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Kaaterskill HP from Platte Clove, 05/25/2019

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  • Kaaterskill HP from Platte Clove, 05/25/2019

    I consider myself lucky to have gotten to the catskills as often as I have through the winter and now into the spring, and even luckier to have had such a beautiful Saturday in the cats with my family for their first hike in the mountains this year. It seems my last few trips have alternated between sunny blue days (the latest Fri/BC) and trying challenging hikes in the pouring rain (the latest an all-day almost complete bushwhack over the Big Indian 3 in a soak-fest/thank goodness for dry clothes in a dry warm vehicle kind of hike). Saturday the stars aligned in all aspects of family scheduling/ice-finally-out/beautiful weather for a rating of 6 thumbs way up and 1 tired happy dog.
    The drive in on 23a was amazing, and despite appearing to be the touristy side of the hill the Hunter stretch of the drive got our adrenaline going as my daughter got her first up-close look at some mountains in over 8 months. The deep sharp notches, the ski resort and firetower, the devils path kept her glued to the window for the final half hour. We were about the 7th car in the platte clove pa as we pulled in around 9am, looked like we would only be seeing a few other hikers as all except 2 or 3 were signed in for huckleberry. The warm-up part of the hike was mostly dry til we got up to the upper part of the snowmobile trail, at which point everything I had seen that said it would be muddy, was entirely not joking. At one point i went to upper shin in muck, but as we had sandals waiting for us later and it was sunny and warm there was no question as to our going right through the slop and trying out the wp-ing of our gaiters and hikers. We made our way around this area of the hill, and took a break at the cairn junction. The climb from the snowmobile trails to the summit was really fun, my daughter had a blast and although school sports and other extracurriculars take up most of her free-time and energy lately, this section really reminded her how much she likes the cats and adk. We gained the summit and took marker pics, and headed down to Hurricane Ledge for lunch. The views of the devils path were amazing as expected, but it was really neat to see firsthand the dramatic change from the mountains down to the Hudson valley. I explained to my daughter that the views from the ascent side combined with HL side let us probably see at least 2 or 3 other states past the Hudson. After awhile I left the family to enjoy lunch a few mins longer by themselves as I gave in to selfish curiosity and descended then ascended the fun parts of the ledge trail before we all headed back up the summit together.
    I knew there was a plane crash east of the summit, and I was wondering about possibly giving the family a taste of real bushwhacking off the dome, so as we all went down the east path from the summit I jogged ahead to see if a family descent off the main ledge to the east was doable. I came to a quick stop and a definite no answer on top of the drop-off rock overlooking the very tiny trees way below, and a quick look around the corners from there sent us back uphill, but luckily on the way back up we found the upper plane crash off the herdpath. We respected the scene by taking only pictures before heading back to the summit and then down to the snowmobile trails. While we didn't see the lower plane crash we did pass through the indian camp circle as we took a variation on our return down to the main trail.
    Here we started to see many many hikers both coming and going, and my jaw dropped when we got to the parking area to see cars packed in every possible spot and lining the drive, and I couldn't believe the number of register entries after ours from the morning, mainly for huckleberry. We did skip that option on Saturday, and I think if we go back for huckleberry we will try for a weekday in hope of less crowds.
    Before returning home we just had to drive down crazy platte clove in low gear to the foothills before coming back up. Reminded me of smugglers notch except on steroids. Was neat to read about it later on Wikipedia, with the road-bike racers considering it a comparable or even harder climb than a lot of the alpine sections of the tour de france. Plus scary finding out that the viewpoints there are drop-points for mobsters.
    Thankfully my daughter shares my post-hike desire for some thin crust, so we tried out Mama's in Hunter. Pretty good, but it definitely was not Donatello's in Arkville.
    Overall a super day in the cats with the family on a fun peak with great views.
    35er #3133

    "Good Thoughts, Good Words, Good Deeds"