I received a note today from David S. White, membership chairman, informing me that I’d be member #4216 of the Catskills 3500 Club. Hooray!

I received my membership patch and a nice welcome letter from Dave a few days later.

Now that I’ve accomplished my main goal, what’s next? I have a few ideas.

The Winter 35ers

This is the other achievement that the 3500 Club officially recognizes so it’s an obvious next step. David even wrote “I look forward to receiving your winter application” in my welcome letter!

I’ve hiked 13/33 of the winter peaks, with about half of those coming from the Winter Six this March. I enjoyed winter hiking more than I’d expected, so I do expect that I’ll complete this list some day. I doubt it will be next winter, though: it’s such a short season and I have ambitions to spend a good chunk of it in warmer climes.

Good hikes to do here would be the Devil’s Path and any of the hikes around Spruceton Road that I did this spring. I imagine the Cornell crack will be fun in the winter!

The 35 in a calendar year

Since I did so much hiking this winter and spring, I’m pretty close to hiking all the high peaks in 2023. I’ve done 21/33 so far. What’s left? I need to do the Devil’s Path East (Plateau, Sugarloaf, Twin, Indian Head), Windham, Hunter/SW Hunter, Cornell and Wittenberg, Kaaterskill High Point and Black Dome / Thomas Cole. That’s probably six hikes, and they may dovetail with some of my other goals!

Drag my friends into the club

Thanks to their willingness to go hiking with me, John and Alex are both close to joining the 3500 Club as well. Unfortunately they’re missing almost entirely different peaks! John was my bushwhacking buddy whereas Alex mostly stuck to the blazed trails with me. By my count Alex has completed 17/33 peaks and all her winter peaks while John is at 20/33 but is missing three of his winter peaks.

I’ll definitely keep Alex and John’s lists in mind as I plan future hikes!

The Four Seasons

I’m not that interested in The Grid (hiking each of 35 peaks in each calendar month, 12x35=420) but The Four Seasons (4x35=140) feels more doable and less contrived. I’m something like 38% of my way to the Four Seasons. Completing my winter peaks will obviously help with this, and I’ll keep it in mind as I work towards my other hiking goals, too.

Dan climbing at The Gunks

Realistically, though, since completing my 3500 tally sheet I’ve been spending a lot more time on my other outdoor hobby: rock climbing at the Gunks. Climbing is best in spring and fall, with a bit of a break as the weather gets steamy hot in July and August. I imagine I’ll be doing minimal Catskills hiking until then.