an adventure in the catskills

Yesterday, my friend Michelle and I decided to get out of the city for a little adventure in nature. Michelle decided we should hike Wittenberg Mountain. In her Catskill Mountains guide book the hike was rated as difficult. We joked about how a difficult rating for the Catskill Mountains would probably be like a moderate hike in the Rockies. As we set out, I was thinking that maybe the people that rated the hike had actually done some hiking outside of the Catskills and knew what they were talking about.

About 30 minutes in, we discovered we were on the wrong trail. We decided that we would head back down and get on the right trail since that was the hike we had planned to do. In the process of figuring out where we were and where we should have been, it was also discovered that the trail we were on was rated as moderate…this made me a little nervous as I was wearing running shoes and felt ill-equipped (both in actually equipment and physical shape) to hike 3.9 miles up on a trail rated difficult. But I just smiled and followed Michelle down to the right trail head.


What the guide did not share with us was that we would actually be doing a little rock climbing. And the rock climbing is after you’ve already hiked uphill for about 3 miles, so you are tired, but too far up to throw in the towel. And you think after the first wall that that has to be it, but you would be mistaken. Three walls later (the book refers to these as “scrambles”…I think because if you were to fall, you would become scrambled like an egg), we finally were on normal hills again. And then we reached the top. And it was TOTALLY worth it.

This was the first of the “scrambles”…not sure the picture does it justice, but it was serious.
I wish this picture did justice to just what an amazing view this is…I also wish I could have capture the lightening storm we could see in the distance. But, unless you hike this yourself, you’re just going to have to take my word for it. AMAZING!

Of course, the hike back down was hard, as well, but a different kind of hard. Besides just being a killer on the joints, I managed to twist my ankle and trip multiple times (running shoes and serious hiking do not mix) one time almost ended with me falling face first into a rocky stream…except for a lovely tree that broke my fall. It really was quite the adventure and one I would actually repeat.

Once we got down, we decided to stop in the little town nearby and get dinner…which was also an awesome experience. Sadly I did not get any pictures of the multiple tie-dyed outfits I saw (Phoenicia, where we had dinner, is about 13 miles from Woodstock), but trut me when I say it was impressive. Talk about a perfectly spent Saturday. I couldn’t have asked for better.

2 thoughts on “an adventure in the catskills

  1. my brother went to undergrad at new paltz so i've done some hiking in that area too, and i agree, it is surprisingly difficult! i think it is all the exposed rocks.

  2. I you get a chance… hiking Ricketts Glen in PA is worth your while. Dozens of gorgeous waterfalls. 🙂

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