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La etapa discurre íntegramente en el interior del Sundowm Wild Forest, magnífico espacio natural de 122 kilómetros cuadrados, situado en la zona sur de los Catskills, con multitud de ríos y arroyos, cascadas y diez montañas de altura superior a los 2.000 pies.
Realizamos esta marcha en compañía de siete experimentados montañeros de Nueva York, Nueva Jersey y Connecticut, miembros del grupo BLAZE.
Peekamoose and Table Mountains
Ascend about 2,800 feet up Peekamoose Mountain (3,843 ft.) into a mossy spruce-fir forest with views to the East. Continue on another mile to Table Mountain (3,847 ft.) with views to the West.
The Peekamoose-Table Trail, blazed with blue round discs, starts by the Peekamoose Mountain Parking sign at the western end of the parking lot. Although the Long Path follows along this trail there are no Long Path blazes throughout this section. Be sure to bring along a pair of water shoes and a towel but leave those in your car for later.
The trail immediately starts to ascend on a woods road. In .15 mile a trail register on the left gives you a minute to catch your breath while signing in. Continue up the woods road but don’t be concerned if the blue discs are few and far between – the woods road is easy to follow and they aren’t necessary here. Turn right when the trail branches off as a foot trail at the .75 mile point. Where the woods road continues to the left, logs block the way to keep you on the right path. The trail will start to ascend more steeply alternating between short level sections and rock scrambles. While none of the scrambles are overly difficult, there is one crevice you need to climb up through where a large dog might get stuck and need assistance. (My dog, a lean 65 pounds, was just barely able to get through on her own.)
Around the 1.7 mile mark, a rock scramble appears to have a trail going both to the left and right, which might cause some confusion. Veer left here and just a few steps up you will see where rock steps switchback up to the right.
Arrive at Reconnoiter Rock, a boulder that appears to be balancing precariously, at 2.2 miles. This makes for a welcome break spot.
At 2.4 miles, another confusing scramble with trails branching off to either side, possibly a result of other hikers searching for the correct route. Continue straight through the middle of the scramble here and you should see the blue disc on a fallen tree off to the right to confirm you are heading in the right direction.
At 2.8 miles, just as the trees change to spruce, round a bend and come up on the 3500 foot elevation sign indicating most of the ascent is now behind you. A few short steps ahead, an unmarked side trail to the right brings you to a view to the East at a rock outcrop. Return from that view and continue along a short distance to another view immediately to the right off the trail. Be careful to keep with the most defined trail here as several unmarked trails branch off in either direction.
After a nice level section, a few more rock scrambles up bring you to the summit of Peekamoose Mountain. Around the 3.5 mile point watch for a large boulder straight ahead which marks the summit. Just as that boulder comes into view, look to the right for an unmarked trail to a fairly recently cut view which is not on the Trail Conference map. Cut tree stumps are obvious in this area indicating there was not always a view here. You will be able to see Ashokan Reservoir clearly from this viewpoint.
Return to the trail and continue past the summit, descending into the saddle between Peekamoose Mountain and Table Mountain. It’s a little bit of a downhill and uphill again but nothing compared to what has already been and well worth the effort. Once you ascend to the top of Table Mountain, it’s a lovely stroll along the flat “table” of the mountain all the wau to the summit which is marked by a cairn off to the right side at 4.45 miles. Keep going just a little farther gradually downhill and turn left at the fork to a rock outcrop view to the West. If you start going downhill steeply, you missed the turn for the view.
Publication: Submitted by Daniela Wagstaff
[New York - New Jersey Trail Conference]
Trail Description [New York - New Jersey Trail Conference]:
0.00 From the north side of Peekamoose Road, about 250 feet south of the parking area, the Long Path proceeds uphill on a woods road, following the blue-blazed Peekamoose-Table Trail.
0.85 The trail turns right, leaving the woods road, and continues on a footpath. The ascent is steady but varying in pitch as the trail alternates between gentle stretches and sharp, rocky climbs.
2.35 Reach Reconnoiter Rock, a rock outcrop, with a partial view to the northwest. The trail now levels off for some distance.
3.10 Just past the 3,500-foot elevation sign, reach a wide ledge to the right of the trail, with excellent views. In another 250 feet, an unmaintained trail, with some old red paint blazes, goes off to the right and descends to Peekamoose Road.
3.35 Pass a spring that comes from a small cleft in the rock to the left, a source of water. The trail now passes through a dwarf spruce forest.
3.80 Begin to climb steeply.
3.95 Reach the summit of Peekamoose Mountain, marked by a large rock to the left of the trail. Some views to the northeast are possible from the top of the rock. The trail descends steeply into the col between Peekamoose and Table Mountains.
4.20 Reach the base of the col, and begin gentle ascent.
4.40 Begin a steep ascent up Table Mountain. The grade moderates, and then becomes extremely gentle when the nearly flat ridge of Table Mountain is attained. Shortly after attaining the ridge, an unmarked trail to the right leads to an excellent viewpoint over the Burroughs Range and Rocky and Lone Mountains to the northeast.
4.80 Reach the summit of Table Mountain, on the divide between the drainage basins of the Hudson and Delaware Rivers. (The wooded summit affords no views.) Descend, sometimes steeply, as hardwoods replace spruce forest. Past the summit is an excellent view point.
5.15 Pass a sign indicating the 3,500-foot elevation.
5.20 A trail leads left to the Bouton Memorial Lean-to. About 500 ft past the turn-off to the lean-to is an excellent spring.