Liftoff for 10 hardy souls on Earth Day Weekend to the top of four Catskill High Peaks.
Many of these veteran hikers are members of the ADK Club, Albany Chapter, but the organization hikes more than just the ‘dacks. Saturday was spent climbing 13 miles (yes, 13) on the Devil’s Path Ridge.
Our 10-hour trek included some of the most challenging but scenic hiking in the Catskills.
We started the torturous morning at 5am at the Albany Plumeri Sports Complex off Frisbie Ave. We loaded into two cars and headed south on 1-87. Our distracted leader/driver missed Exit 21 but corrected his mistake getting off at Exit 22 and rerouting.
The hikers donned windbreakers for the expected rain, thick boots to save the ankles, walking poles and a bags of gorp (“good old raisins and peanuts”).
The girls wisely packed extra-strength Tylenol, Icy Hot vapor gel and sheets of thick moleskin. The guys relied on maps, GPS and pocket knives.
First up, Indian Head at 3,573 ft then Twin at 3,640 ft, next Sugarloaf at 3,800 and finally Plateau at 3,840 ft. The ridge line descends steeply with plenty of loose rock and narrow passages. It can be extremely dangerous if wet or icy.
Fortunately, the expected rain held off but the low-lying clouds refused to break. The first two mountains were shrouded in a blanket of fluff, Sugarloaf only tempted us and Plateau finally threw us a visual.
Still, even without the beautiful aerial views, the stories swapped and humor shared between strangers made it memorable.