After a fun and busy night at the Four Thousand Footer Club annual awards ceremony at the high school in Exeter, NH - with more than 700 people in attendance - and a late night stay-over in Auburn, MA, Carol and I headed to New York State for our annual spring vacation in the beautiful Catskill Mountains.
Unlike most springs, this year there was lots of snow remaining on the mountains, thanks to several heavy snowfalls in March. When we stopped at a Stewart's convenience store on Rt. 23 near Cairo, we had a good look at the snow still cloaking the northern slopes of Blackhead Mountain. This would be a week for seeking out south-facing hikes with the hope of finding some bare ground.
After unpacking at our rented condo in Hunter, we headed out to the southern end of the scenic Escarpment Trail in the North-South Lake area outside Haines Falls. Late in the afternoon we parked on Schutt Road and headed downhill through some nice hemlock forest.
A footbridge offers a view of a classic Catskill creek, which drops over famous Kaaterskill Falls downstream.
Trail junction with the neat "TRAIL TO" signs used by the NY DEC.
The Layman Monument honors a firefighter who gave his life battling a forest blaze in 1900.
Beautiful weather and trail conditions.
The first of several open viewpoints overlooking the deep Kaaterskill Clove.
Looking across the Clove to Kaaterskill High Peak (L) and Round Top Mountain (R).
Cool overhanging rock near the outlook.
Sunset Rock, the finest outlook along this section of the Escarpment Trail, was bathed in evening sunshine.
Many old initials are carved into the ledge.
Just 0.1 mile farther was our turnaround spot, a place known as Inspiration Point, with a view out through the Clove to the Hudson River valley. a nice way to kick off our Catskills vacation.