No. 45 Tanbark Trail
Katy and I spent a couple of days hiking in New York’s Catskill Mountains near Phoenicia. We met at the Woodland Valley Trailhead at 10:30 on Sunday morning, she traveled from Boston and I from Neptune. After a yummy PBJ lunch and a lot of catching up we set out to find our campsite. To our surprise NYDEC does not allow hammock camping in any of their campgrounds. This threw a big wrench in our plans, but we eventually found a really cool, private campground that would allow our hammocks. This worked out so much better as the campsites on this property were very secluded and spread-out. By the time we were settled and ready for Hike 45 it was already well after noon. Luckily, I have been hiking in this area before and remembered the Tanbark Trail. It’s about a 2 mile loop hike through an historic quarry with an elevation gain of about 700 feet, which made it the perfect choice for the late afternoon. The hike is lovely with a couple of viewpoints overlooking the town of Phoenicia, the Esopus Creek and the Slide Mountain Wilderness. It was a great trail to walk along and chat with my dear friend. We don’t get to see each other often, so meeting “in the middle” for a couple days to hike and camp just the two of us was such a gift! We arrived back at our campsite a few hours later and began to prep the fire and our yummy nacho dinner. A black bear wandered through our camp at a very leisurely pace and seemed quite confused by all the commotion we made when we realized he was there! He sauntered off and left us alone to enjoy our beers, and dinner. He was the main topic of our dinner conversation!!