Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Firetower Challenge: Overlook Mountain

After being hyper focused on Marathon training since August, I was excited for a change of scenery and muscle use. I was just nearing the end of my 2 weeks of rest post marathon and decided that a 5 mile hike would do the soul and heart some good. I didn't set an alarm on Saturday morning, but woke up at 6:30 and began the process of digging out my winter hiking gear. Most of it was in one spot, and I found myself packed and on the road quick. I used the coordinates found on Catskill Mountaineer ( my go to for hiking info in the catskills) with my Samsung, which lead me directly to the trailhead. 
 There were a few cars parked, but most of the people must have been waiting for friends, because they all stayed in their cars as I used the portajon and put my pack & Marcydog's pack on.  (she was gifted one in the summer !) I was signed in by 9:30 and on my way. The trail is an old jeep road, very wide and smooth. A bit boring in terms of hiking, but great for me since it had been 3 months since I've been on trails.  
Marcy stayed on leash and we made our way up the mountain. I had worn a base layer, a pull over and at the last second, my hiking sweater, it was a bit windy ( I can't seem to catch a break from the wind this year)  but a good portion of the trail was protected, so I varied between feeling too warm and comfortable.  
In less than an hour, I found myself at the ruins of the Overlook Mountain House.  Marcy and I were the only ones there, I walked around a bit, but Marcy was not. N.O.T. interested. With Marcy's encouragement, I continued on to the Firetower.  
The half a mile from the hotel to the firetower was the only icy part. I was able to walk slowly and dodge around, it wasn't icy enough to pull out my kahtoolas. When I reached the summit, a pair and their dog were in the clearning, wanting to give them space, I had a seat at the observers cabin and enjoyed hot veggie broth.  (on the windy summit, it was amazing.  I don't think I've ever been happier with myself.)
It was windy, which is unfortunate because it is a lovely summit. I didn't spend much time to enjoy it, but did climb up a few sections of the firetower for the views.  Typically I'll climb the whole thing, but the wind made it unappealing.  

We made it back down to the hotel for a bit more exploring.  There were quite a bit more people wandering about, which made it about .25 less creepy.  But I still didn't linger too long. As I made my way down, It was a bit reminiscent of hiking Gray Peak in Colorado, a very steady stream of people.  It seemed that I didn't ever go more than a minute without coming across a group  Some were geared up, others look like they got a bit lost at the flea market, in shoes that seemed a bit questionable for a 5 mile walk. Marcy and I said our hellos and kept moving along.  
While boring, jeep trails are great for descents, easy to pick up speed without worrying about rocks and ankles.  Around the 2 hour mark, I was back at the register.  (which only 5 of the many many groups had actually signed in...)  
The parking lot was now packed - with lots of NYC folks parking like jerks all over.  I was glad I had my early start and was able to enjoy the mountain climb and summit to myself.  

I had thought about walking around Woodstock, but Marcy isn't a city dog (aka doesn't greet other dogs on leash well)  and I didn't want her to spend the day laying in the car.  
Although I could see it being a day trip for a short hike & lunch in town another time.It was nice to get on the trails,  I am still strongly motivated by a few running goals, but am also hoping to get many mountains climbed before next summer.

5 miles RT - (2 hours with a few quick breaks) 

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