Leavitt Mtn

Balsam, Hunter, Leavitt Peak, North Dome, Sheridan, Sherrill
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mike
Posts: 1428
Joined: Sun Aug 09, 2009 9:20 pm
Location: Ravena, NY

Leavitt Mtn

Unread post by mike »

Alexis has been bugging me to do Leavitt Mtn for quite some time. I find Leavitt Mountain a little boring, so I have been stalling her for quite some time. But, today's hike to Leavitt Mountain was non-boring as it gets.

We wanted to miss the afternoon heat, so we started out fairly early. We got to the PA around 9am. Okay...early for alexis. We parked at the end of Spruceton Road. We registered at the DEC registration box and headed up the trail. It was a little humid, but the temperature was in the low 60's. The wind was perfectly still. When we got to Westkill Falls, we stopped for a moment to enjoy the falls. We then headed up the rocky and steeper trail. As we climbed the humidity got lower while the temperature started to rise. As the trail turned to the right, we hit the mud holes and got around them.

We stopped at Geiger Point and enjoyed the view. We got a small little breeze, which felt good. We took some pictures, and then decided to move on. Just after we left, we found a Saw-Whet Owl on the trail. Never seen one on Hunter Mountain in the summer. You can sometimes find them migrating in the Spring and Fall. But, I haven't seen them nesting in the summer. Just as I started to pull my camera out of my pocket, he flew away deep into the Balsam Fir trees. I was sure that this would be the highlight of the day.

We then headed up the trail. At the trail junction we then headed up the herd trail to Leavitt Peak. It is always a nice forest walk up the herd path. We enjoyed the walk up the old road. Every once in a while we could get a glimpse of the valley. With the level walk we cooled off a bit, and it was very enjoyable. We then got to the herd path to the top of Levitt Mtn. Alexis lead the way. About half way up, she suddenly stopped. It was a mink blocking the path. This time I got the camera out of my pocket and snapped a few pictures. This hike was turning out to be a great hike. Two rare animals within an hour. This was turning out to be a real nice hike. We got past the Mink with a little difficulty and hiked up to the canister. Alexis registered for the hike. We then started to look for a place to eat lunch. Finally, we started to head down the trail. About 100' from the canister, I could see the mink charging up the trail. He was headed straight for us. When he got to us, he started to attack Alexis, by nipping at her feet. She danced around trying to shake the Mink. After some difficulty we both got on the other side of the Mink and we briskly started down the trail, with the Mink charging after us the whole way. I finally had Alexis get ahead of us, and I stood my ground against the Mink. When he got close enough, scuffed up some dirt up with my boot. This seemed to scare the Mink, and he stopped charging at me. Then it was a stare-down on Leavitt Mountain. As I moved down the trail, he followed until we got to his nest, which is right in the middle of the path. At this point, he finally stopped.

We then hiked down the mountain. When we got to Westkill Falls, we stopped for a break. A butterfly then landed on Alexis pack and stayed there for about 15 minutes. It refused to move. Even when Alexis went into here pack, the butterfly still refused to move. We then hiked back to the car. Overall, this was far from the boring hike I thought it would be. We both had a great time.

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Westkill Falls

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Trail up to Leavitt Mountain - Alexis hiking through a sea of Neddles.

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Views from Geiger Point

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Herd Path to Leavitt Mountain

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Angry little Mink

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Another picture of the mink

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White Butterly

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Red Admiral who wouldn't leave

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Unknown butterfly
rkugel
Posts: 143
Joined: Wed Nov 25, 2009 8:54 am

Re: Leavitt Mtn

Unread post by rkugel »

Hi Mike,

Thanks as always for posting fascinating stories and great pictures. In spite of the "adventure" you had, I hope Alexis is OK and was not injured from the mink bites. I assume she had shoes on, and the mink was not able to penetrate and break her skin. Animal bites are always serious. In spite of the breathtaking beauty in the Catskills, we must never lose sight that it is a wild area and we should always use caution.

Rich
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mike
Posts: 1428
Joined: Sun Aug 09, 2009 9:20 pm
Location: Ravena, NY

Re: Leavitt Mtn

Unread post by mike »

Alexis is fine. He kept nipping at her hiking boots. Once you had to use her poles to push him away. Minks are usually quite elusive and shy. But, nesting pairs can get quite bold. There was another hiking party ahead of us, and the Mink probably had enough of these hikers.

I really wish I could have gotten a picture of the Saw-Whet Owl. Usually, you can get quite close to them.

Did you like the butterfly pic?

We'll have to get out one of these days. Lots of new places to photograph.
rkugel
Posts: 143
Joined: Wed Nov 25, 2009 8:54 am

Re: Leavitt Mtn

Unread post by rkugel »

Hi Mike,

Glad to hear Alexis is fine. And yes, the butterfly photos were awesome. Great detail and gorgeous color.

I'm in the middle of (yet another) "hot" project at work with a go-live date of July 1. I'm hoping things will finally settle down after the Fourth of July holiday. There are so many hikes I want to do, it's ridiculous. Myself and my camera both need a good workout!

Looking forward to meeting up soon.

Rich
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Jon
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Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2011 9:43 pm
Location: Bangor, PA

Re: Leavitt Mtn

Unread post by Jon »

OMG that's crazy. It's like one of those scenes from when animals attack. It looks devilish too.
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