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Hunter & Southwest Hunter ( Leavitt), Jan. 26

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  • Hunter & Southwest Hunter ( Leavitt), Jan. 26

    The last time that I hiked in the Catskills was January 2018, so the RoverGirl and I decided to do a moderate hike of the loop starting at the Spruceton trailhead, clockwise to Hunter and SW Hunter. I was battling a headache at breakfast, so we started later than planned, arriving at the trailhead around 10am. We wore snowshoes from start to finish, though the last few miles were challenging because of bare rock and running water.

    I had the pleasure of a chance encounter in the parking lot with Dani and Stefan from Team Danger Girl, who were headed to Rusk. We caught up for a few minutes and then they departed. A few minutes later we did the same, just as a Meetup group from Connecticut arrived, who were also planning to do the loop.

    At the start, the trail was very packed down but there was just enough snow to make for easy walking in snowshoes. We paused at the hairpin turn to adjust layers and then continued upward. The sun made an unexpected appearance and RoverGirl did a bit of impromptu sunbathing.

    Just before the junction with the Colonels Chair trail, she realized that she somehow dropped her down vest, which she had removed at the hairpin. We decided that I'd continue slowly up to the lean-to junction and she would backtrack to find the vest. Approaching the junction, the sun highlighted a fantastic frozen water flow over large boulders on the side of the trail. I took a few photos as the meetup group approached. We climbed a bit more and all paused at the leanto junction. They moved on as I put on a warm jacket and mittens, and drank some hot tea while waiting for my friend. It was only a few minutes later that she came jogging up the trail after retrieving her vest, in a tank top and bare arms, crazy fast (crazy girl)!

    She layered up, had a snack, and we left a few minutes later. The final mile up to the summit had deeper snow, but it was very well packed down and a pleasure to hike. No significant ice. The group was just leaving as we arrived, so we had the summit to ourselves. RG took off her snowshoes, put on her mammoth Mammut parka, and climbed the tower to enjoy the sweeping views. We had a leisurely lunch of hot soup in our down jackets, as we enoyed the warming sun. We were toasty!

    Back on the trail, heading down to the Devil's Path, the snow was now mixed with some ice, but the walking was pretty easy. Took a quick bathroom break at the Devil's Acre leanto. The toilet in the privy is in terrible condition. The seat is barely there, so it went unused.

    Soon we were on the side trail to SWH and crossed paths again with the meetup group. They had broken out the last section of climbing quite nicely, so we followed their path up to the summit for RoverGirl's first canister.

    We returned to the DP and took a few photos at Geiger Point, as the sun was getting low in the sky. As mentioned above, the next two or so miles was a mix of deep fluffy snow, ice, bare rock, and running water. Still, snowshoes probably were the best choice about 70% of the time. The flow at Diamond Notch Falls was incredibly powerful, just a huge amount of water. The last mile after the falls had better snow coverage, and the side of the road between parking lots had just enough for fast walking. Made it back to the car just before sunset, at 5:15pm. It was an excellent day for a lovely winter hike.
    Last edited by debmonster; 01-28-2019, 06:58 PM.
    We don't stop playing because we get old; we get old because we stop playing ~ Satchel Paige

  • #2
    A few pictures...
    We don't stop playing because we get old; we get old because we stop playing ~ Satchel Paige

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    • #3
      Good to see you again. Let us know when you will be returning.

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      • debmonster
        debmonster commented
        Editing a comment
        Really great to see you and Margaret as well! I need to get up to the Cats as often as possible, so I'll definitely be in touch. Thanks again for leading yesterday.

    • #4
      Nice report Deb as usual. Hope to see you soon. Once a year isn't enough! You may just have to change your friends name from RoverGirl to Crazygirl !
      And because of all their tears
      Their eyes can't hope to see
      The beauty that surrounds them
      Isn't it a pity
      -George Harrison

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      • debmonster
        debmonster commented
        Editing a comment
        Totally agree on all points! But I forgot that RG did a backpack trip to Blackhead in July last year, so it's just me that took a year to return. Even so, twice a year is definitely not enough.
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