Every summer I set aside a double period hike during the morning of the last full day of the camp session. This summer for various reasons it wasn’t able to happen on the last day of the first three sessions. But yesterday we did it. A small group of Tacoma campers joined me and their counselor Sophia Lola. We consulted trail maps, chose a route (Spring Run trail to the Line Shack trail—to the Line Shack itself and then back down via Sunrise trail), and then set off. Unfortunately after about 20 minutes it started to pour. I mean pour. The hardest rain I’d experience in a while and it didn’t let up for quite a while. I offered the campers a chance to turn around but they insisted they we keep going. We got soaked but everyone was in great spirits. We sang songs. Talked about family at home. About camp, of course. Once at the Line Shack we took refuge in the little shack. I told the kids about the origins of the Line Shack. After a while the rain stopped and a little later the sun came out. By the time we got back to the Observatory (via the Sunrise trail) we were looking at a sunny Wildcat Mountain with lines of fog. Much later—at 10 PM that night—I arrived at Tacoma’s Day Lodge to tell a story (“The Doubletop Plane Crash Mystery”) and the small group of Tacoma people who’d been on the hike had told everyone about it and described it again, with me present, with tremendous pride.

Hiking: it’s for real. Even in the rain, it’s memorable. A little bit of stretching, a little discomfort, all good.

Once again a group of Tacoma people chose to spend all morning on the final day of the session hiking up with me to the Line Shack. Here’s our hardy crew.

When we arrived of course they wanted to hang out in the old Line Shack, built in 1925 as an aid to the people who patrolled Forstmann’s deer fence.

Some of them found their own names carved in the wood inside the shack–from last year’s hike.

This was a sunny day but it had rained for three days previously, sometimes a deluge. So the mushrooms were up all over the place and the trailside was a lush green.

The oldest campers — and the CITs — hike over Wildcat Mountain. The Wildcat Trail connects the West Branch Neversink Valley to the East Branch Neversink Valley, which is to say, connects “main camp” to the Farm Camp (and EVR) in the East Valley. Once upon a time it was a road, and to this day most of the trail has two tracks and looks something like a jeep trail. I hiked it yesterday, and, before a deluge of rain hit us (after which I couldn’t take more photos, lest my camera get too wet), I took some shots. Here they are.

The lean-to’s at High Falls. Walk up toward High Falls, bear right where the trail splits (going to the left, you’d walk down toward the falls). Walk further up and you are on the Spring Ridge trail.

Not far from where the Line Shack Trail meets the Panhandle Trail, you’ll find the old Forstmann “line shack.” This is where patrols watching the deer fence (looking for breaks in the fence and for poachers) would meet halfway after walking “the line.” They would meet at the same time each day (apparently mid-day) and stop for a bite to eat.

Inside the Line Shack, built in 1925. The flash on my camera makes it seem newer and neater than it is.

The Line Shack Trail and Panhandle Trail meet twice. This junction is not far above HIgh Falls, along High Falls Brook. Later they meet again near where the Line Shack is located. The Panhandle is not much hiked. It veers far up into the upper reaches of Frost Valley’s property.

Starting at High Falls, take the Spring Ridge trail until it meets the Line Shack trail. Follow that up hill until you can visit the Line Shack. Continue on until it meets Rocky Road trail, which takes you down into camp, along the east side — walk down into the Sequoia area on the west side of Pigeon Brook.

A sign we posted on the Line Shack, encouraging hikers to preserve the old structure.

Along the east end of the Line Shack trail you pass a stand of dying pines. I found them to be very beautiful.

This little guy seems to make his home under and around the Line Shack. We found him sunbathing near the warm rocks of the fire-ring at the Line Shack campsite.

Rocky Road trail—which is for me the most beautiful walk at Frost Valley—comes to a sudden clearing, and there you see Wildcat Mountain on the other side of the valley. Wonderful!

A nice spot along Spring Ridge trail above High Falls, before it turns east and gets quite mucky with the springs that give it its name.

Several groups of CITs have been hiking through the Catskills. One group arrived at the Farm in the East Valley just at noon today. I was at the Farm to lead a game of Geronimo and decided, afterwards, to join them for lunch. And then, there they were: these happy and tired and dirty (and smelly) CITs. Their spirits were soaring. They had hiked and camped together and well. They had significantly bonded. When I asked them if I could take a photo, this (below) is the confident pose they struck.

Rising before the sun, Adventure village began their Mini Trips bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Today all five Mini Trips left for their four day and three night adventure into the mountains. These are their photos before boarding the buses.

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Adirondack Backpacking Trip.

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Adirondack Canoeing Trip.

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Shawangunks (Gunks) Climbing Trip.

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 Catskills Backpacking Trip.

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Merrel Pavilion Trip.

Reminder there will be NO photos or blog posts until the Mini Trips have returned on Wednesday.

 

Happy Trails.

James

Assistant Adventure Director

Rising before the sun, Adventure village began their Mini Trips bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Today all five Mini Trips left for their four day and three night adventure into the mountains. These are their photos before boarding the buses.

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Adirondack Backpacking Trip.

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Adirondack Canoeing Trip.

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Shawangunks (Gunks) Climbing Trip.

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 Catskills Backpacking Trip.

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Merrel Pavilion Trip.

For more photos from this morning please go to; http://frostvalley.smugmug.com/

And remember there will be NO photos or blog posts until the Mini Trips have returned on Wednesday.

Happy Trails.

James

Assistant Adventure Director

All forty-four girls in Susky village hiked with our Adventure Director Zach Eigenbrodt on Frost Valley trails. The hike was 2.5 miles and all the girls were able to complete it! They got muddy, dirty, and found the perfect leaf. They visited the “bear cave” (an empty in the side of an escarpment), and loved it! Zach was happy to report that the girls may have come back a little dirtier and more tired, but they all had a terrific time on the hike!

Rising before the sun, Adventure village began their Mini Trips bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Today all five Mini Trips left for their four day and three night adventure into the mountains. These are their photos before boarding the buses.

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Adirondack Backpacking Trip.

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Adirondack Canoeing Trip.IMG_6555

Shawangunks (Gunks) Climbing Trip.

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 Catskills Backpacking Trip.

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Merrel Pavilion Trip.

Reminder there will be NO photos or blog posts until the Mini Trips have returned on Wednesday.

Happy Trails.

James

Assistant Adventure Director

Greetings from the Catskills,

Today the village split up into three different groups and each went on a different day/half day hike here on Frost Valley property. One group hiked to the peak Double Top Mountain and found the abandoned plane crash. Another hiked over Wild Cat Mountain and visited our Farm Camp, where they got to meet all the animals they have there. The last group got to explore some of the beautiful wonders we have here on camp with a focus on environmental education, exploration and awareness.

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Happy Trails,

James

Assistant  Adventure Director.