Hiking in Mountain Wilderness
The articles below are focussed on day-hiking in the Catskills mountains, where I cut my teeth. They introduce basic concepts like navigation, kit, food, safety, emergencies, and so on. They are based on one person’s limited knowledge, which you should supplement with your own research, and by talking with more experienced hikers.
The Catskill Park is not enormous, but maps of the area are stamped with WILDERNESS for a reason.
Every month in “The Cats”, people get into trouble — almost always by being under-prepared.
I regularly meet hikers who, literally, have no idea where they are: they’ve turned around before reaching their goal, or overshot their goal without realizing it. I’ve met several people who thought they were on a different mountain.
People are amazing. People should be amazing. But not that kind of amazing.
In the Catskills, cell coverage is often very spotty. Even if you can get a call out, help is always many hours away.
Unfortunately, people do die here. The lucky get rescued. The unlucky get recovered.
Please do not think of the Catskills as less dangerous than other mountain ranges. It’s crucial you arrive fully prepared so as not to put yourself and the lives of rescue volunteers at risk. This is especially true in winter — but it’s not a whole lot less true in the other seasons.
With that in mind, please enjoy these posts, which I hope will help you stay safe.