I am not an avid hiker, but I do like to get outdoors as much as I can. Last year we hiked the Grand Canyon and even though it was tough, it was a great workout. My friend Cindy is really the one that gets me out of my comfort zone and convinces me to do these hikes and outdoor adventures. In April she asked Cheryl and I if we wanted to go hiking in the Catskills in New York. There are a lot of really great trails and it’s closer to us than the Adirondacks.
She researched different hiking trails and found one she really wanted to do called Poet’s Ledge. It’s a 6.14 mile round trip from where we park to the ledge and back. Now for anyone that runs or walks, 6 miles doesn’t seem like a lot. When you are hiking uphill and downhill, over rocks and trees and stuff it takes a lot longer.
We left pretty early so we could get started on the hike before it got hot out. I brought my lighter backpack that has a place for a camelbak. It was still on the cooler side so I wore jeans and a t-shirt and I had a light folding jacket just in case.
There really is no designated parking area so we parked on the side of the road in a pull off and walked down to where we thought the trail started. You had to walk up behind people’s houses so it was kind of difficult to find the start of the trail, but we eventually found it. There were specific instructions about where NOT to park which was very helpful.
Since it was still early spring there really wasn’t a lot of greenery and there were a lot of leaves. Leaves tend to be slippery so we had to be careful on the steep parts of the trail. We saw a lot of really cool rock formations along the way. Cheryl even found one made into a chair!
I was getting hot as we were walking but oddly enough we saw a lot of ice along the trail.
This was after we climbed the Giant Steps. It was named well since they really were GIANT steps made of rocks up the side of the mountain.
About an hour in we started to see some really amazing views out over the mountains. It’s so cool to see so much nature that hasn’t really been too disturbed by people. From here you can see down into the Palenville and Hudson Valley.
The hike after that was through a more wooded area. It was called Twilight Park. The terrain would be vertical then flat then back to vertical again. The large amount of leaves made it slippery.
Around 2 hours in we reached a split in the trail toward the Long Path. We continued on toward Poet’s Ledge through the Boreal Forest. This was also where the trail got slightly dangerous. In the catskills they have a lot of black bear. The trail guide warned that the are we were going to be walking through had a lot of black bear and to be careful.
Now I like nature unless it is nature that can hurt me. I was petrified that we were going to get attached by a bear. Cindy assured us that as long as we made noise the bears would think we were a larger animal and leave us alone. To be on the safe side we decided to sing. What song did we choose? Hakuna Matata from the Lion King of course! Thinking back now we definitely should have also belted out Bear Necessities from the Jungle Book. BALOO!! Soon we were at a ledge that we had read warnings about. In June and July there are blueberry bushes along the ledge and the black bears are very prevalent. Luckily they had not bloomed yet and we didn’t see any other animals.
Finally we made it to the ledge! It was VERY windy and the ledge area had a large crack in it that we had read about that was a 30 foot drop into a cave so we had to make sure to avoid it, but the view was spectacular. It took us about 2 hours to get there.
We had also read about a waterfall near the ledge so we went hunting for it. We found it but it was frozen too! It would definitely be beautiful if it was warmer out.
So after we took some pictures at Poet’s Ledge we headed back down the trail. On the way up we did not see any other people, but we did on the way down. First we encountered two guys hiking about 20 minutes from the ledge. Next about halfway down we encountered another group of guys (one was hiking barefoot), but other than that the trail was peaceful.
Somehow on the way up we failed to notice a really pretty small waterfall. We stopped on the way back down to rest by it. Since it was further down the mountain this one was not frozen.
We made is back down to the beginning in around 3.5-4 hours. I can’t remember how many, but we made good time on the way back down. I did get a little too hasty at one point and slipped on some wet rocks. Luckily my camelbak was still pretty full and cushioned my fall.
It was a really fun adventure hiking in the catskills. I think we will definitely be trying out other trails in the future! The area we were in was near the Rip Van Winkle trail. I find it funny that one of the only reasons I know who Rip Van Winkle is I have to attribute to Wishbone. That little pup taught me so much about classic books.
Once we got back to the car we headed home and stopped in a nearby town to get lunch. It was such a nice day out and we had done a lot so a nice cold beer and food sounded like an excellent end to our hiking adventure!