Catskill Mountains

The Catskills

The Catskills

Panther (mountain), Catskills State Park, New York. We hiked up Panther via Giant Ledges yesterday and it was a great hike. Many people don’t realize how great a hiking area The Catskills are and I have mixed feelings about saying anything about it, I’d rather keep this gem of a hiking area a secret. Let people believe it’s a run down resort area, fine by me.

Panther is a 3800 foot mountain in the Slide Mountain wilderness area of Catskills Park. We snowshoed this hike a few years ago but I’d never been back to do it in the summer. What an incredible hike with great views and great flora all along the way.

This scene is the stereotypical Catskill scene: ferns, mixed trees, and shale. I love shale and the Catskills are loaded with it. The kinds of sedimentary layering that this rock shows in larger formations like this one coupled with smaller pieces of it all over the place makes for a very different hiking environment from the metamorphic rock we find in Connecticut or the granite we find in New Hampshire or out in California.

I really love this rock, it feels old and well seasoned and slightly decrepit.

I’m delighted with how much detail the Ricoh GR recorded, for my purposes this remains my favorite hiking camera.

Beaver dam and Pecoy Notch, Catskills

Beaver Dam

My flickr contact Tyler Sparks was on the same hike we were on yesterday and we must have missed him by an hour. This is a spectacular infrared image of the beaver dam below Pecoy Notch (the col in the background) between Twin and Sugarloaf Mountains in the Catskills. The Devil’s Path hike runs across the skyline of this image.

Great Catskill hiking on The Devil’s Path

Richard and Gary on Twin, Catskills

Richard and Gary on Twin Mountain, Catskills

Devil’s Path, Catskill Mountains, New York. Gary is visiting again and we decided to do a piece of the Devil’s Path, a hike he’s never done.

Started at Roaring Kill parking area, went up the blue trail to Pecoy Notch, Climbed the west side of Twin Mountain on the Devil’s Path, then went back down to Pecoy Notch and continued on the Devil’s Path up Sugarloaf Mountain and down the other side into Mink Hollow, returning to Roaring Kill on the Mink Hollow blue trail. Great hike, strenuous, steep and rocky but we took our time and had a blast.

Next year we’d love to do the entire eastern section of the Devil’s Path in a day: Indian Head, Twin, Sugarloaf and Plateau. This would be a huge accomplishment for these two old dudes! I’ve done each of these mountains in pairs but never all at once.

On the Devil's Path, Catskills

This is the view behind us which is where we’re about to go: Down Twin to Pecoy Notch (again) and up and over Sugarloaf.

Gary in a chimney on Twin

On Sugarloaf Mountain

(Gary took the above picture of me on Sugarloaf).

The great thing about hiking in the Catskills is the shale rock makes for the most interesting formations that trails have to weave in and out of. The Devil’s Path is full of this stuff making what would ordinarily be a strenuous hike up and down a bunch of 1500 foot hills much more interesting.

Gary on the devils path

I have to say, many people think the Catskills aren’t “real” mountains and the park is just full of old, broken down “Borcht Belt” resorts. I’ve hiked and climbed in almost every national park and major mountain range in North America and I have to say the Catskills is one of my favorite places bar none. And, I hiked and climbed in the Sierras, Cascades, and Rockies long before I was introduced to Catskill hiking by my neighbor Dave McCullough. I love the odd shapes of these mountains, the shale rock, and the fact that there’s an extensive and well maintained trail system in the park. We look forward to snowshoeing up these great mountains in winter as well. Frankly, I’m sort of glad that many people go elsewhere to hike and I’ve hiked there without seeing another person all day.

Along the Pecoy Notch Trail in the Catskills

Kaaterskill High Peak from Dibble’s Quarry

Kaaterskill High Peak from Dibble’s Quarry

Along the Pecoy Notch Trail on the way to Pecoy Notch just east of Sugarloaf Mountain in the Catskills. Kaaterskill High Peak is on the skyline.

Dibble’s Quarry was mined for sidewalk slate used in New York City but over the years that it’s been part of a state park people have built a menagerie of cairns, chairs, tables, and fortresses out of the slate.

Beaver dam and pond below Pecoy Notch

Beaver dam and pond below Pecoy Notch

This beaver pond and dam sits next to the Pecoy Notch Trail. Behind the dam and pond you can see Pecoy Notch and Sugarloaf Mountain, one of the Catskills. The Devil’s Path runs along the skyline here, it’s a spectacular hike that Dave and I have done. Today we just went up to the notch using micro spikes.

This beaver pond is active and there are fresh tree stumps where the beavers have taken wood for the dam and for food.

Stream coming out of Pecoy Notch

Stream coming out of Pecoy Notch

This stream is part of the drainage from Twin and Sugarloaf Mountains and Pecoy Notch.