Green-brown-gold and quiet

It was time for something new.  I could hardly count the times I’ve done the 8-mile loop from Balsam Lake Mountain (BLM) to Graham and back, starting and ending at the Dry Brook Ridge parking area.  OK, I’ll try:  three times this year, once last year, and a long time ago I took my son Philip, then five years old, on approximately this route for an overnight camping trip.  I’ve also come at Graham/BLM from Doubletop, which entails a difficult bushwhack across a steep divide; most recently in August 2016 as part of an aborted attempt to thru-hike the 35, and once the year before.

Studying the map, I’ve discovered a different route connecting these three peaks, one that circles around into a valley to the west through which the Hardenburgh Trail runs — an area I’ve never seen before….

Continue reading “Green-brown-gold and quiet”

Green-brown-gold and quiet

Random Notes – Fall Hikes

With 232 Catskill climbs under my belt, I’m 55% of the way through the Grid.  I wasn’t able to put much of a dent in September, only 43% complete — there were too many conflicts, like the SRT Race and and a trip to the Adirondacks — but October is coming together nicely with 74% done and plenty of time left in the month.

Here are a few notes from recent hikes, the purpose being to document the experiences before they’re forgotten….  Continue reading “Random Notes – Fall Hikes”

Random Notes – Fall Hikes

3 Days 30 Miles in the ‘Daks

With a week off from work and the weather turning unseasonably warm for late September, I decided to forsake the Catskills and head to the Adirondacks, with the goal of climbing a few more of the 46 high peaks barefoot.  Three days and almost thirty miles later, I returned with six peaks bagged, bringing the total to 17, and an even deeper appreciation for this lush, wet, rugged, steep, fragrant, unnerving, spectacular wilderness.

Continue reading “3 Days 30 Miles in the ‘Daks”

3 Days 30 Miles in the ‘Daks

Song of the Katydids

With respect to completing the Grid for September, I was full of valiant intention, prepared to squeeze hikes in at odd hours, take the month’s last week off entirely, whatever it would take — but there was still the sore ankle to contend with.  So I settled for a 6.6-mile round-trip to Panther Mountain, at night since that was the available window, and instead of covering a lot of ground, I’d look and listen and ponder.

Continue reading “Song of the Katydids”

Song of the Katydids

Tim Ela’s 2017 SRT Race Report

Tim was the 2017 first place male finisher in the 70-mile division.  He set a new course record of 18:11, and this is also the new unsupported fastest known time for the Shawangunk Ridge Trail of 19:17 hours (the FKT does not net out the waiting time at check point #3, as explained below).

Continue reading “Tim Ela’s 2017 SRT Race Report”

Tim Ela’s 2017 SRT Race Report

2017 SRT Race Director’s Report

The fourth edition of the SRT Run took place September 15-16, 2017 with nearly 200 registered participants across all divisions, up 35% from the year before.  The SRT Run has a minimalist format, meaning there are no aid stations (we don’t provide food or water) and no supplemental course markings.  As one participant put it, “they don’t coddle the runners.”  But the truth is, the runners don’t need a lot of hand-holding.  At the start for each division, steely determination was evident in their faces, and then once moving, exhilaration, and when finally at the finish, relief.  And maybe there were some points in between where it was necessary to grit the teeth.  Results included three new course records, countless personal bests, at least one first-time ultramarathon finish, and remarkably a runner who completed the 30-mile division barefoot — and there were also some disappointments because the weather was hot, the trail is rugged, and the mountains, unyielding.

Organizers created this event to celebrate a magical trail that crosses the entire length of the Shawangunk Mountains, or the “Gunks” as they are called, an area identified by the Nature Conservancy as “one of Earth’s last great places.”  By promoting awareness of the SRT, we hope to build support for further conservation. Continue reading “2017 SRT Race Director’s Report”

2017 SRT Race Director’s Report

Shawn Bubany’s 2017 SRT Race Report

Shawn won the 1/2 marathon division in 2:08, tying the course record set by Adam Meier in 2015.  Since the SRT race is a minimalist event (no course markings or aid stations), quick thinking on your feet and deft management of hydration and nutrition can often be more important than pure speed — as Shawn’s report clearly illustrates.


Since getting into trail running a few years ago, the SRT run/hike has become one of my favorite races of the year. The trail itself is beautiful offering scenic views as well as remarkable diversity of surroundings and trail surface. In my opinion, the SRT and surrounding area offers some of the best trail running (if not the best) I’ve seen in the state. Some may balk at the self-supported nature of the run, but it’s the most environmentally friendly way of racing (and respecting the natural surroundings that we enjoy) given there’s minimal waste in the form of cups, bottles, and plastic jugs. And I like that it places greater importance on the thought, experience, and wisdom to plan and adjust. Continue reading “Shawn Bubany’s 2017 SRT Race Report”

Shawn Bubany’s 2017 SRT Race Report