Platte Clove: Off-Trail in the Catskills

Platte Clove in the northeast Catskills is among the wildest sections of the range. It’s a deep ravine created by ice age glaciers that drops about 1500 feet in little over two miles. The clove contains 17 separate waterfalls and is home to some of the Catskills’ most primeval terrain.

Platte Clove waterfalls
Lower waterfall

I joined my friend Bruce on the Friday before Labor Day weekend for an exploration of the southwest corner of the clove. As a frequent hiker through the clove, Bruce is an excellent guide — happy to point out areas of interest and equally as happy to explore remote corners of the clove. It’s potentially dangerous terrain, but with Bruce leading the way, I was in good hands.

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Lightning Strikes Plattekill

Just before 3pm on Tuesday July 12, intense “straight line” storms came through the Catskills. In Delaware County the weather was extreme for several minutes. At Plattekill, the storm passed and after that, at the end of the workday, employees went home. At 5:45 pm an alert neighbor saw smoke rising from the base of the ski area and called it in.

fire fighters

Based on the timing and nature of the storm, those on the ground believed that lightning struck the control shack, at the base of the double chair.  If so, it may have smoldered for a while, before it was seen and reported. For the moment, until the insurance company can make their official determination of cause, the shack ruins will stay where they lay.

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The Catskills: From the Outside Looking In

My home ski mountain, Hunter, has views of 10 or 11 of the 35 Catskill High Peaks from various locations around the ski area. The summit of Hunter Mountain proper (4,040’) is believed to be the Catskill location with views of more Catskill High Peaks than any other location. Needless to say, Hunter skiers enjoy great views of the Catskills from the inside, looking out. With this off-season photo essay, I’m trying to turn that perspective around, and show views of the Catskills from the outside, looking in.

Ellenville Vallye
Ellenville and the distant Catskills from the Shawangunk Mountains Scenic Byway (NY Rt 52)

Looking northwest from the overlook on Route 52 provides a great view of Ellenville and the valley separating the Shawangunks from the Catskills.

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