Friday, May 18, 2012

THE BURROUGHS RANGE CATSKILL 35 FINISH (The "Merlin and Trillium Garden" Hike)

On Friday I set out to hike my final Catskill 35 peak, Cornell. I decided to hike the whole Burroughs Range as I had never hiked the whole trail before. I met a new hiking companion Michael Rider at Woodland Valley and we drove up to Slide TH to start there and hike the 10 miles back to Woodland Valley. The weather was perfect as we took the Curtis-Ormsbee Trail up Slide Mtn and enjoyed the viewpoints....

The leaves were really out on the trees now and there were more wildflowers and what I think was Chokecherry blossoms...
Near the summit of Slide Mtn we followed a side path thinking it was a rare view to the west, but it ended at a seashell, not by the seashore!...
The balsam forest was fragrant and we made it up to the overlook on Slide Mtn in good time. The overlook was better than I remember from previous visits to Slide...

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A little farther on we came to the Burrough Plaque, dedicated to John Burroughs, a writer that I've been reading some of his nature writings recently...
We headed down the steep ledges and enjoyed good views towards the rest of the range, Cornell & Wittenberg Mtns....

 One of the steep sections on the descent...
In the col were numerous campsites and we spotted a nice big cluster of Painted Trilliums...
On the ascent of Cornell we came to a spectacular viewpoint with a great view of Slide Mtn....
We headed up and reached the mostly wooded summit of Cornell, my 35th Catskill Peak. I celebrated by having lunch...

A view towards Wittenberg Mtn...
We descended down the infamous "Cornell Crack", which really wasn't that technical...
We then headed across the narrow ridge (nicknamed the "Bruins Causeway") towards Wittenberg, which happened to be Michael's 35th Peak, and poked around at some partial viewpoints along the way...
The real treat, as I knew from hiking there before, was Wittenberg's summit with a panoramic view of the Ashokan Reservoir...

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The 2 new Catskill 35'ers
We spent a lot of time soaking in the views and enjoying the solitude (no other hikers on the summit! and only saw 3 all day!)....


Just before we left the summit we were treated to a bird Michael identified as a Merlin, from the falcon family.
The descent back to Woodland Valley was long but pleasant.

I was definitely moving faster than this guy...
I enjoyed some time at Woodland Creek at the bottom before heading back...
A great day of perfect weather and fine views.
I guess it's back to the Adirondacks and Green Mtns for a while, but I'm sure I'll be back down to the Catskills sometime soon.



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