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Sliding Down a Mountain
Published on February 26, 2014 by Sara Foss

Over at the DG, I write about winter hiking and the pleasure of being able to slide down a mountain.

Here's an excerpt:

"I’ve always wanted to get into winter hiking, but I never knew exactly how to go about it. Part of the problem was my lack of winter hiking partners. Finding people to accompany me on hikes is a bit of a challenge, and when it’s cold it’s an even bigger challenge. Another problem is that I had no idea how to prepare for hiking in the winter. Did I need snowshoes? Microspikes? How many layers should I wear? What if I got too cold, or if it started to snow?

Thanks to a friend who really enjoys winter hiking, I’ve started getting answers to these questions. A month or so ago we hiked Blackhead Mountain, a 3,940 foot peak in the Catskills. The trail was more icy than snowy, so I wore my Microspikes — a lightweight, plastic-and-metal traction control system that can be pulled on over your hiking boots. On any icy hike, Microspikes are invaluable. The spikes grip the ice, preventing falls, and we especially appreciated them on our descent, while navigating a steep ice formation that resembled a waterfall. Dangerous as this formation was, it was also quite beautiful, and I was glad we had ventured deep into the woods to see it. Overall, hiking felt terrific: I did get a little chilled near the summit, but I wasn’t nearly as tired and sweaty as I would have been on a hot summer day. When I got home, I took a warm shower, which made me feel even better.

My friend and I returned to the Catskills last weekend to hike Slide Mountain, the highest peak in the Catskills at 4,190 feet. ('The Mt. Everest of the Catskills,' my friend called it.) We weren’t sure what to expect, as it had snowed quite a bit since our last trip to the area. In fact, we had tried to get to the mountain one week earlier and encountered a snowstorm, as well as a slick, snow-covered mountain road that was too much for our little car. (We ended up turning around and going snowshoeing at the Ashokan Reservoir instead.) But this week it was much warmer and clearer, and our drive to the trailhead was uneventful."

Click here to read the whole thing.

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