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A Weekend on Hunter Mountain and Westkill!

Hikers on Hunter MountainA weekend spent on the western side of the Devil’s Path is always exciting—doubly so when we’re fortunate enough to see all sides of winter in 48 hours! On Saturday, we climbed Westkill in intense, wind driven snow and camped in frosty -5 degree temps but on Sunday, we were rewarded with perfect “bluebird”conditions for our climb of Hunter, and SW Hunter, too, for the ambitious Wendy Porter! Our intrepid overnighters were joined on both Saturday and Sunday by day hikers, and we couldn’t have been happier to share this amazing wilderness with some great folks!

Our tough as nails day hikers pushed through some extreme conditions on a challenging snowshoe ascent of Westkill on Saturday. The snow started early and didn’t let up....  Our assistant guide Brian had a fire waiting for us at our lunch spot after our descent—clearly the hero of the day, creating a circle of warmth which made our soup taste all the better. We were so happy to have Ileana out for her second winter hike of the season, joined by her resilient friend Jennifer and our first-timer Kate who successfully completed her first winter hike and snowshoe adventure!

Our overnight adventurers, Ju, Dee, Cristina & Savannah, were joined in camp by our partner Will from Upstate Adventure Guides. We enjoyed a well earned dinner of vegetarian curried lentils and beans, seasoned rice, mashed potatoes, grilled red pepper, and asparagus, with assorted sausages on the fire for the carnivores. Our night was filled with laughter, great conversation, and Mountain Mocha around the campfire before cozying up in the lean-to for the night

We awoke the next morning to a perfect winter landscape, thanks to the overnight snow and broke camp in relatively mild temps to meet our incoming group of day hikers for ascent number two of the weekend. As we headed up Hunter in temps just over freezing we were rewarded with full sun for our hike. It was an amazing feeling to have our faces actually warmed by the sun, which is getting higher and higher in the sky every day, reminding us why we love late winter adventure so much!

Already a 3500 club member, Wendy crushed two more peaks on the way to her winter 3500, finishing both Hunter and Southwest Hunter on Sunday.  The rest of us took a more leisurely pace, (well, leisurely at the times we weren’t powering through hundred foot rises) on the ascent to Hunter and the fire tower. Needless to say, we took plenty of breaks to share trail mix, macadamia cookies (thanks Madeline and Orion!), and to snap photos of the Seussian landscapes filled with puffy snow drifts, crystallized evergreens, and perfect new snow sparking in the winter sun.

All in all it was another beautiful weekend in the Catskills. If you’d like to join us for some awesome late Winter adventure, we still have 3 weekends left on our calendar!  

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