Luke and Sophie have decided to skip the frantic little ascent of Hunter Mountain I have planned for the next morning. We need to be back by shortly after 11am in order to give a fellow s2000 driver my old transmission (if you were reading closely earlier, you may have noticed I talked about needing to bring down a car part). I don't need my old transmission and wanted it out of my garage and this fellow offered to come up from NYC to get it. 11:45am was our agreed-upon meeting time, at the motel.
Jenn and I drove off with plenty of time... most of which was unfortunately burned up by not one, but TWO road-closed detours that added an extra 45 minutes to our driving time. We'd have to hustle on this hike!
Fortunately, we'd chosen the shortest and most direct route up Hunter Mountain : The Becker Hollow Trail. At just over 2 miles one way, we had a good shot of making the summit and back to the motel in time to meet the s2000 guy to give him my transmission.
The Becker Hollow trail started from right off of highway 214. It led through a neat old stone arch, through a bit of field, and then into Becker Hollow itself. The trail started off ascending gradually, but soon steepened.
The trail climbs relentlessly - there's only one very short little flat stretch partway up. Apart from that, it's up-up-up. Above the 3500-foot mark, there was a continuous dusting of snow, and the trail, which was steep and without many incut rocks and boulders, was tricky to walk up without sliding.
Upon reaching the 4000-foot mark, the trail abruptly levelled off. The summit of Hunter mountain is flat - really flat. In fact, I don't think I've been on a flatter summit. I wandered around on the various side trails at the top, making sure I wasn't missing the true summit (which isn't marked very clearly - I didn't find any markers). We walked a short distance to an open clearing where a locked cabin and a fire tower stood.
We climbed the icy steps of the tower to the cabin at the top, but we had to make do with the view just below the top, because the trap door to it was locked. Good views in all directions from this point, though. The day was technically clear, but very hazy, and we couldn't see too far off into the distance. Still, we'd achieved our two 4000-foot Catskills summits, and it was time to head down to keep our appointment.
Another view to the south
I'd unfortunately forgotten my yaktrax for the way down (Jenn had hers, though). It was a treacherous few hundred feet of descent until I got below the snow line. From there, it was a very rapid descent - we made it from the summit to the car in about 45 minutes. Ultimately, we made it back to the motel in plenty of time.
Interactive Trackmap - Hunter Mountain Climb -Click map to Expand
* : +/- 75 feet
Total Elevation Gain:
Total Elevation Loss:
* : +/- 75 feet
Hunter Mt, Elevation over Distance
Hunter Mt, Elevation over Time
We chose a scenic route back to ottawa, following the south shore of the Ashokan reservoir, and continuing to travel across much of the Catskill park. It is a nice area - less 'wild' and northern-feeling than the Adirondacks, but with a richer history . It was nice to experience something a little different after so many trips to the 'daks.