Saturday, September 26, 2009

Mt. Tremper via Willow Trail

After three days of partying (an out of town rehearsal dinner and wedding, and a high school reunion) I was ready for a wholesome activity. Sister and I chose Mt. Tremper because it was the closest fire tower hike left to climb, and it was a shorter hike; no need to throw my I'm-getting-too-old-to-party-like-this-body into shock. So down to the Catskills we went. We chose the Willow Trail approach because our guide book said it would save 600 feet in elevation change but only add 0.2 miles round trip. Perfect hike for my condition!

The trail begins at the dead stop end of Jessup Rd. Our guide book says its 6.4 miles round trip. We were too busy talking about my eventful week and missed the turn sign through the meadow to the trail. We came to a gorgous building with solar panels and a field of wild turkeys. The road turned around and we encountered some loggers who informed us that we did miss a turn a while back. That excursion probably added only a half mile onto our hike.

When we got back on track we climbed a little and walked along the ridge where we could hear the helpful loggers down below and a snake (not a rattlesnake) sailed over the toe of my boot. We saw Doll's Eyes in person for the first time ever! We moved forward for quite some time before getting to a junction where a sign said that there was over two miles to the summit. That, according to our calculations based on the guidebook, would mean that we had only walked about a mile from the trail head?! We took ino consideration our missed turn in Albuquerque, but it still didn't seem to check out. We hiked all the way to the summit, and towards the end of the trail we were both amazed at how it seemed like the longest 3.2 miles of our lives. I blamed it on my exhaustion and the wine from the night before.

Doll's Eyes

At the summit, much to our dissapointment, the fire tower appeared to be closed and a little unsafe to climb. Several beams were on the ground, and we speculated as to whether it was under repair and reconstruction or if the tower was going to be taken down. The pulleys and large C-clamps made us think that a restoration was in store, but the spokesperson for the family at the summit insisted it was being taken down.

No views are available from the bottom of the tower, but a large rock provided a nice sitting spot for lunch. After lunch and picture takin we continued a little down the Phoenicia trail to check out the lean-to.

Even the way down seemed equally long. I was starting to feel ashamed - we have conquored several mountains more difficult that this trail, what was my problem?! This was a fairly easy trail! We had estimated that the 6.4 mile hike would take us 3.5 hours at most, but it took us five hours including summit, picture taking, the little accidental excursion and the walk to the lean-to. How shameful! What a pleasant surprise it was when Sister found out that the Willow Trail of Mt. Tremper, according to the Catskill Center website, is actually 4.2 miles to the summit, making it about two miles longer round trip that we had thought!

An email to a Catskill Fire Tower Volunteer clarified the fire tower situation. No worries, it is under repair and it isn't going anywhere! We should have known that they wouldn't let it come down!

1 comment:

knittingdragonflies said...

How beautiful! Looks like a good hike. I've never seen Doll's Eye's what a treat!