Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Going Up - Hiking up to the Catskills' Huckleberry Point

I took Seamus and Fergus hiking in the Catskill Mountains on Tuesday (Sept 8) as I had the day off for the Labor Day holiday. The weather was beautiful and, since most people had their holiday on Monday, the dogs and I pretty much had the trail to ourselves.

I took a wrong turn in the town of Saugerties and saw this mountain range running parallel to the road. After turning around and finding the correct route, I realized that we were headed up into those mountains:

I signed in at the trail head and began the ascent toward Huckleberry Point. The dogs, needless to say, were thrilled and all excited:

The trail began in a hemlock forest which, as we continued hiking upward, became a mixed hardwood forest, then a red oak forest, then a pine forest and then a mixed forest filled with mountain laurels. In this photo, Fergus and Seamus are passing the roots of a big tree felled in a recent blow-down. I wouldn't have wanted to be in the woods during that storm:

The dogs got a chance early on for a drink of cool mountain water:

The mountain maples, probably the loveliest of autumn leaves, had just begun turning:

A mountain troll:

Getting silly with the dogs:

I discovered some ripe blackberries in the woods. Perhaps the high altitude and dense shade caused them to ripen so late in the season:

Almost there..................................

We came out of the woods onto a rocky ledge to behold this Catskill Mountain range directly across a deep gorge. I could only identify one peak, that being Hunter Mountain (with ski slopes on one slope and fire tower on top). Hunter Mountain is the peak on the left to the rear, with its head in the clouds. That black dot is probably a speck of dust on my lens. Nevertheless, it's just about where the fire tower is located:

A view across the valley:

The dogs and I pose for a photo. I kept both silly puppies on leashes lest their playfulness take them too close to the edge:

Yes, the gorge, called Platte Clove, really is that deep and the drop off from that jutting rock is really that far down. This is why I had the dogs on leashes there. The road ascending that clove is a wonderment in itself, but I'll talk about that in my next post:

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