Friday, December 12, 2008

Katterskill Falls Hike and Campout, Part 1

The Troop met at Katonah Elementary School early Saturday morning (December 6) for a 2 hour drive up to the Catskills and directly to the Kaaterskill Falls trailhead. Once we got to the parking lot, we didn't waste any time and hit the trail that leads to the falls. At times the trail was icy and treacherous. The hike was up hill with about 250’ of elevation change over three-quarters of a mile. Once we arrived, the falls were absolutely amazing. It's clear why so many painters of the Hudson River School chose this site. We ate lunch at the falls and hiked back down to cars.

Next we drove to South Lake and hiked 1.5 miles to the old site of the old Catskill Mountain House. One of the famed "grand hotels" that served tourists from 1823 until it closed in 1941 and was abandoned. The property was acquired by New York State in 1962, who chose to remove the old hotel in a controlled burn in 1963 (Conservation Department policy forbids most man-made structures on land designated "forever wild"). While the grand hotel is no longer there, the view remains incredible out and over the Hudson all the way to the Berkshires in Massachusetts.

We hiked back to cars and drove to the trailhead for the path up to our campsite, which was part way up Windham Mountain. The hike was 1 mile, with full pack. The trail was not easy, and we experienced a 350’ elevation change, rocks and ice path. Much of time the path was more like a stream. Darkness fell just as we arrived and set up. We cooked in dark, and all three patrols made more delicious food than we could all possibly east. The site had a lean-to that some of the kids slept in. We had a decent troop campfire. Rocco spent much time regaling us with the tragedy of his cut-off fingertip from earlier in the year. The boys hit sack early. Temperatures dropped to 19 degrees, and in the morning we woke up to a dusting of snow! We ate a good breakfast, broke camp and hiked back down mountain. We were back in our cars by 10:30 for the ride home.

All in all, it was a very successful camping trip that the boys enjoyed. Our 15 boys were well-prepared and had a great winter camping experience! Thanks to Bob Suda, Sr. for organizing the trip and securing the necessary camping permits from the State. Thanks also to Hank Tschorn, Tim Baron, Chris Kristensen, Don Fait, Alex Bacon and Ben Carlin. Please enjoy the photos below, provided by Alex Bacon.
--Chris Kristensen, Ass't. Scoutmaster

Hank plots a course...

Scouts gather at the Elementary School

Mr. Suda says, "Who wants to ride in the back of the truck?"

The Kaaterskill Falls trailhead

Hrm, this trail seems easy enough...

Okay, maybe it's not so easy

Kaaterskill Falls

Troop 1 Katonah takes lunch at Kaaterskill Falls

The impressive view at Kaaterskill Falls

Historical marker at Kaaterskill Falls

Enjoying the view from the site of the Catskill Mountain House

Looking across the Hudson Valley and into Massachusetts

Let's get out of here so we can set up camp!