Burnt Knob - Northeastern Catskills
LGBTQ Hike DATE: 09/04/2021 - 09/04/2021
Trip/Event Location: Maplecrest, NY
Trip Leader(s): gaykilter
Max # People: 10
Trip Guiding / Event Fee: No, I will not be asking participants for money
Difficulty Level: Moderate
- Date: September 4, 2021
- Pre-hike Scout: September 1, 2021
- Start Time: 10:00 a.m.
- Pre-hike Meetup: Promptly at Michael’s Diner, 5339 NY-23, Windham, NY. Tel. 518.734.
Please contact William for detailed driving directions. Best to use GPS to get to the pre-hike meetup venue above, or enter the Location for the trailhead (given in the Description).
The Burnt Knob hike began as planned when participating hikers met at “Michael’s Diner,” in Windham. The problem was that Michael’s Diner has no signing indicating that it’s Michael’s Diner; the only diner at that waypoint is the Windham Diner. So we went in and asked, and were told, “Yes. This is Michael’s Diner.” OK. Michael’s Diner is the Windham Diner. Of course.
William and Ed were the first to arrive, followed by Jamie. Michael signed up but never appeared. Jamie, a sustaining member at GO was able to email Michael, but Michael never responded.
At about 10:30 a.m. we arrived at the trailhead at the end of Big Hollow Road. The parking area is the starting point of several trails, notably the red-blazed Black Dome Trail and the Acra Point trail via the Escarpment Trail (blue blazed). The Burnt Knob trailhead requires you to backtrack from the parking area about 100 feet on Big Hollow Road; it doesn’t begin at the parking area. We found that out the hard way.
Another note of interest is that there is a wooden bridge just off the parking area. Do not use the bridge because it is private property. The chain was on the ground and the “private property” placard was face down on the ground, so we didn’t see it, and cross the bridge until it became obvious that it was more of a driveway than a trail. We returned to the parking area and ended up following the red blazings.
It was a beautiful day and the temperature was perfect. We were there and that was what was important. About 90 minutes into the hike we came upon a sign indicating the routes to Black Dome, Acra Point, and Burnt Knob. Something wasn’t right: Here we were 90 minutes into a 2.5 hour hike of s total of about 3 miles, and the sign was indicating we had 6.8 miles to Burnt Knob! Something was crazy wrong!
(I normally do a pre-hike scouting hike but in this case I was unable to do that beforehand due to heavy rains that week. Had I been able to scout the trail, we would not have had such a unique adventure.)
Undaunted, and my career as hike leader in serious jeopardy, we continued on the Escarpment Trail nonetheless, just happy to be in nature and enjoying the company.
All along the trail we met many, many really friendly people and many canine hikers, all of whom were a pleasure to meet.
We continued on to the final stretch on the red-blazed trail back to the parking area. All went well until we crossed the creek and the trail simply vanished. No sign of a trail. We knew the creek ran down to the parking area, and as a last resort we could have followed the creek, but intrepid as we were, we wanted to find the trail. So did a couple other hikers. As it was, the “trail” did continue but it continued via a stone dam that was carefully laid across the creek to the other side, where the trail continued.
We arrived at the parking area at about 3 p.m., and decided to head back to Windham for a bite to eat at “Michael’s” a.k.a. the Windham Diner. Note: In back of the Windham Diner parking area we found the Patisserie Normande, an exquisite French bakery, owned by a lovely couple, the baker from Normandy (France). Incredible pastries, cheesecakes, danish, croissants, etc. A real gem of a find, and highly recommended.
Just a couple of final remarks on the trip: On the way from Windham to the trailhead, we had cellular coverage; from the trailhead back to Windham, coverage was very iffy. I do not recommend relying on coverage while on the trail. Best to download your trail maps and use them offline.
Be sure to know where your trail begins. We made the mistake of thinking we could connect and neglected to backtrack to the signed Burnt Knob trailhead. No big deal but we didn’t get to Burnt Knob and we were fortunate that we didn’t have bigger problems. Lesson learned: Pay attention and know where you are at all times.
Some people race through a hike; they just don’t seem to leave the hectic pace at the parking area. I’m a bit different because I observe everything along the route. There are some beautiful flora along the way, ferns, shrubs, hardwood and softwood trees. A variety of rocks including what I think was “pudding stone,” and various fossil-bearing rocks. Beautiful mosses, too. We didn’t see much wildlife; we even remarked that even birds were scarce but that may have been due to the presence of quite a few humans in the area.
Scenery was generally splendid but you had to experience it through the trees most of the time, particularly along the Escarpment Trail. We did come upon a stone outcropping/ledge from which we could get an unobstructed panorama of the range. It was breathtaking.
Hope you enjoy the mugshots and the images.
William, Ed, Jamie
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