Revenge on Blackhead Mountain
Blackhead Mountain - NY Travel Blog› entry 741 of 1090 › view all entries
Earlier this year, in March, I tried to hike Blackhead Mountain the 4th highest mountain in the Catskills (see my blog here). At that time I found the Catskills were still much more covered by snow that I anticipated. Due to the presence of this snow and many icy ledges I had to abort the hike and head back just below the summit of Blackhead. I promised myself to return later this year to get my "revenge". That day was today! It was a beautiful autumn day, not hot but certainly not cold. And snow was still far away.
Yet this part of the Catskills was recently hit by Hurricane Irene in a hard way. I read about it, but now I could see it with my own eyes.
I recognized the site where I had parked my car in March. At that time the road to the trailhead was closed by the Highway Superintendent, and more limiting, by much snow. This time I could just continue on the dirt road. Parking was still a challenge because there were apparently many more hikers today. Soon I found myself back on the trail, climbing the rather steep slope of the shared lower section of Black Dome and Blackhead Mountains. Another evidence of Irene's influence on this part of the Catskills was the fact that two hiker's bridges over the Batavia Kill Creek had been washed away completely. The Department of Environmental Conservation had built two brand new ones.
The part where I had problems advancing the first time was no problem at all this time. I could even not imagine that this ledge was so difficult to climb in winter. After the saddle point between Black Dome ( the neighbor peak) and Bleak Head the climb that ultimately made me turn back was still steep but, now, way easier to do than with snow. Another nice seasonal thing: the trail was "decorated" with many colorful red berries.
My former turn around point was still a steep one. And after that, how ironical, the trail immediately turned flatter and slowly brought me at the 1201-meter (3940-ft) high summit of Blackhead. In order to avoid any misunderstandings a fellow hiker had written "TOP" on the huge stone slabs at the summit. The view was rather limited unfortunately.
I continued the loop hike down on the Escarpment Trail and then I discovered how good a decision it had been to turn back in March. This trail was really steep and would have been way too risky for a solo hiker. It had become later and the temperature had dropped significantly. Via the Batavia Kill Trail and its Lean To I made my way further down. I had my revenge, and it was sweet!
More pictures below!