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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Sleeping Lion Mountain(Catskills)

My buddy Jim and I were looking for a short morning hike today before a small afternoon snow came in, so we agreed on 3408 foot Sleeping Lion Mountain in the Catskills.  This peak is a trail-less mountain and one of the hundred highest in the Cats.  There are several different approaches that you can make to hike the mountain, but we opted for a pretty straight forward bushwhack up from South Beech Ridge Road.  We parked in the DEC parking lot on the south side of the road and headed into the woods.  Stone wall at the parking lot under only a couple inches of snow, with an elevation of about 1850 feet.
 We began heading due south through open woods, ascending ever so slightly.  Paused to see small animal prints along this fallen tree.  One of the best parts of having a light snow cover is that you can see all the footprints of the critters that move about the forest.
 Passing through a gorgeous red pine plantation that was likely planted back in the 1930's by the CCC.
 The lower elevations of Sleeping Lion Mountain are a maze of stone walls.
 A peek a boo view north through the trees as we continue our slow climb south.
 After a little over a mile, the ascent became steadier as we neared 3000 feet.
 We had to dig around for views on this day, and found this sliver of a view point down into the Spruceton Valley.
 As we gained the main ridge line around 3300 feet,  the wind really picked up and the snow got much deeper.  The wind chill up here must have been zero or below.
 The scene along the ridge line was pure winter, with ice and snow clinging to every tree limb.  We trudged our way through about a foot of snow southeast towards the summit.
 The wooded 3408 foot summit was marked by a small rock cairn.  My 59th CHH peak!
 After enjoying a quick snack, the cold wind pushed us to begin the hike back.  I really enjoyed the beauty of the winter up along the ridge stopping to soak in the stark beauty a couple more times on my way back.  Jim continued on over towards Condon Hollow, as I headed back down to the car. 
 Hiked about 4 miles RT, with about 1600 feet elevation gain.
With the early start we managed to beat the snow, so I decided to take some back roads home. Here is a gorgeous farm scene I captured along Cunningham Road in the town of Durham.

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