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The 2 Fire Tower Traverse - Overlook to Tremper (Mar. 4-5)

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  • The 2 Fire Tower Traverse - Overlook to Tremper (Mar. 4-5)

    I can't remember the last time I backpacked in the Catskills. I'm local and so always day hike. But this past weekend was too dangerously cold for our planned overnight hike in the Adirondack high peaks. So we thought we'd combine two of our regular Catskills day hikes for an overnight. Call it the Two Fire Towers Traverse. We started at Overlook Mt., then hiked over the summits of Indian Head, Twin, and Sugarloaf before setting up camp in Mink Hollow. On Sunday, we hiked up Plateau and then headed southwest on the Long Path over Edgewood Mt. and Mt. Tremper. Temperatures on Saturday were in the single digits and it was very windy up high. But it was brilliantly sunny and the views were limitless. Microspikes and bare-booting were fine until the descent of Twin, where we switched to full crampons. We'd need them one more time descending Sugarloaf, the iciest trail we encountered by far. We were surprised to see people in the lean-to at Mink Hollow. Not that we planned to stay there. The temperature was expected to drop below zero on Saturday night with 40 mph gusts. An open lean-to was the last place I'd want to spend the night. We set up a tent at the designated spot across from it. The lean-to group numbered at least 10 and they tried to stay warm with a campfire. After getting water at the spring to the north, we made hot water bottles and retreated to our down bags. We stayed put for 12 straight hours. Winter camping is a great way to catch up on your sleep!

    Sunday brought more brilliant sunshine and wind. The temperature and wind moderated on the descent of beautiful Daley Ridge. (If you haven't hiked Daley Ridge yet - go do it - it is a delightful trail.) Hiking the Long Path section between the Notch Inn Rd. area and Warner Creek requires attention. It isn't hiked very often and feels like bushwhacking in spots with the winter blowdown. The long descent off Edgewood Mt. brings you to the remote and beautiful Warner Creek. It was running high this weekend with no clear way to cross. But we scouted upstream and found fallen trees to tight-rope walk across. The long uphill climb of Carl Mt. is made easier by numerous switchbacks. Then for a respite there's rolling terrain before the final uphill slog to Tremper's summit and the second fire tower. Three miles and 1900 ft. of down brought us to the trailhead after dark, leg weary at the end of a long day. Seven summits, total distance about 26 miles, approximately 7500 ft. of elevation gain. A fantastic hike on the coldest weekend of this crazy winter.

    Photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/141466...57678808647882

  • #2
    Sounds like a nice hike. I have yet to get to tremper, Edgewood, Warner creek but plan to.... It's nice to hit trails that are lesser traveled
    Catskills: 39/39, 26W/35W
    ADK: 46/46

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    • #3
      what a fabulous traverse!!! I have to admit, when we hiked Plateau and saw the tail going towards Tremper, we made a few jokes that agreed that that was not where we wanted to go, but this trip sounds like the ticket to explore that trail! not in the winter though. you guys are nuts! we were out and about during the day and it was good while the sun was shining, but once it was gone, we could feel the temps drop with every step. thank you for sharing!
      46/46 as of August 1st, 2014!

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      • #4
        Just saw this post and wanted to say that this is one of my favorite overnight trips. Love the variety of terrain, and that there are no road crossings for the entire hike. Also it can be accessed by public transportation on both ends (a short taxi ride from the Woodstock bus stop, and about a 1.5 mile walk into Phoenicia at the end). Sounds like you had a great trip!
        We don't stop playing because we get old; we get old because we stop playing ~ Satchel Paige

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