Monday, January 26, 2015

Hiking Doubletop from Frost Valley

Briefly flat

I wasn't supposed to be hiking Doubletop, the highest of the trail-less peaks in the Catskills, on Saturday. But when my original hike got cancelled, I needed something to do the first day of the Catskills 3500 Club Winter Weekend. Doubletop is not a required winter peak, but I had to do it sooner or later.

As a trail-less peak, Doubletop is a bushwhack. There are definite advantages to doing it in winter - less underbrush, for one - but in winter it automatically means snowshoes. I hadn't used them in mumblety-um years, although it's not a complicated skill. The hardest part is leading the group and having to break trail. There was no chance of me experiencing that particular hardship; my speed put me in the back half.

OK, full honesty: This hike was hard. I felt like dying for the first 20 minutes. Then again, I hate the first 15 minutes of every hike. Fortunately, we slowed the pace down a little after that. Still, I found it rough going. Snowshoes mean a lot of work for the calves and feet, and mine felt it.

On the way up, we passed by the wreckage of an old plane crash, probably the biggest landmark of the day. Any viewpoints were tempered by the gray skills that limited visibility. On the way down, the sky cleared up a bit, and we could see the surrounding mountains through the trees. By the time we reached the cars, the sky was almost blue. At 7.2 miles round-trip, peak #8 was done.

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