Misty rain on the peaks becoming heavier in the valleys. Humid and foggy with a high of 66F. A muted red glow at sunset.
Muggy, still and overcast with low cloud and a high of 77F. Late afternoon drizzle gave way to some patches of blue. A barely discernible reddening of the landscape. The greens aren’t giving up yet.
Heavy and humid, mostly sunny with a high of 90F, but cool in the shade. Sweaty.
Warm and sunny with a high of 82F. Day 4 of haying: bringing the bales down off the mountain and “tedding” the second cutting.
Sunny and clear with a high of 80F. Tall goldenrod stems swing in a gentle breeze and its Day 2 of a hay window in the Dry Brook Valley.
“Are you coming to the drawing tonight?” Gary Mayer asks me. I’m honored to be part of a Catskills figure drawing group with local artists such as Steve Burnett, Gary, Peter Mayer, and Sandy Finkenberg.
“No,” I say. “I’m going to a potluck dinner”.
“Well, you won’t find potluck in here,” he says as he steps up into his studio. “More like shit out of luck,” he laughs, highlighting a disparity between the lightness of his personality and the intensity of his work. He’s quick to laugh, good company and chatty, but this magnanimity belies the intensity of his imagery. “I have a wild imagination,” he frowns, nodding gravely. “I didn’t sleep a lot as a kid”. We have something in common. “Me, too,” I say. It’s a little exhausting. But I’m keen to keep him laughing because all the profile pictures I see of him make him look flummoxed, for want of a better word.
His general demeanor is nonchalance, however, like his image: hey, look at this shit I did. I don’t get it either. *Shrugs* The ad for his new gallery in Margaretville named Art Up is photo of a handwritten note, for example. I get the sense that his reward comes from expressing himself, while painting, rather than the final work being appreciated.Continue reading
Hot, sunny but overcast with a milky blue sky and a high of 73F.
A humid morning with heavy, misty cloud and rain on the peaks. Sun in the afternoon and a high of 64F.
Cold, with a high of 48F and a chilly wind. A mostly gloomy day with the sun emerging late afternoon like it had spent all day a work. A beautiful evening.
We’re very proud to announce that the Winter 2022 Issue of Upstate Dispatch was published last year and is available for sale. It’s been a serious challenge to be a novice publisher, but the outpouring of enthusiasm has been hugely encouraging. As a writer, I was convinced that readers still wanted some print materials and I was right to take the leap.
There’s so much distraction on the internet that avid readers are moving away from it. The last month has shown me that readers consider a book or magazine to be a rare treat and a small luxury in trying times. I worked hard for eight years on the website, bringing a wealth of information on the area to thousands of readers, and I was dedicated to making the magazine beautiful. I hope you’ll invest in a copy.
You will soon find the magazine in select independent book stores in New York City, but for now, those outside the Catskills area can order their copy by emailing [email protected]. The price for mailing within New York State is $20, plus $5 postage and packaging.
Please watch this post for changes as we expand our availability.
In the magazine, you’ll find winter recipes, interviews, essays, recommended reading and some of the best images of Catskills winter hiking in one beautiful issue.
A grey day, overcast and humid with a high of 61F. A tinder polypore on a hemlock bench perfectly reflects the day’s colors.
Sunny and warm with a high of 62F. Leaves hanging on.
A cloudy morning, clearing up to a sunny afternoon with a high of 57F. Fall is over at higher elevations, but there are still hardwoods hanging on to their leaves downhill.
Overcast with the odd glimmer of sun and still balmy for the season with a high of 61F. The fall colors are now the golden, brassy, maroon and copper tones of the oaks and ironwood, and some of these trees are still green.
Another crisp day under a bowl of clear blue, warming up to a high of 60F. The flaming red oak tree holds its ground with its yellow and green neighbors amidst the brush of a waning fall landscape.
Bright and sunny with a nippy wind and a high of 53F. Big dome of clear blue with the odd remnant of wispy cloud.
Bright and breezy, mostly clear skies and a high of 63F.
Another gorgeous misty, cloudy morning, clearing by noon and warming up to a balmy high of 65F. Warm in the sun.
A gloomy, chilly morning warming up to a humid, rainy day with a high of 62F. Falling leaves tossed around by gusty winds. Torrential rain into the evening.
Sunny and humid, mostly clear skies and a high of 66F.
Peak fall colors, but only brief periods of sun in which to showcase their glory. A nippy wind and a high of 58F.
Overcast and misty with late afternoon rain and a high of 66F. We’re in the peak of glorious fall here in the Catskills. We just need some sun to show it off.
Sun, at last! Mostly cloudless with a high of 74F. A beautiful fall day.
A rainy morning walk through misty mountains. Another overcast day, with thick foggy cloud and a high of 61F. The sun making a brief appearance mid to late afternoon, brightening the gorgeous fall colors. A lovely half-moon rise though streaky cloud.
Cloud stretched taut over the sun like thick gauze, chilly with a high of 52F. Chronic overcast conditions are dulling these fall colors that are best experienced up close: oak on the right, maple on the left. The oak will be the last man standing.
Overcast and chilly with blustery winds and a high of 57F. Fiery sunset.
Overcast with ruffled grey cloud, morning mist and a high of 62F. Goldenrod still hanging on.
Mostly sunny with a gauze of cloud and a high of 62F.
Thick cloud cover clearing by late afternoon. Humid but chilly, with a high of 62F. Yellow leaves falling.
More gloom. Overcast, with a slight chill taking the edge off the humidity and a high of 65F. Misty clouds sail through the valley towing their falling rain.
Another overcast day: humid with swirling clouds with misty rain and a high of 65F. Some color still remains in the garden.
Gloomy and overcast with brief periods of sunshine, but a mostly rainy afternoon and a high of 63F.
A very crisp, dewy morning at 42F, but sunny and clear for the rest of the day with stray wisps of cloud a high of 69F. Perfect weather for cycling to a festival.
I developed a curry sauce made from scratch during the pandemic. Curry is part of Ayurvedic diet in which you eat foods that protect your health, so this year I tried to grow some of the ingredients. There are plenty of foods in this diet that don’t grow well in this climate, but we do have some good replacements. For example, spice bush, native to the Catskills and Northeast America, is a good stand-in for spices because you can eat the leaves, twigs and berries. I’ve never found spice bush when foraging here, but I did buy a few seedlings from Barkaboom Native Plants based here in the Catskills.
Some of what I planted at Lazy Crazy Acres farm did not do well, or even grow at all, but what did grow really well were arugula, red bliss potatoes, garlic, tomatoes, and hot peppers. We have shishito, jalapeno, cayenne, anaheim and exactly one dark green poblano. We got at least 30 shishito peppers from one plant alone, although we had to get it under cover because the deer started to eat the plant. I also planted mint and lavender as companion plants. The mint has kept the tomatoes pest-free except for one lonely, recent hornworm. All these are on the farm stand, except the hornworm who was invited to move across the street. Considering that we’re on dead-end road, this little fledgling farm stand is not doing too badly. Visitors to Tree Juice Maple Syrup are the biggest customers, which is where the farm stand is, and some of the garlic will be going into the syrup.
Whatever does not get sold will get dried or preserved. We grew 300 heads of garlic and the cloves from the biggest bulbs will get planted in October.
The farm stand is open when it’s not raining. We’ve yet to add a roof, but we all have to start somewhere.
I’ve recently been receiving a lot of kind feedback on the writing I do here, and some inquiries into what I’ve been up to since I last posted back in June. It’s the feedback – along with the helpful donations – that keeps me going, so here’s an update. Daily Catskills will resume in the next few days, from the September equinox until Winter solstice and all the snowbirds will shortly be seeing our Fall in all its glory from afar. Stay tuned!Continue reading
Sun striving through a veil of cloud and a high of 35F.
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.
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!
A steamy, humid high of 46F with fast-traveling clouds dumping dry, grainy snow on the tips of the chilly peaks and bitter winds trapped on the south faces. High waters, still.
Brilliant sun until early-afternoon and another high of 32F with fresh snowcaps on several peaks. A rare bright day. Busy on Belleayre.
Overcast with snow on the peaks and a brief flash of lunchtime sun through the shimmering clouds. A high of 31F.
Moody clouds with a bitter chill in the air and a high of 31F.
A calm, white Christmas Eve with an inch or two of morning snow, clearing up late morning for a brief hour of sunshine. Then back into the doldrums with the lightest possible snow fall waning by mid-afternoon. A high of 37F.
This is a popular mulled wine recipe for port or sherry lovers that has been featured on this website in previous years. Port and lemon is a common combination. When it’s warm, sweetened with cherry juice and spiced it makes a harsh winter worth enduring. Port has a storied history; a staple in British households over Christmas Eve. Santa always got a glass of sherry with his Christmas pudding. And of course, the obsession with marinated cherries continues.
Mulled Spiced Citrus Port
750ml Tawny Port
100ml cherry juice
10 whole cloves
1 teaspoon of nutmeg
2 cinnamon sticks
1 drop of vanilla essence
Slice off the peel (including pith) of both the orange and lemon until you have the raw fruit and about eight slices of fruit peel. Put the peel to one side and muddle the raw orange and lemon fruit together with the port and cherry juice. Add the remaining ingredients, including the fruit peel, into the muddled mixture. Steep the mixture for a few hours. Add a cup of water to dilute to taste. Pour into a saucepan and heat gently until warm. Remove the fruit waste – but not the peel – once the port has warmed sufficiently to serve.
Serves four to eight.
A high of 43F and overcast with rippling, ominous cloud. Bitter and windswept on the peaks.
Nothing makes you more alert than hiking an unmarked, bushwhack trail to the top of a very steep mountain. It was such a relief, after doing a quick pitstop at Hurricane Ledge (for the picture above), to return to the summit to find fellow hikers. KHP, as it is known, is not for the faint of heart, the inexperienced, or anyone with the slightest bit of vertigo. Map and compass-reading skills are essential for this hike. Continue reading
33F by morning with overnight snow on the lower peaks forming a crunchy layer on the ground that lingers until the afternoon. A high of 43F but back to 36F by the evening. The Black Lab Mix salutes these new frigid temperatures with some yoga – he’s ready – but a lot of green remains on the trees. Fall has not finished.
A crisp autumn day beginning with a humid morning and rising to a 52F high. Mostly overcast with rolling, dark cloud bringing a sudden hail storm at 4.15pm and, after a plunge into freezing temperatures of about 36F late evening, a crunchy layer of snow. If we wanted it dull, we would be living somewhere else.
A fresh, chilly morning rising to a high of 54F. A rare day with clear, blue skies do nothing to enliven the dull fall colors. Still waiting for nature’s fireworks.
It’s truly extraordinary that one of the most majestic creeks in the Catskills – and possibly about a quarter of the drinking water supplied to nine million New Yorkers – begins with a tiny spring originating on Slide Mountain in Oliverea just over the apex of the Catskills Divide. This spring was dammed at its source by the Winnisook Club in 1886 to create the now 8-acre Winnisook Lake, so that members of this private club would have somewhere to fish. (This is a private club with no public access).
Spilling from this pristine lake, is the start of the Esopus Creek, which travels about 65 miles through the northern Catskill Mountains and is revered as the source of some of the America’s best fly fishing. It is dammed for the second time to create the Ashokan Reservoir and then continues on from there to empty into the Hudson River at Saugerties. We have so much water here in the Catskills, and so much rain, that it really feels like a rain forest in humid periods. The precipitation occurs because we’re high up in the path of clouds moving east from the comparatively flatlands of Ohio. Continue reading
Chilly with rain and brief flashes of sun through thick cloud, only dispersing late afternoon. A high of 52F. First snow of the season on Kaaterskill High Peak.
A cold snap: a chilly morning at 46F by 9am warms up to a high of 57F. Breezy with fast-moving cloud and sunny periods. There still some patches of green hanging on amidst the yellowing and almost bare trees.
All-day rain: fog drifting in the valleys and as humid as a sauna. Steamy.
Ah, Giant Ledge. These days it’s like Times Square up there even on a weekday in autumn because it’s a quick 1.5 miles from the parking area, over a babbling brook and up quite a steep, rocky incline to literally a giant ledge jutting out into the wilderness with astonishing panoramic views of both western and eastern Catskill Mountains. On a nice summer day, you can get up there in your day wear on a lunch break and then there’s full cell service at the summit, which makes it popular with the Instagrammers, photographers and weekend visitors. There is no cell service on the way up, in the parking area or on Route 47.
For this reason, Giant Ledge is the gateway hike. It’s lures you in with its easy rewards, and before long, you’ve bought proper hiking shoes, non-cotton clothing and perhaps even hiking poles. If you go 1.85 miles further on from Giant Ledge you will reach the summit of Panther Mountain, which is one of the Catskills peaks over 3500 ft, the “Catskills 35”. (There are 35 peaks over 3500 ft here in the Catskills.)
In the fall, it’s muddy and once the leaves start falling on the trail along with the rain, the rocks get very slippery so extra care is needed. (In the winter, it completely ices over and it’s necessary to use crampons). Only the beginning part of the trail to Giant Ledge is level: a brief reprieve in the rock climbing, but it’s still muddy at the moment. None of that seems to deter the multitude of visitors though, because it’s one of the perfect spots to watch the leaves change.
Right now, the landscape is mostly yellow with some swathes of red. There’s lots of green left on the oaks and other hard woods, but it’s sure to burst into its final, vivid orange fireworks any day now. If that happens on a sunny day, we’ll be golden.
Go here to scroll thought last year’s October.
Giant Ledge is a 2.5-hour drive from George Washington Bridge. Take I-87 to Kingston, Exit 19, then take Route 28 (West) after the traffic circle, following the sign to Pine Hill. At Big Indian, turn left onto Route 47 and drive 7.5 miles south on Route 47 until you see the trail head sign. The parking area is just before a hairpin bend.