- Peaks: Slide
- Type: Out & Back
- Time: 3.5 h
- Distance: 5.8 mi
- Elevation Gain: 1788 ft
- Hikers: Dan, Alex
- Start: 11:08 AM
- Summit: 1:09 PM (2h)
- Back: 3:01 PM (~1h30m excluding lunch)
A beautiful, sunny winter day for a hike. After much logisticing (see below) we decided to do a bird walk at Kingston Beach at 8 AM, followed by Slide. Around 9:45 we reached a decision point: continue for part two of the bird walk, or head to Slide. Slide!
The parking lot was nearly full when we arrived just before 11 AM. We were immediately faced with a surprisingly treacherous stream crossing and put our spikes on all of 50 feet from the parking lot. There was a family with small children and a dog behind us that looked woefully under-prepared: no spikes, and the mother was even wearing 3/4 length pants. We were happy to have our thermals!
I’d remembered this trail as being long and kind of dull back when we did it back in 2020. It was much nicer in the winter. The parts that would be slippery and wet in the summer were icy in the winter, which looked beautiful and felt very safe to hike on in our spikes.
As we turned from the yellow trail to the red trail it got pretty steep. Somewhere around 3500 ft elevation we got into more alpine forests and finally around 4000 ft we were on gentler terrain on the ridge. The views of Cornell, Wittenberg and the rest of the Catskills off to the left of the trail were spectacular. There were a few large parties hiking down with portable speakers. Not my idea of a good way to experience nature, but to each his own.
We had lunch for ~20 minutes on the rocky clearing near the summit. We chatted for a bit with an overnight hiker who’d bushwhacked Friday. He didn’t have spikes and was really missing them—he slid and nearly fell right at the summit. As we left he was barefoot drying off his feet and socks. Hardcore!
We passed the family near the summit on our way back down, so they did make it! We got some reception at the top and received an invite to a maple sap boil, so we took the fast, direct route down. The sunny bits of the trail had noticeably less snow and ice on the way back down and we took off our spikes near where the red and yellow trails joined up. Crossing the river near the parking lot was much easier this time since we could tell where the ice was over water vs. rocks. We were back at the car by 3pm. Pretty good pace for us. We actually hike must faster in the winter when there are fewer birding opportunities.
So 3/4 winter peaks down. Just Blackhead to go and I have four weeks left to do it. Once again, we felt like we needed to go to a high peak to truly experience winter. No snow at home, but there was a light dusting all the way up Slide, and lots and lots of ice.