Huntersfield Loop - April 12th

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Huntersfield Loop - April 12th

New postby mike » Mon Apr 14, 2014 12:59 pm

On Saturday we headed down to Huntersfield Mtn for our annual loop hike. We go every Spring. It is an exceptional hike at this time of year. I almost always see Gray Comma Butterflies and Mourning Clock Butterflies, which makes it even better.

We decided to try and drive up the Jim Cleveland Road side of the mountain instead of the Huntersfield Road side. There are usually snow drifts on the Huntersfield Road side. This year was no exception. The Jim Cleveland Road side is steep near the top, and this year had a little bit of snow on it. But, we got up to the pass just fine. We parked on top and found some snow on the road at the pass. Just over the pass on the Huntersfield Road side was completely full of snow. Someone tried to drive up the Huntersfield Road side and got stuck quite a few times.

Some hunters had been up there shooting. They shot up all the DEC signs and left lots of shell casing on the ground.

We headed up the trail with snowshoes and microspikes. On the trail up to the summit we used snowshoes. The trail was bare about 40% of the time, so we just marched on with snowshoes. But, looking back microspikes would have been a better option. We had lunch at the lean-to on top and registered for the hike. Not many people have been up there since December.

After lunch we continued with snowshoes down the NW ridge line. About 1-2' of snow on top. but, pretty soon the snow disappeared so we switched to microspikes. And finally we just bare-booted it. The weather was great and the views from the trail were good. Always a beautiful trip down the ridge line. Soon we entered the gorgeous conifer forest. One of the best in the Catskills. At this point we saw several Gray Comma butterflies. They were still small. About 2 weeks behind schedule. By next weekend they should be larger and on the summit. There was a small breeze which kept us cool. We hiked in our shirts and didn't need our jackets.

When we got back to the road the cascade waterfalls were running well. Always an amazing sight to see in the Spring.

We then hiked back up the Huntersfield Road. part way up we put on our microspikes and hiked back to the car. A real nice day out hiking.

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The Huntersfield Pass where Jim Cleveland and Huntersfield Road meet

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Some parts of the trail had snow and some parts didn't

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View of the Windham Valley from the Huntersfield Lean-To

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View of the Windham Valley from the Huntersfield Lean-To

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Beautiful Conifer Forest Road

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Snow, ice and water flowing out of the culverts on Huntersfield Road

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The upper part of Huntersfield Road - Covered with snow
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Re: Huntersfield Loop - April 12th

New postby mtnclimber » Mon Apr 14, 2014 11:37 pm

Awesome hike in the Spring. Maybe next weekend?
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Re: Huntersfield Loop - April 12th

New postby bikenhike » Wed Apr 16, 2014 7:08 pm

Huntersfield is a real nice hike in the Spring before the leaves come out. Sounds like you guys had a great time. With the snow lingering on I think people could hike it this weekend or next weekend and have a good time.
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Re: Huntersfield Loop - April 12th

New postby mike » Thu Apr 17, 2014 7:26 pm

I would say this weekend for sure, and next weekend. Make sure you drive up the Jim Cleveland Road side.
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Re: Huntersfield Loop - April 12th

New postby mtnclimber » Fri Apr 18, 2014 11:07 am

Sunday is out of the questions, but maybe Saturday. All depends upon the weather.
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Re: Huntersfield Loop - April 12th

New postby kennykb » Mon Apr 21, 2014 10:45 am

mtnclimber wrote:Sunday is out of the questions, but maybe Saturday. All depends upon the weather.

Saturday sounds good to me, too, if the weather holds. I'm going to be out of town Sunday and Monday.
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Re: Huntersfield Loop - April 12th

New postby kennykb » Tue Apr 22, 2014 9:39 pm

I would say this weekend for sure, and next weekend. Make sure you drive up the Jim Cleveland Road side.

I was thinking of possibly just parking back by the snowplow turnaround on Huntersfield Road and walking the road in (using spikes as necessary). I certainly shouldn't get stuck back that far. I imagine that by the weekend snowshoes will no longer be required? (They're in the back of my car anyway, but I'm figuring that there's no need to tote them.)

It sounds like a nice easy walk to start the season with. I only made it out a few times all winter. Things have been busy.
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Re: Huntersfield Loop - April 12th

New postby mike » Tue Apr 22, 2014 11:38 pm

I'm not sure this weekend for me.

I would not park in the snowplow turnaround. The owner there is sensitive to people parking there. But, you might be able to drive all the way up by this weekend. I would bring microspikes. Leave the snowshoes. You could also park by the gate part way up Huntersfield Road. I love the Huntersfield Loop in the Spring.

Nice hike to start out the season. My feet have been bothering me, but are getting much better.

Also been thinking about doing the Kaaterskill Amp hike too.
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Re: Huntersfield Loop - April 12th

New postby Birdman » Wed Apr 23, 2014 9:15 pm

I would join on Saturday but we have an Earth Day cleanup this weekend in Saugerties. The roads are pretty dirty. I sorta adopted a stretch of road and cleaned it up last year as my first full spring living in the Catskills. I did this also when I lived in Connecticut. Anyhow enjoy the hike. Last forecast I saw was cloudy with 40% chance of showers. I would definitely like to hook up another time.
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Re: Huntersfield Loop - April 12th

New postby kennykb » Mon Apr 28, 2014 12:53 am

Well, I did the loop, and also out of curiosity walked over to Ashland Pinnacle. (That trip would have been hell later in the year, with all the prickers and nettles growing into the trail.) Trip report and pictures at my blog.

I had the place to myself. I think that's literally true. I didn't see anyone else in the register.

It rained most of the day. The trail got a trifle damp.

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Wet woods road by ke9tv, on Flickr

There was also a lot of blowdown on the trails, especially between Huntersfield and Ashland Pinnacle. I cleared what I could, there's some big stuff that'll have to wait for the trail maintainers. Nothing that's hard to get over or around.

The only snow I saw all day was the last vestiges of the stuff on the ski runs at Windham.

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Ski runs by ke9tv, on Flickr

The view from the lean-to was a trifle hazy on account of the rain.

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View from Huntersfield lean-to by ke9tv, on Flickr

The old gravel pit was a mess. I picked up most of the trash on the way out. It was starting to sleet when I got done. By the time I got down to Prattsville, it was in the upper 40s and sprinkling rain. The mountains make their own weather.
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