For a while we’ve wanted to start the Catskill 3500 and we finally did with, Slide, Cornell and Wittenberg under our belts. We started our journey at Oliverea Road where the parking lot was already starting to fill up. Some hikers just woke up from their pitched tents and were getting ready for their adventures. After putting on some layers and grabbing our waters, we started the hike to Slide mountain. On this day, the trail was wet and muddy and a bit windy. We crossed over the Neversink, hopping on rocks, and continued the hike up the stone path. As you go further up, you climb a few stone stairs and finally make it to the top. Or so you think. A short straight walk to your right, and you see an opening to the left. This is where you turn and walk up, following the red trail for another mile or so. Once you finally reach the top, take a breather and enjoy the rest of the smooth path. On the way up, there were two ledge opening which offer immaculate views. I recommend that you enjoy these views because once you get to the summit, there are none.
Hiking to Cornell
Once we reached the summit, we took a short water break and continued to the next spot, Cornell. The journey started off by going down the hill. Before going down any further, we took a nice break. We ate snacks, drank water and I sat on the edge of a rock to give my legs a rest. After the long break, we continued on our journey. From one downhill to the next, to wooden stairs and a spring, the journey was rocky but exciting. Being surrounded by nature gave me peace. I started talking to the trees and even sang to them a bit. I also told them not to worry, that coming back I will be exhausted and won’t have the same energy. So they only got to hear my horrible singing voice once.
The Cornell section of the hike was very rocky with some muddy sections in between all the rock scrambling and descending. I turned around at some points of the hike just to look at the massive rocks we would have to climb back up. Just before going down the Cornell Crack, we took a break. We ate more snacks, drank some water, took plenty of picks and texted friends. Yes, you’ll have service here but the views and a nice little break for the tushy and legs were much appreciated. Once two other hikers and their dog went down the crack, we got up and did the same. It’s funny how I never worry or think about descending steep rocks until I’m in that situation. I’m just glad I have a partner to give me a hand when I need it. After this there were a few more sketchy climbs down the rock but they are fun and you can’t help but be proud of yourself when you’re done.
Hike to Wittenberg
After you’re done with all the downhills, the trail evens out, somewhat. You follow footbridges and a narrow path into the mossy woods. Again, we came on a wet day so plenty of water and mud on the trail. Our boots were muddy but at least our toes were dry. Here, you will also have to scramble some rocks but the trail isn’t as steep or challenging. We met a few hikers on the way to Wittenberg and as we walked back to Slide, we met them again. It’s incredible how hikers can connect in just a few short seconds.
After some more narrow trail walking through the magical woods, we finally reached Wittenberg mountain. The views were breathtaking and everyone we met on the trail was already there, enjoying their break and snacks. I think we took the shortest break here since we knew that we had to turn back around and do the hike to Slide.
As soon as I emptied the rock from my boot, drank some water and finished my protein bar, we got up and headed back towards Slide parking lot. The hike back was amazing. Everything looked different and I sure made a point to say how I didn’t remember ‘this or that’ at all. At one point as we were going down the trail, I stepped too hard and hurt my ankle. Around the same time, he also stepped weirdly on a rock and hurt his foot. So, the remaining five miles back to Slide were a bit slow and painful. I took more breaks then I wished we had but the ankle was not having it. Listen to your body and give it rest otherwise you can injure yourself even more.
When we finally reached the last mile stretch back to the car, we caught up to the same two guys with their adorable dog. We all followed their incredible dog, Eddy, as he led the way to the parking lot.
Overall, the hike to Slide, Cornell and Wittenberg was amazing. It has been a while since we had a nice, long, and challenging hike. We were able to finish the hike with a bad foot and ankle, which made the ride back home even more rewarding. We’re not sure which hikes are next but we are more than ready to get started and complete the Catskill 3500 challenge.