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Monday, March 16, 2015

Slide Mountain(Catskills)/ Ramshorn-Livingston Sanctuary(Catskill)

There are only two 4,000 foot mountain peaks in the Catskills, Slide and Hunter Mountains, with Slide being the tallest at an elevation of 4,180 feet.  Due to this fact, it is one of the most popular hikes in the Park.  The trail head can be found by getting off exit 19 off the thruway and taking Route 28 west for about 30 miles to the junction with County Route 47.  Turn left and proceed south for 8 miles to a large parking lot on the left side of the road.
 Only one other car was in the lot when I arrived at the icy parking lot.  I began climbing up the yellow marked Phoenica-East Branch Trail through mixed woods  with broken views at my back.
 After .7 miles I turned left on the red marked Whittenburg-Cornell-Slide Trail, which climbs steeply through deciduous woods.
 The trail continues to climb at a moderate clip and soon you will see a 3500 foot marker.
 The trail begins to level out a bit, allowing for a nice breather, before climbing up through balsam fir.
 One of the first really nice views available on the trail.
 Fresh snow on needles.
Another broken view.
 After getting above 3,700 feet the woods became noticeably whiter with snow.
 The cold, soaking rain back home this weekend looks like it was all snow at the higher elevations.
 The woods near the trail as I continued up past 3800 feet.
 Deep evergreens crowd the trail nearing the more level summit plateau area.
Once above 4,000 feet the trail passes through very winter like scenes.
 Wind blown snow.

 Just below the summit, an awe inspiring view opens up from a rock ledge.
 So many peaks can be seen from this viewpoint, that it is breathtaking.
 What an amazing panorama.
 Standing on the ledge, with this view in front of you, it is almost surreal.
 Dizzying views. 
 Another panorama just below the summit, with views of Sherrill, North Dome,all of the Devils Path as well as Cornell and Whittenburg, and many other peaks.
 Giant Ledge and Panther Mountain directly north.
 Just past the true summit is a large clearing with snowy evergreens and distant views.

Beyond the snow capped trees is a your first view of the 12 mile long Ashokan Reservoir. 
 A better view of the Reservoir to the south and east.
 This view is known as the Old Man of the Mountain.
 After leaving the summit area, I walked back .6 miles down off the summit to the blue blazed Curtis-Ormsbee Trail on the left.  This trail drops steadily through a beautiful stretch of evergreens.
 A viewpoint to the south and west known as Pauls Lookout, provides a great view of  flat Table Mountain and Peekamoose to the left.
 A short distance further along the trail is a west facing view of Spruce, Hemlock and Doubletop Mountains.
 One of several very steep areas on the descent down the Curtis-Ormsbee Trail.
Completed the loop with warming temps slowly melting the snow.  6.8 satisfying miles RT.
After leaving the Slide Mountain Wilderness, I began heading home but the afternoon was still nice, so I stopped by the Ramshorn-Livingston Sanctuary in the Village of Catskill.  Traveling east on 9W in the middle of Catskill, take a right onto Grandview Ave and follow it all the way to a sharp right turn downhill, where a large sign and parking lot can be found.
 From the parking lot, an old farm road makes for a nice, easy wide trail to the south.
 A tidal swamp area surrounds a lowland section trail.
 A large, wooden observation tower makes for a phenomenal spot to scope out the surrounding wetlands.  This is a view down at the walkway.
 A panorama from the top of the observation tower.
 Swampy brush.
 Crossing Ramshorn Creek, which is slowly unfreezing.
 Completed the half mile wooded red loop trail and then followed the Old Farm Road back.  Took my time enjoying the rest of my pleasant walk though the Sanctuary.  Walked about 1.5 miles RT.

Total for the day 8.3 miles RT.

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