Rusk Mountain – New York’s Catskills

October 26, 2009 at 5:08 pm Leave a comment

After our last off-trail hike to Moose Mountain a few weeks ago, Holly wanted to learn more about map and compass navigation. Normally, I do the route planning, give her a compass bearing to follow, and she gets us to the destination through the woods very well. But she wanted to understand better how that compass bearing was arrived at. She suggested a trailless Catskill summit, since deer season hadn’t yet opened to our south, and I chose Rusk Mountain as a simple and relatively short learning exercise. It’s about 3/4 mile on a trail, and then about another 1.25 miles on a straight line to the summit. It’s quite steep, and there are no views, but it would serve our purpose well.

Arriving at the trailhead, I helped her understand the map and the route and she came up with a bearing she wanted to follow. And off we went. It was a beautiful day to be out, with temps in the 50s, no wind, and an extremely blue sky as a backdrop to the yellow beech leaves still remaining on the trees.


After struggling upward through the beeches (and a few especially nasty sons of beeches), she nailed the summit dead on. We knew this because on the trailless Catskill summits, the Catskill 3500 Club maintains canisters where hikers register a successful ascent. This then qualifies them, after completing all of the 3500-foot summits, for membership in the Club. We’re both already members, but the canister was still a welcome sight.


The summit is otherwise very nondescript, with no views whatsoever of the surrounding territory. We ate our lunches, and of course the requisite cheeseburger, signed the register, and then headed back down.


On the way down, I made a small mental error, following a bearing that caused us to intersect a stream a little farther up its bed than I would have liked. It wasn’t a big deal, just a little rocky and sloppy for a ways as we followed it down, but then we were back on the trail and reached the car in good time. Ice cream at the Prattsville Diner completed a great day in the woods.


Entry filed under: New York Summits.

Pharaoh Mountain – Adirondacks Eagle Peak – Among the raptors – 09/10/2009

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The Mission

To encourage, enable, and document the consumption of a Cheeseburger on every summit on earth.
October 2009
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