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Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Mount Utsayantha(Catskills)

After climbing Vly Mountain in the morning, I still had much of the day available, so I decided to visit 3214 foot Mount Usayantha, which looms high above the village of Stamford, just outside the Catskill blue line.  To find it, follow Route 23 just east of the village, turn south onto Mountain Road and follow this road as it climbs steeply.  Soon, you will crest the ridge and see a dirt road on the left with a sign for Mt Usayantha(pictured below).  If you are hiking, park here and hike the road for one mile to the summit.  The road can be driven all the way up, but is not maintained in the winter months.
Looking back at my car, parked at the beginning of Tower Road.
The road climbs steadily, but never overly steep on the way up.  Here is a big bend along the way.
The steepest ascent of the entire one mile hike up the road.  Due to the mild winter conditions, any car could easily make it up the road on this day.
Nearing the summit, the road reaches a small pull off and turn around area, with your first unobstructed views down to the valley.
After enjoying the first viewpoint, I continued up the last leg of the road to the top, with towers and power lines easily in sight.  This was the first spot I encountered snow the entire way.
Just prior to the actual summit area is a hang glider clearing, complete with a creeky wooden platform.  The view to the northeast is substantial, with Route 23 winding far below.  The body of  water is Mayham Pond, just over the Schoharie County line in the town of Gilboa.
A closer look at Mayham Pond and rural Schoharie County farmland.
Continuing on and after ascending 680 over one mile you will soon reach the wide open summit area.  This area is actually a village park, complete with picnic tables, benches and porta-potty, as well as a summit building and fire tower.  Here is a bench with a fantastic view to the north and west over the village of Stamford.
The vista from the summit is second to none, with views reaching as far as the eye can see.
A zoomed in look at the village of Stamford.
Although there are incredible ground level views, the fire tower provides even more substantial, 360 degree views.
Looking down at the summit building and village from the top of the fire tower.  There was only one other couple(pictured below) out enjoying the beautiful Tuesday afternoon.
Looking southeast back towards Tower Road and McGregor Mountain.
Looking southwest, with a great view of Churchill Mountain.  The home that sits high up on the hillside looks like a great place to be.
North facing views are endless.
Inside the cab of the fire tower.
Looking east towards the Schoharie/ Delaware County line.
After enjoying the incredible views for about a half hour, I retraced my steps back down the road for a total of 2 miles RT.

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