Wednesday, April 27, 2016


On a sunny and somewhat hazy Thursday we took a relatively easy hike in to Diamond Notch in the Hunter-West Kill Wilderness.  This 3 1/2 mile round trip on the Diamond Notch Trail features cascades, nice woods, a lean-to, and the wild, narrow cut between West Kill Mountain and Southwest Hunter known as Diamond Notch.

Starting from Spruceton Road (itself a scenic journey by car), you pass several cascades on the West Kill along the easy-graded trail.

Stream scenery is best when the leaves are off the trees.

Carol gets the shot at another small cascade.

Diamond Notch Falls is reached by an easy hike of just under a mile.

The Diamond Notch Trail meets junctions with the Devil's Path on either side of a bridge over the West Kill, just above the falls.

The trail is rather rocky as it approaches Diamond Notch, with the slope of Southwest Hunter (aka Leavitt Peak) rising on the left.

Approaching the V-shaped notch.

Mossy rocks.

Broken talus on the Southwest Hunter side.

There's a great open stretch of trail in the heart of the notch.

A hazy distant view of Wittenberg, Cornell and Slide.

A fine sitting rock, where I later took a snooze in the sun.

More talus below the trail.

Looking up at the steep slope of West Kill Mountain.

The trail hugs a narrow shelf along the steep slope.

Peering down to the bottom of the cut.

Farewell to the sitting rock after an hour's sojourn.

The Diamond Notch Shelter was in excellent shape.

View of Diamond Notch Falls from the topside ledges.

An even higher view from up on the trail. (Photo by Carol Smith)

The first trout lilies of the season for us.

"Forever Wild"

Later that afternoon we walked and geocached on the Windham Path, a scenic, town-managed recreation path in the town of Windham.

This was a fun series of geocaches.

The path is well-graded and of gentle grade, and offers numerous views across the fields.

Thomas Cole Mountain, Camel's Hump and the Caudal, in the Blackhead Range.

Windham High Peak.

Along the Batavia Kill.

Bloodroot was blooming in profusion along one section of the trail. After this walk we enjoyed an excellent dinner at the Cave Mountain Brewery in Windham with Tom and Laurie Rankin of the Catskill 3500 Club, a great way to top off the day.

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