Friday, October 24, 2014

Hiking the Burroughs Range

TrailThree Catskills 3500 peaks in one hike - how very efficient! And how daunting!

Because this hike was with the Catskills 3500 Club, and there were multiple cars, it was a shuttle. We began hiking at one end of the Burroughs range and finished at the other, doing nearly ten miles in the process. There were okay views from Slide and Cornell, and an excellent view at the top of Wittenberg. Along the way, of course, were plenty of rocks, but the trail was still easier than the Devil’s Path, where the peaks I did this summer are located.
As you can see, the leaves were at their peak at lower elevations. We started in mixed forest, mostly beech and maple. Higher up, it became mostly beech, and then there was a thin layer of birch. All along there had been occasional balsam stands, but at the highest elevations, they dominated.

RocksPlenty of rocks kept the terrain interesting. The fallen leaves on top of rock terrain meant keeping a close eye on one's footing, but that's an inevitable part of fall hiking. Unfortunately, the day was mostly gray, and we had a short bout of rain midway through. It wasn't enough to make us miserable, but it was enough that the views we had were not as spectacular as, I am told they can be. The photo below shows the view from Witternberg, with clouds hanging above the fall colors.

Top of WittenbergWe encountered many other hikers and backpackers on the trail, including a few that were not prepared for what they were doing. One hiker had firewood strapped to her backpack; I really hope she was just carrying extra weight for training purposes, because otherwise it was a real coals-to-Newcastle situation. Then there was the group that had made it a mile from the parking lot before setting up camp in exhaustion, unable to make it the three or so miles to the shelter. They were carrying heavy equipment in duffle bags. Okay, people, I'm not saying you need to buy the latest, most expensive equipment at REI, but ... maybe next time try hauling your equipage around the block first?

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