I spent almost a week in the northern Catskills, recovering from the end of the year/batizado/guests/finishing the book, and it was incredibly beautiful as well as therapeutic. It was also some hard hiking.
When I arrived on Friday, it was already mid-afternoon, so I decided to take in a scenic hotspot with a decent effort:reward ratio: Kaaterskill Falls. It's a hike of just half a mile, which makes it very popular.
There is no parking at the trailhead, so you have to fight for a spot in the small parking lot and walk along the shoulder of highway 23A. Luckily, the speed limit is very low - 20 mph around the final curve. The trail starts off with Bastion Falls, pictured above. Bastion Falls is visible from the road, and it says something about the local scenery that they felt it was worth running the road past but not worth making a pull-off for tourists to gape at it from.
From there, the trail is "only" half a mile to the main event, but quite rugged and steep. Most people who aren't mobility-impaired would be able to do it, as long as they take their time. From Kaaterskill, an unofficial trail heads up to the top of the falls, but I did not take it. Kaaterskill Falls, at left, was impressive enough.
I should mention that my ambition for the trip was to knock off several Catskills 3500 peaks. There are 35, and I wanted to do as many of the peaks with trails this summer as I could. My plan for the next day was to start off with Hunter and West Kill, both of which can be accessed by going west on the Devil's Path from the campground I was staying at. I didn't count on how rugged the Catskills were actually going to be!