Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Fire Tower Challenge: Red Hill

There are so many things that I love about hiking. I love the personal challenge of summit-ing mountains, the quiet time that can be found on the trail, hanging out with friends, and bringing others out on hikes.

My Dad and I have similar schedules during the summer, he's retired and I'm practicing for retirement each summer. Recently my dads doctor told him to work on walking 10,000 steps each day ( yes i told him that myself when I bought him a fitbit 2 years ago - but now he's listening!). He's been diligent with it and was eager to go for a hike with me. I definitely get my athleticism from my dad and while he did take me hiking a few times as a child, my love of the outdoors developed entirely on my own. (although through their financial backing that sent me to summer camp).  

There are few things as fulfilling as sharing a hobby. I knew that a few of my recent fire tower hikes would be good for us to start on, but I am a peakbagger - I love hiking new to me mountains. Rather than repeat any (although I still plan to repeat Hadley so that Marcy Dog can climb it) I did my research and found that Red Hill Fire Tower would be a great option. 

We set off late on a Tuesday but with only 3 miles to climb, I wasn't worried. I packed my bag as usual - with plenty of water for both Dad, Marcy and I. We then hit the road - one of my favorite things so far about the fire-towers, has been the drives to the wide range of places in both the Catskills and Adirondacks. We drove through some towns I recognized from previous hikes or visiting friends but generally didn't really know where we were. (thankfully the gps mostly did)

Marcy dog ready to drive us to the mountain.

We started hiking at 1pm and were the only people to have signed in at the trail head that day. Since no one was signed in, I decided I'd let Marcy have a bit of an off leash run.  Unfortunately since she has spent the better part of the past 4 months on leash - she had forgotten how to behave (ie staying on trail, returning when called)  she took off after a critter and it took close to 5 minutes until she caught back up with us. Not wanting to lose my dog on the mountain, she was hooked back up the leash as we made our way to the fire tower. We took our time, I forced water onto my dad every 15 minutes but we plugged away and made it to an awesome green space. 

There is an old observers cabin & privy and 3 different picnic areas.  My only regret for the day was that I hadn't packed a book.  All 3 of us took naps for a bit enjoying the quiet and cool breeze. Eventually I tied Marcy off a table and Dad and I began the climb to the last platform (the cabin was locked) The tower had great views of the area.  I can't play 'name that mountain' very well in the Catskills but enjoyed the view. I think this hike marks the most amount of time I've ever spent on a summit (over an hour) before we hiked back to my car. 

It was a great hike followed by some ice cream and hibachi to round out the day. I feel so lucky to be able to spend time with my dad doing something that I love.

Red Hill Fire Tower: 2.86 miles RT

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