Hunter Mountain, NY (NE115 #70)- 10/19/2016
I was originally planning to sleep in that day, but my cat woke me up at 4:00 AM, and I decided to not go back to bed and hit the road for a hike. Only question was, "Where should I go?" I ended up driving into Brattleboro, VT via route 9, with Greylock as a potential option. All of a sudden, I remembered Hunter Mountain, the other Catskill 4K (which I hadn't yet hiked). I also remembered that driving through VT to get to the Catskills cuts off about 20 miles of driving. So, off to the Catskills I went! I will say, though, that although you cut off mileage by taking the VT route, it adds a LOT of time. To add injury to insult, there was a lot of roadwork going on in both VT and NY, and I accidentally missed the turn for the trailhead and ended up driving several miles in the opposite direction before turning back, so in the end it took me SIX hours to get from my house to the Becker Hollow trailhead
. Fortunately, the incredibly scenic drive along NY route 23A made up for it a bit. Rolled in around 10:30 AM. Finagled my backpack and gear, packed up, and headed out around 10:45 AM.
The Becker Hollow Trail started out really flat and easy, crossing a brook on a footbridge early on. A short while into the hike, the grade picked up slightly, and got progressively more steep, reaching its steepest section past the 3500' sign. Despite what the guides made it out to be, I didn't find the trail all that steep or difficult. The hardest part by far was trying not to wipe out on wet leaves
. I soon topped out in a clearing where the old fire tower used to be, which I almost thought was the true summit. Roved around some, then headed toward the currently standing fire tower, which was actually the true summit. Took a little over an hour to hike from bottom to top.
It was a lot cooler at the summit, particularly at the top deck of the tower. I had done most of the hike with shorts and no shirt, so I had to put a light jacket on to climb the tower and not freeze
. Checked out the views for a while (had zero idea what I was looking at), then went back down to eat some lunch and chat with fellow hikers. Speaking of which... Before I headed down, I chatted with an older French-speaking couple on vacation and, since pretty much everyone who speaks French in this neck of the woods is from Québec, I assumed they were too. I asked what part of Québec they were from, and they said, "Uh, we're not from QC." I said, "you're not?" They replied, "No, we're from Europe." I was like, "Oops..." It was all good, though- they were cool about my flub, and they told me about how their vacation went
Eventually, I started back down the trail, watching my step because of the wet, slippery leaves that covered almost the whole trail. Made it back down safely, then packed up, hopped in the car and started the drive home, on the Mass Pike
. Got stuck in traffic on 495 and cut through Lowell and Dracut on route 38 to bypass it, and I still got home in 4 hours 45 minutes. Ended up driving 478 miles for that hike, which was 4.2 miles roundtrip with 2,250 ft. of elevation gain. All I'll say is that it's a good thing I "needed" this peak
*paging GG* I didn't go to Kaaterskill Falls for two reasons: there were literally NO parking spaces, and parking along the road was forbidden. Plus, a local on the top said that there wasn't a whole lot going on with the falls (F you, drought
The Catskill Fours are now in the books, so it's onward to the Adirondacks for the rest of the 115! What I have left to do there: everything except Marcy. Needless to say, it's gonna take me a while to finish this one. At least they're in general closer than the Catskill 4Ks. When I do finish (if I do
). I'm planning for Esther/Whiteface, with the latter being planned for #115. (Auto road to the top means my non-hiker friends and family can go.) Still a LONG way to go until then, though.
Here's the video recap: https://youtu.be/skR8yGUi0Mo