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Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Vly Mountain(Catskills)

At 3529 feet, Vly Mountain is the 32nd highest peak in the Catskills, but is one of the magical 35 Catskill High Peaks over 3500 feet in elevation.  There is no maintained trail to the summit, so the hike is considered a bushwhack.  To get here, I parked on the right side of he road near the snowplow turnaround, at the end of maintained County Route 3, just north of the small hamlet of Fleischmanns(about 31 miles west from exit 19 on Route 28).  Be sure to park all the way to the right and to not block the snowplow turnaround.  Also, there are Posted Property signs all around, but if you stay on the old road you will be fine.
Continuing north along old, unmaintained County Route 3.
A small stream flows beside the road for a little while.  It was flowing pretty good today, with all of our recent rains.
After a little less than a mile of hiking and about 550 feet of elevation gain, you will arrive at a hunters cabin.  Turn right at the fork here and look for state land signs.
After bearing right just prior to reaching the hunters cabin. you will see NY State land signs, as well as blue paint blazing.  The unofficial trail to Vly begins here and is very easy to follow.
A typical section of trail on the way up Vly.
There was absolutely no snow, and only some very small sections of ice to be found. 
A decent view north towards Bearpen Mountain.
Vly Mountain is well known for not having any views, but int he winter, with the leaves off the trees, there are some screened views down towards the valley.  Schoharie Reservoir to the northeast, can be made out in the distance from this vantage point.
Reaching the flat summit area of Vly Mountain.
After 1.8 miles, I arrived at the summit.  Signed my name on the note pad inside the canister.
Obligatory summit photo.
There are several small foot paths that lead away from the canister, but to nowhere in general.  There are some broken views through the bare trees.  I obtained this view by climbing upon a large boulder near and pushing branches out of my way.
The uneventful, flat 3529 foot summit of Vly Mountain.
After wandering around the summit in search of views, I finally turned back, retracing my steps down off the mountain, closely following the blue paint blazes.
Coming back down one of the trickier spots, with some patchy ice. 
Hiked 3.6 miles RT through open woods.  Although considered a bushwhack hike, this is actually a very straightforward, easy hike.

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