Plotterkill, Thomas, Cat, ABORT!

Posted on 04 Jun 2022 by Steve Markham

It was a lovely day for a walk in the woods, so I went on several. Unfortunately, things didn’t end quite as I had hoped.

The view from the top of Cat Mountain
The view from the top of Cat Mountain

The Young Men planned an outing to Plotterkill for the morning. Twelve of us ended up hiking about four miles. I tried out a new topo app, OsmAnd, which is quite different from Backcountry Navigator, but I’m starting to get the hang of it.

The main falls at Plotterkill are always wonderful
The main falls at Plotterkill are always wonderful

We finished a couple hours sooner than planned. This bodes well for the 50-miler that this group is preparing for. 50-miles at the usual YM pace of ~1.0 mph is painful. We had a moving speed of more like 2 mph this morning, though we did stop for a while to throw rocks into the water, and we didn’t have packs on.

Kyle has to submit recordings for his ESYO audition on Wednesday, so when we got back from Plotterkill he started playing the cello. I need to back up a couple of days. Friday morning starting at 1:30am, Lewis had the stomach bug that Peter and Kristie’s family enjoyed over Memorial Day Weekend. Lewis threw up 11 times between 1:30 and 7:30, that’s all the detail I’ll share, other than to say it wasn’t just vomit. By 8am he was feeling OK, and by that afternoon he was his usual self. I had hoped to go hiking and camping Friday into Saturday, but decided to wait a day to see if anyone else got the bug. No one did, so this afternoon while Kyle was playing cello and Janet was weeding the garden I packed up my gear and planned a trip to hike Thomas and Cat Mountains, which can be done as a 7.5 mile loop, and then camp about 20 minutes West of there at Palmer Pond. Palmer Pond is a very short hike that James recomended a while back. I figure I’d check it out, and then take Lewis and Adele there sometime.

Anyway, at 3pm I kissed Janet goodbye and drove up to the trailhead.

OsmAnd's view of the loop (both planned and actual)
OsmAnd's view of the loop (both planned and actual)

Given how buggy it was at Good Luck Lake a couple weeks ago, I was very pleasantly surprised at the absolute lack of bugs along the trails both at Plotterkill and up to Thomas’s Summit.

I was moving at a pretty good clip–no kids with me, and no pack–and got to the top of Thomas in about 30 minutes.

The view from Thomas was good but not great

Then a pretty steep descent down the other side. On the way over to Cat I passed some wildlife:)

There a snake right in the middle of this picture
There a snake right in the middle of this picture

It was about two hours total to get to the top of Cat, and that really is the payoff for the hike. I got to a rock outcropping where another hiker was enjoying the view, and it was quite enjoybale. I chatted with him for a bit (he recommends Potash Mountain next, which I noted) took a few pictures, and then wandered around and found an even better view. There was another group of hikers further around the summit, so perhaps it gets even better than this.

Lake George, as seen from Cat Mountain

But perhaps not. I don’t know, because it was right around then that I got a text from Janet. She had Lewis’s stomach bug, and was going to lay down. She didn’t ask me to come home, but it seemed like the wise thing to do. I hiked double-time back to the car.

Couldn't resist one picture of a nice spot on the way out, though
Couldn't resist one picture of a nice spot on the way out, though

I got back to the car in under an hour. Apparently I go twice as fast when sufficiently motivated. By the time I got home, Janet and Camille were both sick and in bed moaning. Kyle had made dinner for Lewis and Adele, so I just put kids in bed and started blogging. Shout-out to the single parents who somehow make it work. It’s much easier with four-deep coverage, so that even when Dad’s hiking and Mom and Big Sis get sick, there’s still a semi-grown-up around to hold the fort. Thanks, Kyle!

Hopefully I make it up to Palmer Pond sometime soon. It really does look like a nice spot.