Trail Conditions Forum

Mud? Ice? High water at stream crossings?

This is the place to let the trail community know what you encountered, where and when (be as precise as possible). Suggestion: Make the trail or park name your subject.

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Michael K7's picture

Thanks Jeremy, i appreciate the response.
jbeard's picture

Today I hiked from Blue Lake on the Lake-to-Lake Trail, then took the Sterling Ridge Trail south to a yellow trail.  I took the yellow trail back north (using a woods road at the end) to the L-to-L, and back to the start.  I was surprised to encounter 15-20 blowdowns on these trails, many of them massive, with 3-5 trunks fallen across the trail, blocking it entirely.  In almost every case, there was a well worn work-around that enabled me to get around the blowdown and continue.  Unfortunately, it looked as if ATVs or other vehicles had been used on these detours.  Except for the Lake-to-Lake, the blazes were adequate and in good condition, but there is a lot of work for chainsaw crews to clear these trails. In some cases the fallen trees carried blazes.  In many cases, the blowdowns so completely blocked the trail that it took some looking to see where it continued.   Given the number of ticks I found, it would be nice be able to stay on the trail. Even on the trails this wet year has caused lots of tall grass and bushes to come up. Jonathan
smithg2010's picture

  .... That's a lot of sightings for an endangered species! I seem to have had the opposite experience of many of you, I hear them quite often but never saw one.  Once I was sitting on the south side of Diamond Mtn listening to the chipmunks rustle around in the brush.  This was followed by a much louder rustling, then a sharp squeal, then a rattle.  Dinner!   Needless to say I was outta there pretty quick.  I often also hear them while hiking the Breakneck Ridge and Wilkinson trails in Hudson Highlands SP, noted earlier as being a common hotspot.      
NYHIKER60's picture

Uh, folks,that rattle is for a reason.  The snake is letting you know "I'm here".  Usually you will hear them rattling in the bushes and that's what they're doing.  Again, they're letting you know they are there.  Most of the time you may not even see them and they may be in the bushes laying still so they cannot be noticed.  The only reason a snake may stay in the middle of the path is because it may be shedding its skin and at that time it cannot see to get away.  How would you like it if a 200 pound animal was about to step on you?
Michael K7's picture

The situation you describe is eactly what i encountered  a few years ago. On the Blue Disc Trail near Tuxedo, i heard a rattling in the bushes, so went around that spot very widely. This past Saturday though, the snake was dead center of the trail on the rock slab, and didn't ssem to notice me at all, and before i saw it i was running straight towards it. I would have thought for sure it would start rattling as a warning, but as i said, no response at all. Seemed strange, which is why i thought  the snake might be dead. I'd like to think you're right, and that they will alway rattle when they sense you coming, but my experience Saturday has me somewhat spooked- i don't like to think of a snake giving me no warning at all until i've accidently stepped on it. The back country in Harriman is not the place to be when you are waiting for emergency evac and every minute counts...
thegup's picture

I have seen dozens in my years hiking the East Highland trails, mostly in the coll between Breakneck and Bull Hill.  Also, Doddletown off 9W is rife with them.  My beagles were on leads one day and spotted one slithering across the trail and went for it and it raised up.  Luckily I had my 9mm with me and manged to take it's head right off fom about 15 feet.  Don't mess with those things.  You get bit and unless they get snake juice into your bloodstream within a couple of hours your most likely done for. Don't take breaks in rocky areas and watch for sunny spots on or near the trail.   Take note:   http://www.venomousreptiles.org/articles/345?venomsid=f065e3fa57ac4a0dabcdb000f3c3b09c
PVPatrick's picture

You discharged a lethal weapon in the state park and killed a protected animal?  I wouldn't post that in a forum.
svem175's picture

Hi, I was heading back toward the AT along the blue trail from the shelter on West Mountain about two years ago with a friend when all of a sudden we heard a loud rattling sound and there right in the middle of the trail was a full grown timber rattler. We never wouid have seen it and would probably have stepped right on it had it not let us know it was there. Really reminded me that we share those woods.
horicon@post.com's picture

I have seen several rattlesnakes last year.  I hiked Sam Point in Ulster County.   Also I had a rattlesnake under my car several years ago.  Found it after doing a day of trail work.
Aaron Schoenberg's picture

We were fortunate that a serious accident/injury did not take place. One of our hikers in our group (Irina Kulikovskaya) stepped up on the top step below the landing at the Sunset Rock wooden platform and the whole step caved in and dropped down below. Fortunately she dropped back one step on quick reflex to avoid falling thru. For safety purposes this viewing platform needs to be cardoned off until the entire structure can be checked for structural strength and of course the step replaced. If someone reading this goes up that way tomorrow (Sunday, July 14), bring some yellow tape to close it off until it is deemed sound to climb up. It was scary when that step caved in.   Do not climb up for the time being!
Georgette Weir's picture

Thanks for the report. It has been forwarded to our volunteer Trail Chair for the region who plans to investigate and take appropriate action early next week.
Michael K7's picture

Passed a rather large rattlesnake on the SBM Trail today, although uness snakes are heavy sleepers, it may have been dead. I didn't get close enough to find out, but i would think my running towards it should've provoked some sort of reaction. No rattling, no hissing, no movement, it was just laying there, coiled up Snake was located on a large rock just south of the Stone Memorial shelter on the SBM. Past the "Egg" rock, i don't remember if it was before or just after the Conklin's Crossing Trail, but right in that vicinity. Yes, for the next few miles, every brown branch on a rock was stopping me dead in my tracks lol Be alert!  
joerichkus's picture

That is not uncommon.  I have come upon them acting like that several times, stretched out across the trail, or coiled up off trail like you saw.  They sun themselves that way, and if it gets too hot, they will find coolness in high grass.  If they aren't sunning themselves, they remain motionless for long periods of time waiting for prey, mice or chipmunks mostly.  It sounds like the rattler you saw was sunning itself.  Yeah, one should always be watching that they don't step on one.  Last year I saw a Copperhead sunning itself up on Almost Perpendicular. 
Michael K7's picture

Thanks for the info. I was just surprised that the snake didn't at least start rattling- i didn't know they remain motionless sometimes, even with a tall, lanky human running along nearby, pounding on the ground ;)
joerichkus's picture

Yeah, I have yet to see or hear them rattle.  I was once hiking the Raccoon Brook Hill Trail and came upon a guy who was off trail poking a stick into branches of a fallen tree.  He turned to me and said that he was trying to make a Rattlesnake rattle.  I told him that I wouldn't do that if I were you, and kept going.  They only rattle when they are provoked, and only strike at that time, and they can strike out from their coiled position, a distance of half of their body length.  So that guy with the stick was probably not far enough away.  This is a link to the most informative page I've yet found on the Timber Rattlesnake, and especially relevant to hiking in the Catskills, Harriman and Hudson Valley. http://www.catskillmountaineer.com/animals-snakes.html
Michael K7's picture

Thanks for the link. Although after reading that article on what it's like to be bitten by a Timber Rattler, i might just stay inside from now on! Does anyone know if any of the local hospitals near Harriman are prepared to deal with a snake bite?
arunkristiandas's picture

On Saturday, July 6, I hiked/ran the Lower Awosting Carriage Road from the parking lot all the way to Lake Awosting and I am happy to report that the bridge over the Fly Brook has been rebuilt and the road has been resurfaced/improved in that area -- it is fully open DESPITE what the state parks website says.
horicon@post.com's picture

It was a great day to hiking at Minnewaska State Park..  The bridge is done.
Michael K7's picture

If you start at Cloister Dock Road, and head south on the LP, you will encounter 3 downed trees. The first is pretty close to CDR, and is the worst. The only way by is to climb through the limbs and leaves. Thankfully, no poison ivy. The second is shortly after the first, and is more easily passed, as there is a space to pass through, but you will need to be limber. The third is about an ¼ mile or so past the second, and is just a thin tree across the trail, about chest height. Easily passed, but if a chainsaw crew is out taking care of the first two, they might as well cut this one out of the way as well. Report sent to the TC.
tree188's picture

6/22/2013 Began at the entrance to Ashland State Forest and continued to the Schoharie Reservoir by Rt. 990 and the motorcycle bar by Manorkill Falls.  The falls were impressive but I'd like to know how that wonderful shot in the trip description was taken.  The chasm and falls are deep and there is no easy access to get really good pictures. The rest of the hike was clear.  One or two spots for trail turns are easy to miss, you have to keep an eye open.  The South Mountain Road walk was pleasent.  This section was ok but other than the Falls, not too much stood out.  Curious why the original path was taken off Ashland Pinnacle & Hunterfield Mtn.  It looks like the remaining trial could possibly be reconnected to the LP between Macumber Rd. and Champlin Rd.  Maybe it's a private land access issue.... We have now fallen off the flat earth of TC's last map for the LP & Catskills.  Fortunately it didn't hurt!