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Thursday, June 12, 2014

First Hiking Day- May 23- Berry Brook Rd to Big Pond

Here we go! I'm going to try to take you through our hikes day by day. I'm actually swamped and breaking back into real life slowly. Very slowly (grump, grump).

We met the first night and planned to set up the tent and start camping. However, it was pouring with thunder and lightning. We opted for motel camping! It was nice, although expensive. It was also dry.

Aspen Motel

When we headed for the trail... well. It was a challenge. There were three 800-foot climbs and another 200-footer, just for fun. All within 9.6 miles. That's when I learned that my stamina certainly wasn't back to the proper level yet. We went over Mary Smith Hill, Middle Mountain, Beech Hill, and Cabot Mountain. I just like the way the rock curves along the edge of the trail here. This piece of trail wasn't too steep, but most of these climbs were pretty rocky and vertical.

Mary Smith Hill

The next two pictures are sights that are welcome, comfortable friends of the northeast spring woods. Wild Columbine and the red eft.

wild columbine

red eft

There were some really nice vistas to reward us for the climbs. A little hazy, but not bad.

Catskill vista

We hiked right into the place where we were camping at Big Pond. Because it was the holiday weekend there were park rangers checking on things. One of them asked us where we'd walked from. When we told him, his eyes got big and he said, "That's a pretty good hike." So even though we were really pooped, that made us feel a whole lot better. The truth is, this turned out to be the most difficult of any of our hiking days. We must have been getting in better shape as we went along, but there were no other days with so many steep and rocky places.

It was strikingly reminiscent of a day at the western end of the Finger Lakes Trail, many years ago, when we also hiked over three similar hills all in one day. I only remember the name of one of them, Jimmerson Hill. It has remained a symbolic nemesis of all wall-like obstacles that must be overcome, ever since.

We pitched our "little blue bedroom" at Big Pond, ate a cold dinner rather than drive somewhere, and crawled in our sleeping bags.

Here's a map of day one: The maps aren't going to be the same scale each day, but you can get the idea. Red line is trail hiking (not road).

Catskill map

See I'm Thinking About May for the overview map
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The Furry Gnome said...

Sounds like a good start; looking forward to all the rest. Is there a map we can follow somewhere?

Ann said...

Thankfully you got the roughest part of the hike out of the way on the first day. That's a nice view in the last picture

vanilla said...

Beautiful pictures you share here!

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