Sunday, May 10, 2015


After a long and hot bushwhack to Blackhead Mountain the day before, Mike and I decided to take a lazy day today, a combination of touring, short walks and geocaching. Our first stop was for a short walk up the Becker Hollow Trail to a geocache and a view of the brook that drains from Becker Hollow.

Next we stopped at Notch Lake along Rt. 214 up in Stony Clove Notch, one of the more picturesque scenes in the Catskills. It's always amazing to see how steep the walls are in this narrow gap through the mountains.

After stops in Phoenicia, Mount Tremper and Big Indian, we strolled partway up the Rochester Hollow Trail in the Shandaken Wild Forest. This walk had been highly recommended to us by friends.

It was a beautiful stroll up an old woods road into a peaceful valley.

There are many magnificent stone walls in the hollow.

A perfect easy trek for an unusually hot early spring day.

The old road follows a typically pretty Catskill stream.

About 3/4 of a mile in we found a nice spot to hang out beside the brook for a while.

Nearby was a patch of blooming wood anenome.

Sauntering our way back to the car.

Then we headed to Pine Hill and drove up Lower Birch Creek Road to a state-owned former farmstead high in the hills. This spot was recommended in Alan Via's interesting book The Castkill 67, a guide to the "Catskill 100 Highest" peaks that are under 3500 ft. This is a beautiful property with a farm pond, an old farmhouse, and acres of open fields. The long crest of Halcott Mountain presides to the north. It also held two geocaches, one of which I found, the other, presumably hidden in a stone wall, I didn't.

From the fields there are views of the ski slopes on Belleayre Mountain.

 Our last stop was for a cleverly hidden geocache at Halcott Falls along Rt. 42 in Deep Notch, where I started my bushwhack up Halcott Mountain a year ago.

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