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Westkill

New postPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 7:47 am
by Jon
So I was beat yesterday and didn't post my trip. I see that other forum goers were out and about in the Catskills, and depending on timing I just might have pictures of you at the tops of your mountains (although you might be really really small).

I got no response from any of my hungover friends, no one was going. That's OK though because my wife had got me for father's day a new remote for my camera. It's just a shutter remote, but now I could take pictures of my self at distances greater than 10 seconds. I went solo and left NJ around 9. I got to the Spruceton Rd. about 11:00 and set off.

These were growing all along the road
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Trailhead
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The trail to the Diamond Notch Falls is a gradual incline. There are some spots along the way to hop off the trail and photograph the Westkill stream.

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When I got to the Diamond falls there were a lot of hikers there. I think they were going some way along the devil's path. I saw the falls, and crossed on the rocks below it. One of the hikers didn't like that I wasn't stopping to photograph the falls. He must have seen me with all my camera gear and tripod and wondered what was up. The sun was right above the falls, and I wouldn't get hardly any good shots. He then followed me up the falls and I wound up missing the devil's path. I took a picture from the top of the falls,

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And here's one from where the bridge I guess used to be
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I found that I was still on the blue trail, and knew I should have been on the Devil's path. I turned around and had to pass by them again and the guy asked why I wasn't taking a picture of some small cave. I had the summit on my mind and just kept going. I was on the Devil's path and just started the vertical climbing.

Here's one of me climbing up
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The cave at 3490ft.
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The buck ridge Lookout
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From this spot you can get almost 180 degrees of viewing. Here's some shots from left to right

The blackhead range:
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Hunter Mtn.
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Southwest Hunter with Plateau Mtn behind it:
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The Hudson Valley (River is on the left center shot)
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Slide Mtn. Center Shot, Cornell and wittenberg on the left, and through the middle of them in the back is Lone and even Peekamoose sticking up.
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Quite a nice viewpoint.


Random closeup flower shot:
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Summit cairn
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Summit hammock
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Random butterfly shot
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Here's the other viewpoint that looks north into the valley
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This is rusk mountain, it's very dark cause it's under a cloud and underexposed
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Here's some fields on spruceton rd. Down there is about where I parked
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Westkill actually doesn't have as much pines on the top as a lot of the other 3500 mountains. This one has a lot of ferns and bushes that you have to walk through. I put on my gaiters for the trip back down cause I was fearful of getting poison ivy or something on my exposed legs. It's not like climbing up through the pines where there's only moss. Definately would have worn long pants if I knew that there was that much tall bush that had to be passed through

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Trail skirts the mountain for a while and you get this kind of tilted walk cause you're traversing along the mountain for so long
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This is what I guess the spring is, it was a few hundred feet off from the coordinate on my GPS (But all my coordinates are off). I guess it's flowing? I only heard it on the way down, it probably was barely flowing on the way up. No pipe but it looks like fresh water. I'd drink it but I had brought 4 liters and only drank like 2.5. It wasn't as hot and humid out today as I thought it was going to be so I didn't use as much water I guess.
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By the time I got back down to the diamond notch the lighting was perfect. It wasn't dark enough for me to get a really good shot, then I put on the polarizing filter so I could get a bit darker. 100 speed All the way closed up to f32 and down to 1.6 seconds.
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There were only 2 hikers here when I got back. The lighting was a lot better, and I decided to dip my feet. That water is COOOOOOLD. I didn't dare dip anything else for fear of it freezing and falling off.
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Some more time exposure of the Westkill
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Flower back by the parking area
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Re: Westkill

New postPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 12:19 pm
by mtnclimber
Great photos Jon! Real nice day too. I agree with you on the lighting of the falls. Best to shot waterfalls when it is cloudy. I like the Tiger Lily too (1st shot). The time delay thing works good. Westkill Mtn is has such a great view. You should hike with Mike and Rich. They photograph a lot of waterfalls.

Re: Westkill

New postPosted: Tue Jun 04, 2013 11:05 pm
by daveoleary
Thanks for writing up this trip report and the photos. I plan to climb Westkill next week (just under a year since your trip) so your photos are inspiring me!

Re: Westkill

New postPosted: Wed Oct 16, 2013 9:48 am
by daveoleary
Yesterday I climbed Westkill, and continued over St Annes Peak then back along the Spruceton Rd. to the parking area. It was a very nice day, when I saw the sun coming up in the morning I was looking forward to good views, but when I made it up to the trailhead, the fog was still in the valley (about 9 a.m.) As I was climbing, the fog stayed low. Since a lot of leaves are down already, I was able to see across to tops of Rusk / Evergreen from the area near the spring, but not down into the valley. By the time I made it over up to the lookout, the fog was gone and the view was great although there was still some haze and clouds so not all of the more distant peaks were clearly visible. I flushed a couple of grouse on the way up, and then a couple more along the ridge between Westkill and St Annes. The views of North Dome from the trail walking down St Annes into the hollow were outstanding, as by then the sun was out strong (between 12 - 12:30). One of the things that I really enjoyed about this hike was the variety of trees. I was surprised that there are more spruce on to of Westkill (compared to the usual balsam fir everywhere on the higher peaks). Also the beech forests especially around St Annes were quite nice as the remaining leaves were light green and golden; enough to color the views and the forest floor but also letting a lot of light through. Then the hemlocks in the stream coming down the valley between St Annes and North Dome, and the white pine on the hillside before the trail drops down to the road. Overall, a great hike with great weather in a beautiful place. Even the walk back along Spruceton to the trailhead at the end of the road wasn't too bad, with nice views of Westkill and ridge to the north.