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Topic: TR: Tuxedo to Dutch Doctor and back, more or lessT< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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bigsilk Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 22 2013, 11:57 am  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Because I live in NYC and don't own a car, my trip actually starts with a walk to the subway, the '3' to Penn Station, then a NJ Transit train to Secaucus Junction, then a NJT train to Tuxedo. About 3 hours all tolled.

The gear: Screamers rag wool/fleece Peruvian-style hat; microfleece base layer top (discount 3-pointer: top and bottom in one pack - $8;) wicking t-shirt; CS Lezoosh jacket; GAP fleece pants; White Sierra hiking pants; SW mid-weight socks; Keen Klamath; Outdoor Research Cascadia gaiters; Mountainsmith Pinnacle poles; Hillsound Trail Crampons; Coleman Max hydration/day pack w/2l badder; NYNJTC map #118, Harriman; map; Brunton Racing Compass (gift, too much for my needs;) Petzl Tikkina 2 headlamp; first aid; lunch; snacks; camera.

The weather: Mostly sunny, 23* to start, gusty winds near 35 mph. Perfect.

The walk from the train to the trailhead winds through a typical upstate neighborhood. You cross a bridge over a stream, walk under I-87, take a right, a left, and then keep your eyes open.

I hit the trail at 9:30. My intention was to take the red trail but I didn't see any trail markers. Looking around I found the white bar Kikiat trail. I took a look at the map and found that it would be a longer trek to the Dutch Doctor shelter, my goal. Bonus.


Ice fall at the beginning of the Kikiat trail.

The approach to the trail wasn't very icy, so I left the cramps off. That would change quickly:


Got ice?

While there was a lot of thick ice on trail, many water crossings were covered in very thin ice. I learned that one quick:


Mere seconds after this pic, the height of my right boot was challenged by this freezing mountain stream. My boot won.

Conditions on the trail varied from barely snow-covered to choked with ice and snow.


As much as I do love my gear, I look like a psychedelic Cossack. Near the beginning of Kikiat. I don't consider a trail started until I can't hear traffic.


On the way to the Dutch Doctor shelter.


Beautiful, yet treacherous. Whatever snow remaining has been slightly thawed and frozen again, sometime to the point of being as hard as the ice itself. Sometimes it was easier to walk on top pf the snow without crampons than on trail with ice and exposed rock.


Why, do I look unemployed? Dutch Doctor shelter. Nice enough place. The floor starts well inside the shelter, and the overhang seemed to collect heat well. There were some Korean guys on their way back when I passed them, and they'd had a fire going.

A woman was passing on the trail with her two dogs. As they did, I stood, waiting for an opportunity to say hi. That wouldn't happen. One of the dogs stopped and looked up at me. The woman said, "We're not going up there, nothing but trouble up there, let's go." She didn't even look at me. Not once. HYOH, I guess.

It really was a beautiful day. The only wildlife I managed to see, though, was a single black-capped Chickadee. Why didn't I bother to spend more time taking pictures and enjoying the day? Read on...

About 45 minutes after this picture was taken, I would make a fateful decision to take the path less traveled.

When I left the shelter, I got back onto the Kikiat trail. After a little over a mile, the path diverged. On my right, the continuation of the white bar trail. Left offered the White Cross trail. The trip to the shelter took me about 2.5 hours with a steady pace and a couple of short breaks covering about 5 miles. When I got the White Cross trail, I took a look at my phone: 1:15. I'd covered a good bit in the 45 mins since I left the shelter, so I thought I had time to hit the White Cross and still have plenty of time to make the 4:06 train. Note, the next train is at 10:39.


A view along the White Cross. This was a nice part of the trail.


This is the last picture I would take. The tall stuff ahead is a marsh.

The reason it was the last picture I took is because I looked again at my phone. Suddenly I had two hours to get back, and still hadn't reached what I figured was my halfway point.

I had a minor panic attack, and then hiked hard. I tell you all three times, I barely remember it. I don't push real hard when I hike. I don't stroll, but as a 46-year-old man, I'm no speed hiker. I pulled out the map. I had a LOT of ground to cover, and not much time to do it.

Luckily, this portion of the Ramapo-Dunderberg (red dash) didn't have much in the way of gaining or losing altitude, so I made good time. Toward the end I thought I kept hearing traffic, but after checking my map against terrain features, I knew wasn't near enough. Wishful thinking.

Then, as if a mirage, I saw the glint of metal down below. A bit further, and I saw cars moving. I looked at my phone: 3:34. I had half an hour to make it to the train station. It kept frustrating the heck out of me when the trail markers indicated a turn away from the highway. When possible, I'd bushwhack a shortcut. Yeah, I know 'stay on trail.' But not getting to the train would have meant a 6 and a half hour wait at a small, lonely, cold train station in upstate New York.

I tried to jog some after I hit asphalt. Wouldn't happen. I was spent.

When I got to the station, I saw no one. My heart sank. Then, I saw a man come out of the enclosed waiting area, and at just that moment, the whistle of the train as it crossed the road I had just come from.

Seriously, I was there for a minute before the train came.

Today I'm not too bad, but I expect to pay dearly tomorrow. Stretch, Aleve, hot bath, repeat...


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There are only two things I don't like about people: They take too long to cook and taste like crap when they're done.
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Burner973 Search for posts by this member.
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 22 2013, 2:09 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Awesome TR. I almost felt like I was running with you to that train! Dutch Doctor is the mansion of Harriman shelters.

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"A map is the greatest of all epic poems. Its lines and colors show the realization of great dreams." Gilbert H. Grosvenor

Peeps who keep repeating there posts sound like this after the second time, DERPA DERP UHHHHH DERPA.
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 22 2013, 2:46 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I should add that the red dot trail at the end of the R-D trail is not very well marked, though it is continued to be marked after the park. I found a red dot marker on a telephone pole in 'civilian' territory on the way back to the station. Aside from the ice and snow, the trails are in pretty good shape. Some blowdown, but not too bad.

There were times that I was figuring out what I'd do if I missed the train. Knock on doors for a ride to Secaucus? Ask someone to let me sit on their enclosed porch? Seriously, things were getting weird.

Also, it occurs to me that when you're alone, you're quiet. I find talking out loud to myself can keep me motivated and pushing despite the pain.


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There are only two things I don't like about people: They take too long to cook and taste like crap when they're done.
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 23 2013, 6:13 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Hey bigsilk,

FYI - I think you have trail blazes mixed up the RD is RED DOT on white and starts at the Tuxedo train station thats why you saw blazes on the local T-poles /
The T-MI is RED DASH on white

A great info book is the "Harrina Trails" has all the trails, blazes, history, etc

As for missing your train, it's not a big deal -  just grab the bus to the Suffern train station and hang at one of the local bars right next the station - Till your train shows up
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 26 2013, 11:10 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Edit:

After some collaboration with 2Dogs1, it turns out I zigged when I thought I zagged.

When I left the shelter, I did continue on the White Bar trail, but instead of picking up the White Cross going north, I took the south route, and then I picked up the Tuxedo-Mount Ivy (red dash) to the R-D (red dot) and out.

Still, lots o' fun, and I'm looking forward to getting back out.

And to my pleasant surprise, I really didn't get all that sore...


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There are only two things I don't like about people: They take too long to cook and taste like crap when they're done.
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 26 2013, 2:08 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The pleasures of a winter hike.

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"Straight paths made by man
Are unnatural and full of curses
But a trail is a song."

Louis Oliver (Creek Indian poet)
"Songs on Winding Trails"
in Chasers of the Sun
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 27 2013, 4:07 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Nice report BS; sounded thrilling in retrospect!

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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 01 2013, 8:48 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

a typical upstate neighborhood.

Excellent  report, I need to get down ion that area to extend my season.  My brother lives in Manhattan, so I know he'd love to go.

You route skills remind me of my longtime hiking partner as well...but we always get home

But I always chuckle when I hear you City slickers call anything north of Yonkers Upstate.


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getting old stinks...but it beats the alternative
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 04 2013, 3:45 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE


(wcolucci @ Mar. 01 2013, 8:48 am)
QUOTE
a typical upstate neighborhood.

But I always chuckle when I hear you City slickers call anything north of Yonkers Upstate.

Yonkers? Anything north of Gun Hill Rd.

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There are only two things I don't like about people: They take too long to cook and taste like crap when they're done.
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8 replies since Feb. 22 2013, 11:57 am < Next Oldest | Next Newest >

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