The Stinging Truth about Bushwhacking

Nettles - not poison ivy but just as itchy.
Nettles – not poison ivy but just as itchy.
When the Catskill Hiker warns you of stinging nettles, do yourself a favor and don’t wear shorts. While trying to bushwhack a 3500 peak in Greene County today, the thorny plant rubbed against our fleshy ankles, calves and knee caps producing a stinging, itching sensation. Ouch, indeed!

At a height of about 10-inches for the season, this irritating weed stopped us from reaching Halcott Mountain but not before we accidentally traversed up Sleeping Lion Mountain first. The Lion is tame – she’s only 2,255 ft but blowdown and loose rock along the creek line can be tricky.

It was the first time George and I ever climbed a mountain without a trail or markers to rely on. Today’s hike was a brief introduction to the 12 more bushwhacking mountains that await me on my goal to climb all 35. Admittedly, even for a small hike, the effort was a bit daunting.

We carried plenty of essentials otherwise; fluids, food, a compass, safety kit, flashlight, phone, can of bug repellent, etc. If only we were mindful enough to pack a a long pair of poke-proof pants. Plagued by scratches and a little deflated by the lack of views (expected though), we circled back down, staying closer to Bushnellsville Creek.

The dog we were caring for this week didn’t seem fazed by the sharp perennial but took highly to resting in a pool of water when given the chance.

Bushwacking up Sleeping Lion Mountain

Bushwacking up Sleeping Lion

A Nettle Hurts!

Bushwacking up Halcott/Sleeping Lion