Beautiful easy out-and-back.
Hiking Trail Description
It’s been a while since I did a sunrise hike. In mid-June, as the shortest night of the year approaches, sunrise is not long after 5:00 am. This makes the logistics pretty rough.
- The route I took for this hike was Windham High Peak from Route 23/Cross Road which, IMO, is the easiest and most beautiful route for hiking Windham High Peak
I set my alarm for 1:00 am and was in my car before 2:00 am.
By 3:00 am, I was hiking briskly past the first trailhead signpost.
The sky was almost cloud free. Jupiter and Saturn were both bright in the southeast. Overheard, the summer Milky Way was clearly visible — I grew up in suburban Dublin, Ireland, and never saw the Milky Way until I first came to The Catskills.
The sky before dawn puts on a truly amazing show. For this shoot, I planned to arrive at my viewpoint at least 30 minutes before sunrise.
- Review my post How to Photograph Sunrise & Sunset (40+ Tips) which includes planning tips as well as technical insights
This is my favorite time of day. The colors are always bananas.
I was glad to see I wasn’t the only lunatic hiking at this hour. By the time I arrived, a young botanist and a family group of five or six were all already on the summit.
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Long before sunrise, a very clear sun pillar was visible with sun dogs on either side. Sun pillars are created by the reflection of light from tiny ice crystals that are suspended in the atmosphere. Sun dogs are made via refraction.
A line of clouds along the horizon delayed us from seeing the sun for a few minutes.
I started stopping down my cameras so the sky in the following photos looks darker…
Eventually the moment arrived — almost…
Solar Eclipse 2021
Reminder: Yes, you do absolutely need an effective filter to view any kind of eclipse. And, no, your shades do not count. A pack of cheap solar glasses runs about ten bucks on Amazon.
At last, the sun rose above the cloud line. I managed to score one shot of the eclipse by closing down my DSLR as much as possible and by holding my shades in front of the lens…
Welp, looks like I should order some cheap solar filters for next time.
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The parent mountain for this hike is Windham High Peak.
If you do this hike, let me know how it went in the comments below. Your feedback makes this site better.
Trailhead Info for this Hike
Large lot right beside Route 23.
Google Maps Location: 42.312989, -74.190120
The map below shows the exact topographic location of the trailhead
Sketchy service at trailhead but good once you get some elevation. My network is Verizon. YMMV.