Ascent of Overlook Mountain on 2010-04-24

Climber: Alan Bangel

Others in Party:alone
Date:Saturday, April 24, 2010
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Overlook Mountain
    Location:USA-New York
    Elevation:3140 ft / 957 m

Ascent Trip Report

This is the trail report for Saturdays (4/24) hike.

My goal was to complete the last fire tower in the Catskills, Overlook (3140). I also like to get around 8 miles in if I am simply hiking and not going for a summit.

I was up early, actually was awake at 4:30 but lingered in bed until 4:59 and got up to turn off the alarm so John wouldn't wake up.
I was fairly prepared for this one so I was out within 12 minutes and on the highway headed East at 5:50. The temperature was 29 degrees on the way into town and after getting coffee and a bagel the temp was up to 31, when I hit Binghamton. I reached the Pepacton Res. by 7:40 and the temp was up to 35. This hike was very far East and I was planning for a later than usual return time, the fire tower was going to offer me a good view of the Hudson Valley. On this trip I had to pass through Woodstock, NY, never having been there before I was curious as to what I might see. in the AM I was in a rush to reach the trailhead so I just rushed through town, didn't really see anything but the volume of shops geared towards art, collectables, specialties, and so forth. The town at that hour 8:50 was still quiet. I reached the trailhead just North of Woodstock at exactly 8:59, the temperature was now 48 degrees. Shirt sleeves and jeans were the hiking wear for this start I knew I would be sweating like a ????? in a short period of time. I left the car at 9:28 and I climbed steadily along a well groomed road until I reached the ruins at approx 1.7 miles. from there I moved to a lesser used old path along the East side of Overlook so I could get good views from the cliffs overlooking the Hudson Valley. It was great, the pictures will hopefully show the green valley and the advancing blanket of green beginning to travel up the slopes of the mountains. In a weeks time I bet the views will be a lot different. At 10:44 I arrived at the fire tower.

(2.35 miles in 1 hour 16 minutes - not to bad for an old guy) On the fire tower I got a reading of 3175 elevation from the GPS and at the picnic table 3134 the actual mountain top is listed as 3140 and the tower should add about 60 -70 feet. As I sat and snacked I thought about my plans for the rest of the day. I had been planning to go down, drive to Platte Clove and then hike the 4.8 mile round trip to Huckleberry Point. Since I was already getting great views of the Hudson Valley I decided to save myself time by hiking the 4 mile round trip trail to Echo Lake. I could see the Northern edge of the lake from the top of the fire tower so I thought I would go to the lake and take a picture of the fire tower from there and then walk around the lake. I phoned home from the top of the tower climbing it for a second time, reception was great after waiting about 2 minutes. After coming down again I checked the weather report from the GPS, last time I did this I was home on a walk and it was pretty close 64 on a day that was really 61. Today the GPS reading was 94 at 3424 ft elevation. with a steady barometric pressure of 26.61 - no clouds in sight. So much for the accuracy there, it was probably in the mid 60's. (GPS is notoriously wrong which accounts for the inaccuracy of GPS guided weapons in Afganistan, and the occasional loss of civilian life when they don't reach the intended target.)(many times my location is 50 to 250 feet off, rarely is it within 25 feet)

Several other people joined me on the summit, they ate, one couple climbed the tower and the other group (4 people with two dogs) did not. They all had a snack and then left me alone on top. At 11:23 I headed down to the Echo Lake junction 1/2 mile from the summit. The trail was a steady down hill except for a short level area and I reached the lean-to at Echo Lake in just under 1 hour, 12:20 was the time. The lake elevation was about 2100 ft so from the tower I had descended about 1000 feet. I read part of the sign in log (someone had hiked in with a canoe on his back to fish for brook trout, he did catch one keeper and several under 10" that he had to throw back. Someone else had re-visited the lean-to after 40 years, 40 years prior his Dad had died of a heart attack at the lean-to and the son was returning to the sight to recall and make peace with the incident, there was much to read) I signed in myself on the
lean-to register/log and then took a walk around the lake. (seven(7) tents were located in various places around the lake.)

At 1:10 it was time to go, I climbed until 2:09 when I reached the junction again and took a snack break, 2950 was the elevation at the junction. At this time in the afternoon the road was crazy with people and dogs. Being so close to Woodstock was the only reason I could think of for the volume of people that I saw. (OK - it was a beautiful day also) At 2:15 I started down to the car, it was a fast trip at 2:50 I was at the car. The GPS read 4.5 miles and the map put my distance at 8.7 without the trip around the lake. I rechecked the elevation at the car and it read 1790 ft. it was 1783 when I left the car.

After storing my gear I wandered across the road to a building I had seen several other people head towards, it turned out to be a Buddist Monastary that was open for tours to the public. I visited the gift shop and even pried open my wallet and bought something. It was now about 3:30 so I headed back to Woodstock.

This time through town was a whole different story, it was packed with people on this warm Saturday afternoon. There were activities going on around town, open cafes and vendors, people in the park with peace banners and all matter of dress that was reminicent of the 50's and 60's. (flower children and hippies with a big sampling of yuppies) I was thinking of stopping and taking a walk around town but figured that parking might be a problem and it was a long trip home so I continued on and thought someday I'll come back and spend a few hours. It actually looked like a good place to display my wood bowls (if and when I ever get back to that).

I did briefly stop for a hotdog at a mobile sabratts cart at a parking area and then another stop to look at some bird houses that were being offered for sale on a porch in the town of Downsville.
I reached the house at about 7:15PM, no one was home.

During the hike I stopped often and took a lot of pictures, after three shots the card I had said it was full. I removed the card and used the camera memory for the rest of the trip. After about 30 shots the camera told me the camera memory was full which was great because the last shot I tried (junction sign to Echo Lake) was only about three shots short of where I would have ended or finished anyway. As it turns out only the first three shots that were on the card are all I have to show for the trip. Nothing was in the camera memory. I'm sorry, but to this retired Tech teacher this is not surprising. Hey, I did get to use my cell phone and it worked.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:2260 ft / 689 m
    Distance:8.7 mi / 14 km
    Quality:4 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
beautiful day no clouds high of 64
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:2260 ft / 689 m
    Extra Loss:910 ft / 277 m
    Distance:4.3 mi / 7 km
    Trailhead:Overlook Fire Tower trail/Echo Lake  1790 ft / 545 m
Descent Statistics
    Distance:4.3 mi / 7 km

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