Catskills North-South Lake – Escarpment Trail Loop Hiking Guide
Parking to Catskill Mountain House Site – 0.4 mile
Mountain House Site to Artist’s Rock – 1 mile
Escarpment Trail to Sunset Rock – 1 mile
Escarpment Trail to Newman’s Ledge – 1 mile
Escarpment Trail to North Point – 1 mile
Mary’s Glen Trail – 1.5 miles
North Lake Road to Parking – 0.5 mile
Note: The information here is just an approximation. This is a hiking guide for North South Lake Escarpment Trail Loop which includes Artist Rock, Sunset Rock, Newman’s Ledge, North Point, Mary’s Glen Trail, And Ashley Falls in Hanes Falls, New York, 12436
Start Of The Journey
The lake breathe through my eyes like a shot of expensive vodka; smooth, easy, straight to my nerves and intoxicating my soul. My foot stepped out of the silver car and into the soft soil of the Earth. I saw some of my hiking members did the same. In front of us, the lake lay in a blueish color under the warmth of the morning sun. The trees surrounding it wore a bright and colorful appearance with its tints of green, red, orange, yellow and brown. A soft breeze ruffled the leaves and carried the scent of autumn as it vibrated through our skin like the notes of a revered music that sent our spirits soaring. I was happy since autumn only comes once a year and it comes and goes so fast. Yet, we were at the perfect time and perfect place to appreciate it. We all went back to our respective vehicles and proceeded to the parking lot, excited for the adventure to come.
Days such as that October day, nature painted a scenery that lifted the soul, and contained more healing medicine for the mind than all the man made drugs of this world combined. I looked at the people in the parking lot as I heard their chatter and laughter all around me. All of them were in a good mood which was weird because some of them didn’t even have their breakfast yet. They were nice people and cool to hang out with. They all have that type of smile that is genuinely honest, sweet, and child like with a little hint of serenity that sends warmth to your heart and it makes their smile very contagious. If we ever go to Mount Everest and got lost there, deprived of water and food, they were the type of friends I would choose to eat first before any of the sherpas. Of course, I was kidding on the last part.
Catskill Mountain House Site
The morning sky was a canvas of pure, untouched, and deep blue that proliferated flawlessly over my field of vision with a few clouds over the horizon. The view was obstructed with a few tall trees but there were areas where the view was unimpeded. My heart was happier than a dog with two tails as drool dripped out of my mouth due to the landscape in front of me. The trees adorned the colors of life with their vibrant and vivid shades of green, orange and red and yet they also adorned the colors of death because we knew that death will come for these colorful leaves soon. My crew was talking and chatting with each other. They were a nice bunch of people that loved to hike and loved the colors of the fall. I was glad I got to spend some time with them.
I looked at the scenery with a hungry look, a craving for beautiful landscapes that only nature could satisfy. The type of hunger where you have not had your breakfast yet. It was like the type of look that I had when I was a fat young 13 year old boy and my parents took me to an all you can eat Chinese buffet restaurant. My eyes sparkled greedily, soaking in all the beauty and comfort that they could until my appetite was satiated. I wanted more scenery that I could handle, places that quenches my thirst for adventure, with overflowing beauty of the Earth, and where the wi-fi signal to my phone is weak.
Note: Keep an eye on the trail markers and your GPS location to get to Artist Rock. There are a couple of confuzing turns and the path is a little confusing as well.
The rock bled of a beautiful painting whose intricate craftsmanship came from Mother Earth as her artwork glowed in emerald color and luminescent blue, a style reminiscent of Albert Bierstadt of the 1870s. I often wondered how rich is this person called Mother Earth due to her amazing art galleries through out the world. To my surprised, she did not ask for any money for her bountiful blessings and art, yet we are forever inspired because of her. Each stroke of her hand creates a timeless masterpiece that is forever in motion and for all men and women to see. Every color can be vivid or muted depending on the time of day, and the colors can soft or hard, bold or meek, strong or weak. Yet they all intertwine and work well with each other to create a masterpiece.
I had a big smile that day, an evident sign of bliss that split my face from ear to ear. I had been so happy ever since I discovered how to hike as I met beautiful people along the way. This patch of green earth gave a bright page upon my journey as it was an unending streak of beauty. The people made the hike memorable as well. I have not seen them in a while and it was nice to see familiar people and meet new people that love to hike as well.
The leaves lay scattered on the ground like frozen tiny flames of various color, as the top came alive with rich shades of lime green that was only possible because of the light glow of the autumn sun. The Escarpment trail was mostly flat with barely of an incline. It felt more like a walk in the park or a place tamed already by man. The wind blew with a slight fragrance of fall as a multitude of leaves flutter rhythmically to the ground. I walked with appreciation to the beauty that was surrounding me. The leaves were dying by the hundreds but at the same time I could not help but think that the way they die was beautiful.
A decade from now, after watching too many TV series and having political correctness indoctrinated into me, I would not call these leaves dying so that I will not hurt its feelings or so that I would appear more caring. I would most likely call it, “plants getting nutrients challenged” or something stupid like that. I’m kind of mean on this paragraph. Hmmm…. something I should think about. Santa Clause is not real also by the way. If you rearrange the letters, it spells Satan as well. You know why diets do not work, its is because the word “die” is in there. You know when people say that there is someone for everybody. So not true, that is a lie also. I can say whatever I want, it is my guide but let us go back to the hike.
A viewpoint such as this one was like oxygen, I will never get tired of breathing it. The day was postcard perfect with the sun emitting a warm light that made the mountain trees over the horizon glow in fiery red, the lake glimmered in somber blue as if it was matching the color of the blue sky and the trees near us glittered with hints of orange, yellow, crimson red, and light green. It was a great day for photographers and nature lovers alike. Sunset rock was a place of pure beauty, painted in the most florescent of all colors. We all loved it.
The view was magnificent and it was over rather quickly. It was like the money that I got from working hard for one month that vanished so quickly to pay for the bills for the next. Only the feel-good memory remains. Joking aside, I know that it was all worth it in the end. People, circumstances, things and even the view will change in time but the fun memories I had with everyone will stay the same. I can always look back on this day and it will always make me smile. In the center of my very being, I framed in stillness, all of these heart felt memories of my soul.
Approximately 1000 feet below, the green trees of the forest devoured the landscape. From this vantage point, every tree seemed like a freshly scooped mint ice cream because of their crown that looked very semicircular. They looked yummy and delicious. The soft wind lingered on our skins, comforting our bodies and relaxing our spirits. It was the perfect place for a lunch spot and we took every advantage of it. Everyone brought different kinds of foods, from sandwiches, salads, rice, crackers and protein bars. My stomach growled as the air was filled with the sweet aroma coming from our meals. Everyone had a cheerful smile, everyone was enjoying their meal and the everyone was enjoying the presence of each other as well.
Nature is a place of beauty, peace, relaxation and love unless you fall down a cliff, then there will be a lot of screaming, blood and stuff. So try your best not to copy us. We are amazing, and you are not. Safety first. In a lot of my pictures, I am always dangling on a cliff but I always felt safe. I am always careful, slow and relaxed when I do these types of photographs. However, I advice not to do them as your safety can be compromised.
Catskills North Point
In front of me was one of the most beautiful landscapes I had ever seen. The vast blue sky was like an ocean while the trees were like colorful gemstones that accumulated upon its shore. We were attracted to the valley like a butterfly is attracted to a flower. It was just the right color of passion, beauty and death all at the same time. We were engrossed in a puzzling thought of how such a beauty could exists naturally. It was such a competition of which one is better, Sunset Rock or North Point. I could not decide as well. A lot of my members voted for Sunset Rock since the trees were a lot closer or the ledge is a lot lower but some liked the higher elevation of North Point as well.
They say that congress is passing a new law for hiking now. You cannot look cool and handsome while hiking at the same time but whatever, I answer to no law and I live my life dangerously. I raised my hands as if everything, as far as the eye could see, belonged only to me. It was as if everything was mine and that I am free to do whatever I want. I do this gesture because I look kind of cool as well. I looked around and saw that everyone was having a great time. I was happy because I was able to provide them with a great experience and a great hike.
Note: There are 3 view points in North Point that are a few seconds apart. The picture above is at the second ledge. Just go north and make a left. The first view point is crowded and somewhat obstructed by trees so go to the second view point.
Mary’s Glen Trail
My feet stepped on the soft moist soil of the Mary’s Glen Trail as mud got stuck on the sides and bottom of my boots. “This is nature!” I thought to myself. A good hike should leave your clothes looking dirty, boots getting muddy and your heart feeling very clean. The trail was littered with yellow and brown leaves stuck on top of muddy soil that made the trail looked hideous. I let the fast hikers go ahead while I waited for the slow ones. The trail was easy, short, a little bit downhill and with barely a change in elevation.
Waterfalls – Ashley Falls
The water trickled down to the moss lichen covered rocks, attracting the attention of hikers and campers in the vicinity. Light bent over the shallow pools, reflecting the surrounding trees and sky above while the autumn leaves find their peaceful resting place in this watery grave. The waterfall was small in height and it was beautiful for a photographer’s eye but for the rest, it maybe unimpressive and not interesting enough as various people took a look at it and then went on their way.
Ashley falls looked terrible as big branches, jagged rocks and holes covered in leaves were at the bottom of it. The water did not flow well and the view was obstructed but it was close and will only take 3 minutes to get there so it was still worth it to take a quick look. The waterfall was ugly. I never thought I would ever say those words or put “ugly” and “waterfall” on the same sentence but I just did.
North South Lake
The blue lake glimmered under the light of the afternoon sun as its chilly waters caressed my weary hand. A gentle wind stirred the stillness of the lake creating ripples on the water. The wind was pleasant and kind as it relaxed and comforted my tired body. It was as if the wind carried my fatigue and lethargy to the sky in a gentle way. It was as if the elements themselves were trying to give me reprieve from the long hike that I just did. The afternoon sun slowly sank on the horizon as its gentle light slowly faded, signalling us to go back home. I waited for the last people that went to the bathroom to be done and then I took the group back to the parking lot. I waved goodbye to everyone and whispered, “till the next adventure”, to myself.
Note: Pay attention to the GPS and trail markers. Going back to the parking lot from this place is a little bit tricky also. There is a bathroom at this lake/parking lot. Sometimes you will see a red “stop sign” hanging on a gate on some of your hikes. Always remember that this is meant for vehicles and not hikers or walking. The signs that you need to be aware of are “No Trespassing” and “Private Property”.