ADK @ Catskills?

General Topics about Hiking in the Catskill Mountains that are not trail related

ADK @ Catskills?

New postby Manitou » Wed Dec 20, 2017 12:24 pm

hi Everybody,

My 1st post here. I grew up in the Catskills and have been to many areas detailed on this site (and a few that are not). I'm wondering which areas of the Catskills would be reminiscent of the Adirondacks, e.g. expansive/thick boreal/old-growth forest, porcupines, red squirrels, north faces, high elevations, etc.

I have 3 general areas in mind so far:
1) Slide Mountain + tributaries on the north/northeast sides & Deer Shanty tributary to the southwest
2) North Mountain + Winter Clove tributary to the north
3) from High Peak to the tributaries northeast of it

Edits, confirmations, or additions? Thanks!
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Re: ADK @ Catskills?

New postby Jon » Wed Dec 20, 2017 8:03 pm

I would say anyplace without exposed rock. The catskills and Adirondacks are very different geologically, and this causes very different form of the landscape.

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Re: ADK @ Catskills?

New postby mike » Wed Dec 20, 2017 10:38 pm

Not sure those locations have old growth forest. North Mountain definitely doesn't. But North Mtn now has a thick forest with conifers. To find old growth forest, you really need to see Mike Kudish's book on the Catskill Forest.

there might be old growth in Winter Clove up near the Escarpment. I don't think the the Little Stoppel Point ridge is old growth.

KHP down to Kaaterskill Creek was pretty much cut clean. The saw mill was at the bottom of the creek. But, there are still a few old growth conifers in the Buttermilk Ravine. Some of them are 4' in diameter.

Much of the Slide Mtn Wilderness was cut clean.

Due to people cutting trees on NYS land in the Catskills (in particular the Slide Mtn Wilderness) is how the "Forever Wild" and the strong protection of state land came about. The State bought land to keep people from cutting them clean. But, after the land was purchased from the State, people just kept on cutting on the land. This is how we ended up with the laws we have now. So, finding old growth forest is more difficult in the Catskills then in the ADKs.

You can find lots of porkies on Huntersfield Mountain. there are some on Bearpen also.

Ground rodents had a very poor population from 1900 to around 2010. After the large snow storm in 2010, which left 7' of snow, coyotes and bobcats were virtually wiped out. Now we are starting to get more squirrels and chipmunks in the Catskills. This is causing owls to also return to the Catskills.
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Re: ADK @ Catskills?

New postby dundee » Thu Dec 21, 2017 8:40 am

The only places I can think of for old growth and spruce/fir would be the summits. Here, the trees were probably too small to be cut. Plateau might be a good example. Bearpen is old growth on the summit, but it's a hardwood forest.
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Re: ADK @ Catskills?

New postby Manitou » Fri Dec 22, 2017 7:19 pm

Thanks for the informative replies!

I’m trying to find a $50 paperback copy of Kudish’s book (rather than shell out $100 for a used hardcover copy). Apparently The Catskill Center Store no longer has any in stock. Nothing on neither Amazon nor Ebay. Any leads?

I would think red squirrel and porcupine to be semi-arboreal and not sure what effect(s) deep snow would have on them. I do know that both species are found at much greater population densities in ADK vs Catskills (and there's a lot more snow up there). This is rare for mammalian species. All of the canines, as well as bobcat, most of the mustelids (otter and marten are exceptions), deer, bear, etc, are better represented here vs there. (Moose also an exception.)

I remember the storm. I thought it was sheer insanity that we received more vs Tug Hill Plateau ( http://cstar.cestm.albany.edu/PostMorte ... sscale.jpg ). I found numerous carcasses that year, e.g. coyote, deer; never any bobcat. Canines and felines are opportunists with a varied diet. Weasel, fisher, raptors, and snakes are more likely to be the ground rodent specialists. Also, nocturnal raptors, i.e. owls, probably don't mess much with squirrels/chipmunks.

I’ve bushwhacked extensively up, down, and around the ravines on the north face of High Peak (including straight up the easternmost one, which is unnamed/unmapped), and have seen monstrous conifers, as well as red squirrel and porcupine, which are (now) rare to nonexistent in much of the Catskills. Lots of fisher (porcupine nemesis) nowadays <2,000'. Those images in my head are what led me to initiate this thread, hoping to find more areas like them, and perhaps in areas that won’t leave my legs sore for days afterward (too much to ask for, I know). The old growth you’ve seen was above or below Buttermilk Falls?

Thanks for the tip re Huntersfield/Bearpen. Neither are near my neck of the woods but I’ll have a look if out that way.
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Re: ADK @ Catskills?

New postby dundee » Sat Dec 23, 2017 9:38 am

FWIW, I find mor porkies in the Cats than in the ADKs. I mostly see them in hardwood forests, although he biggest one was on Slide in the boreal forest at the summit. He was huge, and not very afraid of us. I think he got so fat by living on hiker leftovers as he kept circling, looking for a meal.
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Re: ADK @ Catskills?

New postby kennykb » Thu Dec 28, 2017 5:56 pm

There's a small stand of old-growth hemlock on the west side of Balsam Mountain, on the Mine Hollow trail if memory serves.

The oldest old growth in New York appears to be a scrawny band that clings to the side of the cliffs at Middleburgh. They're not much to look at, more dead than alive, but some of the white cedars in there have been dated to 500-1000 years old. http://www.ancientforests.us/articles/Science310.pdf
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