Lone & Rocky, where trees hug you back

For all you tree huggers out there, there’s a place in the Catskill Mountains that reciprocates that squeeze. I’m not talking about a smothering embrace from the thick branches of a deciduous tree like an ash or elm. I’m talking about the playful tug or pull of barren or dead bushes and dense conifers, not unlike a little kid yanking on their mom’s shirt from behind.

When navigating a pathless summit, thorny limbs snag loose clothing and hold onto you in a death grip. Given my reverence for what I consider sentient beings, I revel in the idea that a balsam fir or spruce likes me enough to hold me back or brush up again me. It’s kind-of sweet.

Well, it’s kind-of sweet until that initial touch turns into a stinging whack across the face. Hence the term bushwhack.

While bushwhacking up Rocky and Lone Mountains in the Catskills on New Years Day, Rick Shortt, my climbing companion, was savvy enough to remember his baseball cap. I remembered to duck and weave.

Shortt is a repository of clothing prowess and geographical knowledge. He and one of his best friends are the only people (that they know of) to have climbed all 97 of Virginia’s 4,000 foot peaks.

Shortt picked out the best routes to traverse hollows, creek beds and cols for the 13.1 mile roundtrip hike. And had it not been for his Garmin, I’m sure we would have ran into much higher concentrations of hemlocks, both going up and coming down.

Here now are some photographs of the experience, one that earned Shortt another peakbagging feather in his cap – an official Catskill 3500 footer completion.

Following Fishman's Path along Donavan's Creek, a tributary that flows into the East Branch of the Neversink River and overshadowed by Lone and Rocky mountains.  Fresh snow makes this lightly treaded trail especially picturesque.

Following Fishman’s Path along Donavan’s Creek, a tributary that flows into the East Branch of the Neversink River and overshadowed by Lone and Rocky mountains. Fresh snow makes this lightly treaded trail especially picturesque.

Scattered patches of firs and spruce largely dominate the top of Rocky mountain.  Be mindful to remove your sunglasses,  tuck loose scarfs into your pockets and hold your hands in front of you to catch branch 'boomerangs.'

Scattered patches of firs and spruce largely dominate the top of Rocky mountain. Be mindful to remove your sunglasses, tuck loose scarfs into your pockets and hold your hands in front of you to catch branch ‘boomerangs.’

Scrambling up a steep chute to the summit of Lone Mountain.  A good set of knee pads and a little arm strength go a long way here.   Photo by Rick Shortt.

Scrambling up a steep chute to the summit of Lone Mountain. A good set of knee pads and a little arm strength go a long way here. Photo by Rick Shortt.

A ledge on Rocky Mountain provides Rick with a southeastern view towards Ashokan High Point and beyond.

A ledge on Rocky Mountain provides Rick with a southeastern view towards Ashokan High Point and beyond.

Share this:
The following two tabs change content below.

Sonja Stark

The only thing domestic about me is that I was born in this country. Now, lets TRAVEL!

Latest posts by Sonja Stark (see all)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *