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.

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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).

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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

Peck Hollow

My son Philip was in town for a couple of weeks before resuming college, and since he’s an Army ROTC cadet and expected to be able to navigate with map and compass, I offered to take him out to the Catskills for some practice.

Our goal would be to start from a parking spot in Peck Hollow, a place I’d never been to before, and then undertake an 8.5-mile bushwhack loop to the summits of North Dome and Sherrill and back, with Philip leading the way, me keeping an eye on the GPS just in case, and Odie along to supervise the both of us.

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Peck Hollow

Natural Navigation Fail

The goal was not just to bag three peaks for the Grid, but also to practice “natural navigation” i.e., moving straight through virgin forest without using map, compass, or GPS (although these would be carried just in case).  Glancing at the map, we all agreed that the bushwhack up to Balsam Cap, although long, would be relatively straightforward, all we’d need to do was follow a twisting ridge….

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Natural Navigation Fail

Night Hike

With September’s Grid looking pretty sparsely populated (only 4 of 35 peaks complete), there would be a lot to do this month.  To get the work off to a quick start, I hatched a plan for a night hike, which would entail driving up to the Catskills after work on the evening of August 31st, with the goal of climbing two peaks during the early morning hours of September 1st.  Night hiking is not my preferred mode of operation, but it’s something I’ve done on occasion when commitments take up the daylight hours. The next day being the Friday before a holiday weekend, hopefully things would be quiet at work.

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Night Hike