Red Hill Fire Tower Hike

A couple years ago I took my kids camping into the Sundown Wild Forest in the Catskills. It was a fun couple of days but I went into it with a to-do list so long, we couldn’t possibly get to everything.

Red Hill fire tower sign

Recently I read that the state had added a day-use permit requirement (for summer weekends at least) to the egregiously abused Peekamoose Blue Hole, a popular swimming spot in the area, located on Rondout Creek. It reminded me of some of the hikes that we hadn’t gotten to, especially the Red Hill Fire Tower.

The Red Hill Tower was the last one in the Catskills to operate in its original role.

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Another Comeback Season

I remember the Valentines Day storm in 2007 — or more accurately — I remember skiing the snow when I got there, after it ended. The storm dumped 40 inches of snow in the southern Adirondacks and the skiing was excellent for quite a while afterward.

The event was magnified by the fact that the 2006-2007 season — up until that point — had been a mostly a bust in New York. Probably just as important was that the big storm was followed by a trio of good cold storms over the next several weeks, extending the good skiing into April. What started as a washout was remembered as a pretty good season. At least I remember it so.

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Hiking Bear Mountain NY

Bear Mountain State Park is another cool place with lots of history, including some of New York’s early ski history. But it also attracts so many people every summer weekend that the heavy traffic can make it difficult to get around northern Rockland County, much less take advantage of the hiking, paddling and swimming opportunities the park offers.

bear mountain trail building exhibit

It can be disheartening. It’s not just because the crowds and traffic make access difficult, but also the impact all those people have in terms of litter, erosion, noise pollution. The crowds at Harriman and Bear redefine the term “intensive use.” On a normal summer weekend, I definitely avoid Bear Mountain.

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