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Monday, March 13, 2017

Daley Ridge(Catskills)

Today was the calm before the storm.  With a potentially historic snowstorm knocking on our doorstep tomorrow, I opted to get out and do a nice hike in the Catskills this afternoon.  Today's goal was to hike from Notch Inn Road in Edgewood at an elevation of 1780 feet all the way up and across scenic Daley Ridge, towards Plateau Mountain's south slopes above 3500 feet. I left my car at a small parking area along gravel Notch Inn Road, right beside a small bridge crossing.  From there, I hiked up the road towards the last house and then continued heading up on an old extension of the road.  This old road is very rocky and obvious and is marked with yellow trail markers. 
 The old road is badly eroded in spots and climbs steadily, nearly 600 feet up through Silver Hollow Notch where you arrive at a trail sign.  To the right the Warner Creek Trail heads up and over Silver Hollow(Edgewood Mountain), and to the left, the blue blazed Warner Creek Trail heads up and over Daley Ridge towards Plateau Mountain.  I turned left.
 The trail begins level for a bit, but soon begins climbing at a steady rate using switch backs to ease the grade.  As I ascended, the view behind me through the bare winter trees became quite nice.
 The climb up the mountain is made much more interesting by passing up, through and over jumbled rocks and large boulders.
 
 Switchbacks are used to ascend these impressive rock ledges towering above the trail.
 The first view point is just a few yards off the trail and provides quite an impressive look west across the notch towards 3000 foot Silver Hollow Mountain.
 The ascent up Daley Ridge continues and soon comes to another viewpoint.  This view to the southeast isn't quite as broad, but does provide a nice look towards 3440 foot Olderbark Mountain.
 Just a few feet off the trail, I managed to find some large rock ledges that offered up some screened views down towards the Warner Creek valley.
 The trail soon levels out as it crests Daley Ridge and enters a spruce and fir forest, which lasts for a bit over half a mile.  You have climbed over 1300 feet at this point, so the level ridge walk is quite a welcome change.
 After passing through the spruce and fir, the trail enters more of a mixed forest and drops slightly, before resuming a climb up the southwest slopes of Plateau Mountain.  A nice view point on the right gives a great shot of the summit ridge some 400 feet above. 
 The same viewpoint also offers a fantastic shot back at Daley Ridge, which you had just climbed over.
 Pushing on, the trail rises to the northeast, soon arriving at a 3500 foot elevation sign.  A spring is found via a short, spur path to the right.  The trail ascends nearly vertical past this sign up to the last viewpoint of the day.
  Arriving at the viewpoint, which is nothing more than an open ledge.
 The open ledge, however, provides outstanding views(quite possibly the best of the day) south over Daley Ridge and extending all the way towards the Burroughs Range beyond.
 Southwest view.
Really enjoyed the views, but unfortunately due to a late start decided to turn back before continuing on to Plateau Mountain's 3840 foot summit.  Having already summited Plateau, this wasn't a big deal.  On the return hike, I stopped again at the rock ledge overlooking the Warner Creek Valley with Olderbark Mountain(L), and Daley Ridge(R).
 Olderbark Mountain's long ridge line to the south.
 I took my time with the steep descent, enjoying the hike back.  Round trip was about 6.5 miles, with an elevation gain of nearly 1800 feet.  A very scenic area right smack dab in the middle of the Catskills.  These peaks will all look much different by this time tomorrow.

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