A balmy 26F at 8am with the sun rising through a jumble of clouds cluttering the baby blue sky. Thick patches of ice under last night’s light snow flurry. A high of 30F.
Back to the gloom. Steady overnight rain continues into the morning, making the going icy at dawn, and continues all day until mid-afternoon when it transforms, as if by magic, into fluffy snow. Overcast, humid and a high of 48F.
After almost a week of gloom, the sun appears and lights up the sky to a dazzling, brilliant azure blue, a consolation for the laziest, slow rise in temperature: still a bone-chilling 12F. By afternoon, a haze had crept overhead like tight muslin, dampening the sun to a enigmatic glow. A breathtaking day.
-6F (-21C) at dawn rising to 2F (-17C) with a wind chill of -15F (-26C). Overcast with some brief sun mid-afternoon and high winds. Compacted snow and ice on roads. An arctic chill.
Overnight blustery winds deposit a foot or two of wet snow by morning. Temperatures warm up to 30F. A brief glimpse of the sun mid-afternoon and a plunge into low temperatures early evening.
A dark day with freshly powdered peaks moping under a grey shroud of gloom and a high of 28F. Steady, light snow moves in late afternoon. An ice storm cometh.
A little warmer with a high of 32F and humid with low-hanging cloud rolling over like grey smoke issuing light snow flurries.
Brisk and bright with a gauzy sky and a high of 28F.
Overlook Mountain was one of the first hikes written about back in 2015 here on Upstate Dispatch, the second hike taken with Jeff Vincent of Catskill Mountain Wild. It’s a gateway hike for novices and visitors, because it’s relatively short, with extra bonus features, a fire tower, and magnificent panoramic views of the Hudson Valley and Eastern Catskill Mountains, the sort of hike that inspires us all to want to hike more of these mountains.
The Fire Towers, built for early detection of forest fires, are a destination in themselves. The cabs at the top of the fire towers are closed on weekdays and in winter when they’re unmanned, but you can still climb the stairs almost all the way to the top if you’re not worried by the wooden floorboards that creak sharply underfoot in the freezing cold temperatures, or the whistling wind that rattles the metalwork.Continue reading
Back to the russet tones in the valleys with ice floes on the creeks conveying the frigid temperatures. Thick snow remains on the northern peaks. Overcast with a shimmering sky and a high of 26F.
A crisp, bright day on the peaks. Cloudless skies and a high of 26F. Hazy valleys in the east under the afternoon sun.
A high of 24F and partly overcast with periods of bright sunshine. A post-Christmas stint of wood gathering and chopping continues.
The big chill continues with a high of 25F and bright sunshine shining through thin stretch of rippled cloud looking like a fraying net curtain. A face-numbing afternoon that only a Black Lab could love.
Brilliant sunshine, clear skies and bitterly cold with a high of 16F. After a foot of snow this week, a plunge into arctic temperatures.
Who doesn’t want to go to Giggle Hollow? This delightful-sounding place can be found between Pine Hill and the south-eastern edge of Belleayre Ski Mountain, in a small web of hiking trails that leads from the top of the ski mountain all the way down to Big Indian wilderness and beyond. In the winter, these Belleayre trails are the perfect destination to snow shoe to these gob-smacking views if you’re with non-skiers or your dog.
If you do take your country dog, he must be harnessed and leashed if he’s likely to become uncontrollably excited by the prospect of skiing and keenly propose the notion of exploring the double black diamonds to a chorus of “Hi, Puppy!” as the skiers glide by. You don’t want your dog flying off down the mountain. While we were admiring the view from the summit, which is the end of the trail, we were approached by a skier from Europe who made me fiercely jealous by telling me that in The Alps skiers take their dogs, who follow them up the mountain on foot underneath the ski lifts. Alpine skiers ski with their dogs. What a life for an outdoor dog. Perhaps we could have Dog Day on Belleayre? Or would that descend into chaos?Continue reading
Back to the rusty earth tones of a flattened, dormant landscape. Foggy valleys, misty rain and a high of 41F. Much warmer this year, than last year.
A muted sun glowing through a beautiful, milk glass sky. A high of 43F with snow only on the peaks by the end of the day.
Nestled in the foothills of the Catskills’ Hunter-West Kill Mountain Wilderness, almost at the end of a dead-end road leading to some the region’s most popular trails, is West Kill Brewing, with its small tap room, that’s been open for about a year. The standout beer is the fruitiest IPA for miles around, Moon Farmer IPA, but most of the beers here have some sort of unique berry, fruit, herb, pine or citrus combination in them and some of them are brewed with honey from West Kill Brewing’s hives. There’s even a basil IPA and a Belgian made with spruce tips. The beers here are not your regular run-of-the-mill offerings, they are mindfully made. Much thought has clearly gone into the recipes that incorporate a variety of the local flora. Maybe it was the strenuous hike to Rusk Mountain that influenced my tastebuds, but I was so surprised when I took a first gulp of Moon Farmer that I went straight to the counter to order a four-pack to take out. I don’t even like IPA.Continue reading
New year, new view: Buff, naked mountains with the snow washed away by overnight rain and high, gusty winds. Frequent, light sprinkles of sugary snow. Overcast with foggy cloud and a bitter high of 35F. Towering hemlocks provide cover.
Dead birches provide firewood. Happy New Year!