls, the highest in New York (when the upper and lower falls are combined), which was somewhat on the way, requiring only a small detour. I figured that with all the rains, the falls would be very impressive.

Due to the previous weeks warmth, there was no snow in the area, which is very unusual for this area and elevation during the winter. The falls were strong as expected, and I was surprised to have seen the construction of a new trail to the top of the falls. I parked at the parking area a small way up from the falls, and walked along the side of the wall to the trailhead, which starts at the shorter but still impressive Sheldon Falls. I went up the trail to the falls, taking the trail up the area between the first and second falls. The terrain was very muddy and difficult, with occasional slippery ice mixed with mud. I then turned around and took the same route back.

Map of the Route

Kaaterskill Falls Plaque at the Parking Area

South Mountain Shrouded in the Clouds and Fog

A Roaring Sheldon Falls, Seen at the Road Crossing

Another View of Sheldon Falls

Kaaterskill Falls Trailhead

Newly Constructed Steps at an Eroded Area

Kaaterskill Falls, Top and Bottom Falls

Another View of the Falls

Wider Frame View of Kaaterskill Falls

Steps to the Upper Falls Area

Steps on the Trail with the Falls in the Background

Trail Between the Upper and Lower Falls

Upper Falls, with Ice Build-Up

Amphitheater of the Upper Falls 

Me at Sheldon Falls

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Lake Askoti/Skanatati Sunset Hike

Harriman State Park,
Orange Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Arden-Surebridge Trail: Red blaze
Red Cross Trail: Red blaze

Total Time: 1:00 hour
Estimated Distance: 1.5 Miles

Pros: Scenic lakes
Cons: Road walking on the end

Hiking Partners:
Shimmy Rosenberg
Mordy Rosenberg

I was not feeling well, and was disappointed about not getting out earlier in the day. Despite the way I felt, I needed to get out and go hiking, which in the end made me feel much better. It had just snowed about 8 inches the previous day, but the weather had quickly warmed up and melted much of the snow. However, there was still plenty of snow remaining in Harriman, where we ended up hiking about an hour prior to sunset until sunset.

We parked at the Lake Skanatati Parking area, and took the Arden-Surebridge Trail up the eastern flank of Pine Swamp Mountain, trudging through the snow, and then went down the Red Cross Trail, crossing 7 Lakes Drive and visiting the rocky and scenic peninsula at the northern end of Lake Askoti. We then turned around back to 7 Lakes Drive, and walked along 7 Lakes Drive southward back towards the parking area.

Map of the Route

Lake Skanatati About an Hour to Sunset

Start of the Arden-Surebridge Trail, with Mordy and Shimmy Crossing a Brook

Lake Skanatati Winter View

Another View of Lake Skanatati

Mordy at the Beginning of the Arden-Surebridge Trail

Shimmy Ascending Pine Swamp Mountain

Mordy Climbing a Sideways Tree

Mordy Doing Excercise Along the Trail

Me and Mordy on 7 Lakes Drive
Me on the Lake Askoti Peninsula

Me and Mordy Looking at Lake Askoti

Lake Askoti from the Northern Flank

Me at Lake Askoti

Snall Island on Lake Skanatati

Looking at the Rock that Juts into Lake Askoti

Shimmy and Mordy at Lake Askoti

7 Lakes Drive

Sunset at Lake Skanatati

Another Sunset View at Lake Skanatati

Posing in Front of Lake Skanatati

Me at Lake Skanatati Sunset

Lake Skanatati Sunset

Lake Skanatati Sunset from Parking Area

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Mt. Bigelow, Coronado National Forest

Santa Catalina Mountains,
Pima Co.,

Hiking Trails:
Mt. Bigelow Trail
Kellogg Trail
Butterfly Trail

Total Time: 1:00 hour
Estimated Distance: 2.1 Miles

Pros: Amazing drive to trailhead, great views and nice forest
Cons: Towers on top take away from the natural setting

I was in Tucson, Arizona, and decided to take a hike near Mount Lemmon high in the Santa Catalina Mountains. I had been to the Catalina Highway many years ago, and wanted to make a return trip with a hike in the area. (I think the Catalina Highway is one of the most scenic roads in the country.) Since I was busy with work, I could not do a long hike, so this was the perfect size for something short, yet with a good climb, and including a drive up Catalina Highway.

I parked at the Mt. Bigelow trailhead, and took the trail up to the Kellogg Trail, and then to the summit. The climb is about 600 feet in elevation gain to the summit by the towers. There are great views as you ascend, and the area is nicely forested with pine. At the summit I used a shortcut trail to cut down around the loop and back to the junction with the Butterfly Trail, and took the Butterfly Trail down a short distance past the norther ridge to the area where there was still some snow. I then turned around and took the Bigelow Trail back down to the parking area.

Map of the Route

Plaque About the Forest at the Trailhead 
Pine Trees at the Beginning of the Hike

Interesting Rock Formation

Pine Forest

Butterfly Trail Marker

Mt. Lemmon Summit from Mt. Bigelow

Nice View Facing North

View of the Desert Blue

Trail Marker at the Mt. Bigelow Summit

Me at the Trail Marker at Bigelow Summit 

Butterfly Trail Descending the Northern Slope of Bigelow Mountain

Forested Area and Desert. Note the Snow on the Trail in the Distance

Panning East from the Bigelow View

View from Mt. Bigelow, Facing Southeast

View from Mt. Bigelow, Facing South

Forested Area Below Bigelow Summit, Facing South

Zoomed South Towards Thimble Peak

Forest Below Mount Bigelow

Desert on the Northern Flank of the Catalinas

Snow on the Butterfly Trail

Northern Flank of Bigelow Mountain 

Me on the Snowy Bigelow Trail, in Short Sleeves

Mt. Bigelow Summit and Towers in the Distance