Halcott Mountain Bushwhack

Left: The Author at the Halcott Peak Canister (courtesy of the B. Maschal Private Collection) | Right: Waterfall Near the Parking Area

Okay, yes, there is a lot of hiking content on this rag, as of late. There is a reason for this. B is chasing membership to one of the elite Catskills hiking clubs. In order to gain entry, one must complete a multitude of hikes to the highest peaks in the park. Some of them have established trails to follow. Others do not. Cue the “bushwhack”. Yes, it is exactly what it sounds like.. schlepping straight up a mountain over whatever terrain and accompanying flora stands between you and the canister at the peak.

In this instance, we hiked to a peak called Halcott (pronounced “Hawkitt”). It was a little under 5 miles round trip. But we gained almost 2000 feet of elevation. We parked on Rt. 42 about halfway between Shandaken and West Kill, then followed the little arrow on B’s fancy GPS until we arrived at the summit. Each of the club required bushwhack hikes has a canister made from a short section of large diameter PVC painted orange and bolted to a tree. Aspirant club members are required to sign the register (a small notepad inside of a ziplock) contained inside of the canister to prove they were there. The climb was a quad and booty workout that I definitely felt the next day navigating subway stairs. Similar to the West Kill hike, there was a very cool partially frozen waterfall featured on this hike. This hike also happened to be B’s 20th peak, which was kind of cool. Here are a few more photos from the jaunt–

If you made it this far down the post, maybe you will care about this bit as well– The discerning eye definitely noticed the slow shutter on the waterfall snaps, giving the moving water that nice buttery appearance. One may have wondered if a neutral density filter was used to achieve such an effect. The answer is no. Luckily on this day (and for the West Kill hike), it was overcast enough that I was able to just drop the ISO to 100, stop down the aperture to F/22 and do a half second shutter without over exposing. In both instances I used my backpack/gloves to prop up the camera in the right position and set the shutter mode to a 2 second timer.

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