Where to camp along the Poet's Ledge Hike

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Re: Where to camp along the Poet's Ledge Hike

New postby ken.rubin » Wed Aug 06, 2014 11:23 am

Well that sucks. I figured you had some seriously bad experience with dogs in the past.
Were you injured?
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Re: Where to camp along the Poet's Ledge Hike

New postby dundee » Wed Aug 06, 2014 3:57 pm

Yeah, I've been bitten a couple of times. Could've been worse. People sometimes have weird ideas about their dogs. Sometimes they think that no one else could possibly be on the same marted, state trail climbing the same popular mountain they are. There would be no problem if they had just leashed the dog.

Trekking poles have more than one use.
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Re: Where to camp along the Poet's Ledge Hike

New postby ken.rubin » Wed Aug 06, 2014 4:02 pm

For the record, I agree with you. I always leash my dog.
I'm a visitor where I hike (no woods around where I live).
So for me, its just a measure of respect for others.
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Re: Where to camp along the Poet's Ledge Hike

New postby mike » Wed Aug 06, 2014 9:42 pm

The Kaaterskill Mtn Range has the highest density of black bears in NYS. No shortage of them there. Most are around Roundtop. But, I have seen many between Twilight Park and Poet's Ledge. Sometimes I bring bear spray, and sometimes I don't. A couple years ago there was a cave (den) with a large male very near Poet's Ledge, but I understand that hunters got him. If I camped there I would bring bear spray. Chances are that you would not need it.

There is no DEC or herd path to Hawkeye Ledge anymore. But, if you hike from the trail junction to Poet's Ledge towards Viola Falls, you will come across a small stream (East Hillyer). Bushwhack up the stream bed. When the stream bed ends, you will be very close to Hawkeye Ledge. Once you get to Hawkeye Ledge you will find a large solid rock ledge with Pitch Pines growing between them. Hawkeye Ledge would be an excellent place to camp. There is a fire ring there.

Another great place to camp is just east of Buttermilk Falls on the rim. You will find a fire ring there. It is located about 200' off the trail and in some conifer trees.
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Re: Where to camp along the Poet's Ledge Hike

New postby ken.rubin » Thu Aug 07, 2014 9:40 am

The whole bear-spray thing confuses me. It is so dependent on conditions: 1) having it at the ready, 2) wind, 3) aim, 4) canister not malfunctioning, 5) the bears reaction, ...
Yet, how much would it suck not to have it when you need it?

I guess when it comes down to it, it is just 1 extra pound to carry.
And it would give just a tiny bit of peace of mind--even if we don't see any bears.
I guess peace of mind IS worth 1lb.

An existing fire-ring at Hawkeye Ledge sounds perfect.

Thanks, guys.
Take care.
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Re: Where to camp along the Poet's Ledge Hike

New postby mike » Fri Aug 08, 2014 2:09 pm

Ken

If you bring bear spray, you want to keep it handy. Like on your belt. If charged from a bear you want to get quick access to it. I have had mine out of the holster a couple of times. A couple of times I have been within a couple feet of a bear. Never had to fire it. I hike in Glacier National Park each year. Everyone out there carries it.

Wind is only a problem if it is blowing hard in your face. That doesn't happen that often. You can sometimes reposition yourself to keep the wind from blowing in your face.

It does spray about 45 feet. It comes out in a spray, so it is a lot like a shotgun. Getting it close usually works.

They rarely malfunction. The air pressure can diminish over the years. But, the spray will stay potent.

It is 95% effective.

I carry it about 50% of the time on the waterfall ledge. If camping I would definitely bring it. Using good food techniques will keep bears out of your camp.
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Re: Where to camp along the Poet's Ledge Hike

New postby ken.rubin » Fri Aug 08, 2014 2:46 pm

I changed my mind (due in no small part to your posts. Thanks now, and I'll thank you a million times if I have to use it). So I plan on bringing the canister.

Couple follow up questions:
1) The canister is just a tad under 2 years old. It is supposed to be good for 4 years. Would you test it, trust it or toss it? I've never depressed the lever (or taken off the safety).
2) I use a hammock. I imagine using the spray inside the hammock enclosure would be disastrous. What would you do if the bear came at you in there? I have a knife which is immediately accessible from inside (hanging from the ridge line). I plan on choosing a place to hang more defensively than normal. I'd love, for example, to hang in a tight copse of trees. And I do plan on extreme measures to avoid all odor contamination. We will not be cooking per se this trip. Just going with Mountain House food. Plus I got some opsacks (o2-barrier, heavy duty zip-locks) and an ursack (which is a light-weight sack with rock bag and paracord into which we will put all odoriferous items). All told, this amounts to about 2 lbs of bear-safety stuff.

Anyway, thanks for all the info.
Take care.
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Re: Where to camp along the Poet's Ledge Hike

New postby kennykb » Fri Aug 08, 2014 3:03 pm

East Coast black bears aren't Western bears. Except for the areas close to the towns (where bears get habituated to garbage cans), and maybe the area between KHP/Round Top and Kaaterskill Clove (I don't know what it is about the bears there), I don't worry all that much. I do a PCT bearbag hang, and I've never been bothered. Once by Echo Lake, I heard that 'huff-huff-whoof-whoof' sound, and I found no bark on my tree in the morning, but the bear didn't figure it out and my stuff was fine. Of course, if I see a lot of bear sign (tracks, scat, whatever), I camp somewhere else.
I'm not lost. I know exactly where I am. I'm right here.
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Re: Where to camp along the Poet's Ledge Hike

New postby mike » Fri Aug 08, 2014 7:59 pm

If the bear spray is 2 years old, it is fine. There is no way to test it. The best way is to weight it each year to see how much weight it may have lost. If it loses too much weight, then replace it.

Kevin is right about Black Bears. Most are very docile and just want to avoid people. But, every once in awhile you will find an aggressive one. Get between a mother and her cub, and she will be quite aggressive. Know from experience. Sometime older males can be aggressive if they don't feel good.

I personally do not worry about them very much. If you take food to bed with you, then you need to worry a lot.

grizzly bears found out west are very aggressive, but they do not live in the Catskills. You will only find black bears here.
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Re: Where to camp along the Poet's Ledge Hike

New postby ken.rubin » Thu Sep 04, 2014 12:01 pm

Just wanted to thank you guys for the advice. Was a perfect hike/camp. We ended up at Hawkeye ledge after checking out out each of the waterfalls up to buttermilk.

Did not see a bear or any other wild animal (except birds and a newt). I was sort of disappointed but it was just so beautiful up there and the views were fantastic.

Take care.
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