GPS Track of the hike

This was originally planned as another backpacking trip but plans and constraints shifted so much that it just made more sense to do a day hike. We stashed Max and Sarah’s car at Big Hollow Rd, crammed into Big Blue and drove over to the Barnum Rd Lot. Both lots were quite small. Especially the Barnum lot it was unclear what was lot and what was snowplow turnaround.

Colorful leaf litter

It really felt like fall at the start of the hike. The leaf litter was spectacularly colorful, but this also made following the trail harder since it didn’t stand out from the surroundings. We had lunch at the Camel’s Hump, by which point very few trees had any leaves left and it had gotten quite cold. My first experience of cold fingers this season!

Lunch on the Camels Hump

We saw thousands of red leaf stems along the trail which we eventually identified as Smooth Sumac.

Smooth Sumac

Soon we arrived at Thomas Cole, which was the only new peak for me on this hike. There was no view.

Thomas Cole

At the top of Black Dome, we ran into the first other person of the day: a ham radio operator who was participating in “Summits on the Air”. I think the idea was to set up a radio on every peak in the area. He had a very long line, maybe a hundred feet, running through the woods. He was able to communicate with someone in France while we were there. Another niche pandemic hobby!

Panorama looking at Black Dome

We had the best views coming down off Black Dome and up to Blackhead. Since it’s the northernmost part of the Catskills, we could see all the way to other ranges: the Adirondacks, the Taconics and even to Vermont! Looking south at the other Catskills was also an unusual view for me. We could clearly see the steep ridge we’d climbed up Plateau, and even Mt. Pisgah from our days in the hollow!

Sketchy walk through leaf litter

The hike down was steep and slower than we expected. Even on the straightaways, we were losing daylight and it was treacherous walking over leaf-covered rocks and streams. We got back to Max & Sarah’s car just as it was getting really dark and met up with Alex for dinner at Hotel Kinsley in Kingston.

Scenic viewpoint with glowing fall colors