American Alpine Club’s New Gunks Campground

As popular as the Shawangunk Mountains are, they could be in the most underrated park in New York State. The case is strong; stellar hiking, bike trails, swimming holes, foraging, nordic skiing, and rock and ice climbing all find homes here. Even the wine is good.

AAC-Campground

On one hand, it’s hard for me to share beta. On the other, is my constant ‘pro’ argument: by sharing “the goods” perhaps more people will invest themselves in being good stewards of the land, or try to stay fit enough to enjoy it.

My quasi-populist desire to share hides my contradictory secret belief that the garbage-free, uncrowded shady paths are a direct result of the lack of camping options. I suppose I’m a hypocrite. The parks are perfect for me, and I sing their praises. Everyone should be able to see how amazing New York is, but like a picky Air-bnb host I can’t trust just anyone as a guest.

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Classic Rock, Baby

Over the past year, a schism has occurred among my friends. Some have decided to marry, settle down. Others decided to get serious about jobs, while a third group continues adventuring, guiding full-time or moving out west.

Gunks-Crack

After taking quite a bit of grief about my last few climbing trips and biting off more than I can chew, I connected for an outing with my friend and former lead guide for Brooklyn Outfitters.

Stetson, like me, fits into the middle group that’s getting “serious” about life, and jobs. Neither of us have the freedom to get out like we did when we were guiding every weekend and exploring during the week.

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Gunks Climbing: Gettin’ Schooled

My climbing season came to an early and abrupt end in 2014, when my elbow began to hurt from repeatedly hitting the gym. Apparently, muscle strengthens far more quickly than tendons, which take can take years of training to get to rock star level.

The Gunks

I’m not a star; but in my short time of pulling plastic holds indoors I felt like I was becoming competent, or at least adequate. My goal is to follow my accomplished friends on expeditions to remote cliffs and do more than pull my own weight. I want to contribute.

Although sports sometimes bring out my competitive nature, most of the time I’m competing against myself. It’s not difficult for me to enjoy a day teaching on the slopes of Mount Peter or on the Bunny Hutch at Whiteface. I like to be outside.

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