Escarpment Trail Run Escapade

Memorial Day. No Indianapolis 500 for me, we don’t own a television. At 6 AM, I set out for a raid in the Catskills. I wanted to reprise a run I did 15 years ago as training for the Escarpment Trail Run.

Windham High Peak
Somewhere on Windham High Peak

Setting out from the western terminus of the Escarpment Trail on Route 23, I planned to go over Windham and Blackhead, the first two peaks in the race. Then turn right, go over Black Dome, drop in to Big Hollow, and return to my car going over Windham again. It’s a bit over 19 miles, longer than the actual Escarpment race.

Clouds and low fog covered the mountains as I drove up Route 23 from the Thruway. By 9 AM, I was moving.

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Wurtsboro Ridge State Forest Hike

Since my last trip to Lake Placid in March, I’ve stayed close to home. But recently, being fully vaxxed and in need of a change in scenery, I headed northwest. There’s a last segment of the Shawangunks that I’ve not explored, southwest of Sam’s Point.

Diving off Route 17 on to Roosa Gap Road, I picked my way up to Wurtsboro Ridge State Forest. The roads here are narrow, with blind rises and blind curves. For a change, I was content to drive below the speed limit.

Parking at the trail head, I set out. On a rough trail, In the first kilometer, I descended a rough trail to a valley floor. At the bottom, running through a dry stream bed littered with glacial rubble, I ran into the Long Path and took a hard right.

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The Old Schaefer Trail: Gore’s Secrets

Mountains hold secrets that can only be discovered through close exploration. That’s especially true for mountains as large as the Gore Massif, with its multiple peaks and valleys. After all, this is the place that Verplanck Colvin called “a very remarkable mountain.” It took him two attempts to reach the summit with his crew to survey the area.

view of Gore Mountain east side

The new normal seems to have exponentially increased the numbers of those hiking to the mountain summit and using the mountain’s hike and bike trails. Most visitors to the mountain in winter use the ski trails to zip down the corduroy slopes, hardly noticing the beauty of the frozen landscape along the way.

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