Saturday, September 30, 2017
"Flat" and "Harriman" aren't usually seen together, but last weekend's Ramblers hike was in fact mostly devoid of hills - aside from a long descent at the end. We started at Sloatsberg, wended our way along the western shore of Lake Sebago, and ended at Tuxedo. Along the way we encountered a nice creek, a second lake, and the Victory Trail, a trail I rather enjoyed for its wide, easy walking.
Friday, September 22, 2017
After the Catskills, we headed up to Albany - my first time there. Our first stop was the Albany Pine Bush, a preserve for an endangered ecosystem. J hoped to see some fun birds, although our chances weren't good, since we visited in the heat of the afternoon.
We did a 2.6-mile loop hike, mostly flat, at a leisurely, bird-spotting pace. As predicted, we didn't see any new birds. I did get some nice flower photos.
Also, we didn't see the Karner Blue butterfly, one of the original impetuses behind the preserve - it wasn't the right season for them. But it would be fun to visit again at another time of year.
Thursday, September 21, 2017
I have hiked Panther twice in the past, both of those hikes in winter under snowy conditions. I was curious to see what it was like in another season. Turns out it's great year-round.
It's one of the gentler slopes in the Catskills. (You're still climbing a mountain, of course.) That makes it very popular - or at least the first half of it, to Giant Ledge. Giant Ledge is a flat peak with a cliff on the eastern side, making for many fine views. The NY/NJ Trail Conference map shows three views; another hiker referred to four or five; we counted 11 ledges, plus one view that was not a ledge. The photo above shows one of the views.
Much of the traffic turns around after the Giant Ledge, and the trail heads downhill into a small col before turning up to Panther. The peak of Panther isn't as exciting as Giant Ledge, nor is it as clearly marked. (Last time I was there, the leader said, "I think this is it, not sure.") There is a small view at or near the top.
The leaves were just starting to turn on our hike. I imagine in a few weeks it will be truly spectacular. It is also quite nice in winter, but unlike some Catskills peaks, you don't need winter to have views.