Smoking and Staggering Up Balsam Mountain

“You don’t have spikes?” The middle-aged man had planted himself in the center of the trail, hands clenched around his hiking poles at stomach level like he was really excited to be asking Morgan this. “Nah…” Morgan was not wearing spikes, the hiking boot attachment that gives one traction in the snow, and in fact…

Dodging Trespassing Signs to Poet’s Ledge

The trailhead to Poet’s Ledge is easier to find than you might think — just follow the highest concentration of barriers unfriendly residents have erected to make it hard to find. My friend Megan (of Nerding Out at the New York Ren Faire fame) and I drove up Route 23A in Greene County to Palenville…

Climbing Twin Mountain in the Catskills

Twin Mountain, one of the Catskills’ 35 peaks over 3500 feet, squats between Indian Head Mountain and Sugarloaf Mountain down a road closed during the winter months. Thankfully, it was August, so I did not have to walk an additional five miles to access the trailhead off Dale Lane. It was to be a solitary…

North-South-Lake

North Point: The Catskills in the Quiet Months

The North-South Lake area in the eastern Catskills is packed with gawkers in the summer months. The road leading to Kaaterskill Falls, the jewel of the area (and by ‘jewel,’ I mean ‘most easily accessible’) is crammed with pedestrians giving motorists heart attacks as they wander along the twisting mountain lane from their cars to…

shawangunks-bonticou

Hiking Bonticou Crag in the Winter

As soon as I exited my car by the Spring Farm Trailhead in Mohonk Preserve, I grabbed the back of my car and began slowly lowering my body towards it while keeping my feet flat to stretch out my calves. I was finally able to touch my forehead to the trunk a few times, and…