by Larry Blumberg
A few years ago a significant Finger Lakes Trail relocation was opened up on Map M29, just east of Bear Springs Wildlife Mgm’t Area on the western edge of the Catskill Mountains in Delaware County. This relocation replaced about 5 miles of road walking with 3.8 miles of trail, and it’s been on my ‘list’ of places to hike since first reading of this new trail section. On a very warm Sunday afternoon (July 17) I finally had the opportunity to do so.
Although not officially in the Catskill Forest Preserve, it may as well be cause if you didn’t know better you’d think you were in the Catskills for sure ! While a steep climb of nearly 900 feet greets you as you turn off of Trout Brook Rd near the southern boundary of Bear Spring Wildlife Mgm’t Area, you initially have to pick your way across the E Trout Brook stream before you can even get started on the climb…some in our group took their boots off, others just walked right through the stream, but a couple of us took a few moments to scout out a semi-decent dry crossing. As you get into the climb, you’ll know it’s summer and that you are in the Catskills because the stinging nettles make their appearance known…very well known. The only good thing I can say about stinging nettles is the intense stinging and itching really do go away after what seems hours, but is probably only 15 minutes — if you don’t scratch at them, that is. Scratch them and the stinging and itching will stay with you — don’t know why, but I swear it does !
Once reaching the high point, there are a few pleasant ups and downs before the trail gets serious about dropping back down towards NY Rte 30 and the crossing of the E Branch of the Delaware River in Corbett. I mean the trail gets serious about dropping, very serious. It’s steep.
So, if you haven’t done so already, be sure to add this to YOUR ‘list’ ! And two things not to leave behind — gaiters to protect your legs and plenty of water to get you up and back down the hill !