Sunday, January 6, 2019

Hiking Kaaterskill in winter

Kaaterskill High Peak

I'm working on my Catskills 3500 winter peaks, now that I've completed the regular requirements. I don't anticipate completing very fast, given that there are only three months of the year that count, and trips up there in the winter are both more expensive (can't camp) and harder to schedule (unpredictable weather). Day trips are really only feasible if you already own a car - or if you catch a ride with someone who does.

That's what I did for Saturday's hike up Kaaterskill High Peak, my ninth winter peak. My previous hike of Kaaterskill was in May, on a relatively nice day. Since KHP has some great views, we all hoped for nice weather. My second choice would have been for fluffy, fresh snow. Instead, what we got was a cold rain.

Because of the rain, we didn't follow the herd path up Hurricane Ledge. (Wet and possible icy rocks? Apparently, the wet is worse than the ice - our leader said that one of the rock climbs basically traps you in a shower.) Instead, we bushwhacked up the east face. The trickiest part is shown above, on our descent.

We had a good group of mostly cheerful hikers, which made the weather less of a tragedy. You'll notice a couple of blurry spots in the photo above. I just couldn't keep my camera lens entirely dry. Luckily, I had the right gear (except it turned out my warm mittens aren't waterproof) to stay dry enough and therefore warm.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Ringing in the New Year with a hike

My hiking club has an annual city hike on the first day of the year. Generally, these are fairly flat, but our leader this year decided to make a step street themed hike. We hiked 13 miles in the Bronx and upper Manhattan.

New year's day hike

New year's day hike

New year's day hike

New year's day hike

New year's day hike

New year's day hike

So many stairs!

I'm not sure what the elevation gain was. It was about 400 feet before lunch, but had climbed to 2700 by the end of the day. That doesn't mean the afternoon was brutal, just that a cold front was blowing in and my watch uses barometric pressure to calculate elevation.

Happy new year!

Monday, December 31, 2018

My favorite books of 2018

Well, I read too many books this year.

Although on second thought, I'm not sure I read more books than in previous years. I just didn't reread much, so I read more books for the first time. 138 of them.

In any case, here are the novels I read for the first time in 2018 that stuck with me.
  • Blackfish City by Sam J. Miller. Arctic scifi, kind of like if Autonomous and Philip Pullman got together. 
  • An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon. I'm a sucker for a generation ship, but this isn't like anything else you've read.
  • Girl Mans Up by M-E Girard. YA and not SFF, unlike most of this list. Teenager trying to figure out how to be who she is and not who those around her expect her to be.
  • The Wonder Engine and The Clockwork Boys by Ursula Vernon, writing as T. Kingfisher. Adventure! Romance! Funny things! 
  • Werecockroach by Polenth Blake. OK, obvs, werecockroaches, but specifically, werecockroaches during an alien invasion.
  • American Hippo by Sarah Gailey is a reissue of two novellas bundled together. Alternative history where hippos were brought to the U.S. and ranched.
  • The Steerwoman and its sequels by Rosemary Kirstein. Four books so far, with an unknown number to come. Reads like fantasy but is in fact sci-fi, and very much about science.
  • Criminal Intentions, Season One, 1-6 by Cole McCade. It's a TV police procedural, except in book form. Also romance. "Season One" is about half over. 

Sunday, December 30, 2018

2018 in photos






Torrey Memorial 2018


Breakneck Ridge


Van Cortlandt


Makoshika Day 4


Mt. Pierce


South Taconic Trail


Blossom hike




Hiking into camp


Table and Peekamoose

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Hiking the Staten Island Greenbelt

Not my first hike here, but always a nice change (and not what people think of when they think of "Staten Island").

Staten Island Greenbelt

Staten Island Greenbelt