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LM: Devils Path, Catskills, 22-miler, Halloween Celebration!

Well, given the schedule and my total lack of leave, I don't see how I'm going to get back to the Adirondacks this autumn (winter comes early up there!), so, as the next best thing, I want to share this diabolically difficult trail with you guys. 22 miles! 18,000 feet of elevation change! Rock scrambling in full packs. Water scarcity! Treacherous descents! What could be better? Additionally, we'll be on the devil's turf as Halloween draws nigh. C'mon, you know you want to be there!

Since I've already done this as a single day speed test, we're going to do this as a two night backpacking trip, with just a mile or two Friday night, most of the mileage in the day on Saturday, and finishing up on Sunday. Splits about like 2-14-4. Obviously, this will bring down the difficulty (thus the MO rating), but you should not underestimate this trail. It is for fit backpackers who have got their weight down (thus the MO rating). You really don't want to carry a heavy load over this ground.  Trust me.  Or ask Jen and Shelby.

Here's how this works. It's a long drive up to the Catskills, so we'll leave DC early on a Friday morning, complete the drive, set up the shuttle, and then celebrate some at the fabled Gypsy Wolf. Yes, I, a Texan, am going to take us to a Mexican restaurant in Woodstock, New York. Then, we'll head to the beginning of the hike, walk in a few very easy miles, then camp at the shelter on the Overlook Trail. Next morning, we'll be up for a long and difficult day of climbing and descending. Hardly a horizontal mile on the trail. Saturday night, we'll camp either at the Devil's Acre Shelter on Hunter Mountain, or at Diamond Notch falls--a beautiful spot. I'll probably also reserve a camp site at the Devils Tombstone campground, in case anyone needs to bail.

Sunday, we'll complete the trail in the morning, celebrate locally, then begin the long drive home.

This trail has been called the "toughest in the lower 48." While I think that's a bit much, significant bragging rights come with completing it. And it's not easy to get, as it does involve a car shuttle, a long drive, and all that. Hard to say when we'll do it again.  So grab your spots now.

I'll limit the size of the group to 10, but the group size depends on the vehicle situation.  Please obtain the best available map, here.

Hopefully, this will be the first in a long series of trips exploring new destinations for us!

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  • Katie H.

    My pics are up! I was serving as George's personal photographer and there are also several of the back of MM :) The number of trail pics are absolutely indicative of the number of times I needed to stop and catch my breath! Thanks to those that posted such beautiful pics!

    1 · October 29, 2013

  • Katie H.

    The DP was intense! The most technical trail I've done in the NE but the most fun! I may or may not have been able to walk on Mon morn! Thanks everyone for a very fun weekend, and thanks MM for organizing another great trip!

    1 · October 29, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Great Trip! Tracks from the trip here: http://www.everytrail.com/view_trip.php?trip_id=2382145&code=87929b9ce5eb3dc8f7789272db9548e3
    Stats, replay, KML and GPX available from the link as well. Cheers!

    October 28, 2013

  • Michael M.

    Trip report is up ... http://www.meetup.com/DC-UL-Backpacking/messages/boards/thread/39180912/#[masked] ... Feel free to elaborate, embroider, or just plain lie.

    1 · October 28, 2013

  • Will

    Such an awesome looking hike! Hated to miss it. Congrats to everyone for finishing such a tough trail.

    October 28, 2013

  • Jessie

    This is an epic trip for me, a battleground from start to finish. superb leadership and wonderful people to backpack with. Given a chance I will go back for another round. Thanks for the support everyone hope to see all again soon..

    1 · October 28, 2013

  • Michael M.

    I would like to thank everyone for making this hellishly tough hike such a pleasure! The weather was a challenge, the logistics, formidable, but everyone came together to make it happen. And, again, how many can say they've backpacked DP? Couldn't ask for a better group of backpackers. Trip report coming up in a day or so ... I am barely awake at my desk!

    October 28, 2013

  • upasana

    This was great.......exactly the kind I want......very supportive people.....looking forward for many more

    October 28, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Awesome first hike with the group, hopefully there will be many more. Thanks for the good time and warm welcome guys.

    1 · October 28, 2013

  • Mignote

    This was such a great hike. By far this is my second hardest hike! Thanks Michael for great leadership, can't wait to go out on the trail with you, lighter and faster :). Thanks Brandon and mark for great company throughout the whole trip.

    October 27, 2013

  • Jessie

    @ rest stop platekill I87 an hr to go to meet ben

    October 25, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    im here, look for the guy with the beard and brightly colored floral visor

    October 25, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Waiting on the park and ride parking side in front of metro entrance

    October 25, 2013

  • Michael M.

    Hey there ... So I tinkered around with my gear list for this:

    http://files.meetup.com/1502009/Shoulder%20Season%20Gear%20List%20for%20Mid-Atlantic_102013.docx

    My goals: (1) keep it fairly light, while still having plenty of redundancy and safety for a group; (2) keep the bulk down so that I'm still comfortable with my MLD frameless pack (it feels weird when it gets too bulky); (3) avoid going to my full down parka and down pants, or my ULA Epic pack (which I would use in a true winter scenario).

    At a 14lb base weight and 21lb total packed weight, including a fulls DSLR and micro-spikes, I feel pretty good about it. I've never managed to get under a 10lb base weight in the winter. I know some ULers can do it, but I think my thin Texas blood stands in the way.

    MM

    PS Ben, you got me beat?

    October 20, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      October 21, 2013

    • Michael M.

      I'm at just under 18 lbs total packed weight (including water) this morning (plus the DSLR), so I did manage to lighten up some, probably still not under 10lbs base, though.

      October 25, 2013

  • Shelby P.

    Good luck!!! I will be thinking about all of you today!!! It's one diabolical trail! Cheers DC UL!
    PS - so jealous about the gypsy wolf! :)

    October 25, 2013

    • Michael M.

      Yay, Shelby! Wish you were coming with us. I'll text you a photo from the lair of the GYpsy Wolf tonight! Skiing this weekend?

      October 25, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Hey guys, I just joined the group. Not really sure how y'all vet people for hikes, but I am confident in my ability to do this hike.

    October 9, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      I'll be coming down from MD, so I don't think I can manage that.

      October 24, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Ok see u at the metro station then

      October 25, 2013

  • Michael M.

    See most people tomorrow morning, 10:15am, Grosvenor Kiss and Ride. Ben and Jessie, see you guys at the Gypsy Wolf, 5pm-5:30pm! Call me if there are issues.

    October 24, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    best GPS solution I can recommend... smartphone with Everytrail App and backup li-ion charger. Most smartphones in airplane mode and gps on will go 3-4 days on a full charge. Just keep it close to your skin so it doesn't freeze. Last week I recorded a short 18miler up the Priest ... http://www.everytrail.com/view_trip.php?trip_id=2371972&code=f697458933eff71ad2de657062b14417

    2 · October 22, 2013

    • upasana

      Looks like all experienced and superfit hikers........I am fresher though.........don'­t mind a slower one

      October 23, 2013

    • Michael M.

      Upasana ... No worries ... for this trip, we won't have to go very fast. The miles, especially on Saturday, are tough, and we'll be taking them deliberately.

      1 · October 24, 2013

  • Michael M.

    Just ran a quick 5K around the Mall. The wind is out of the north and it feels ... brisk!

    October 23, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Does anyone have a link to a good, printable, topo map available?

    October 22, 2013

    • Jessie

      Thanks Michael am good I have the catskill trail map 141

      October 22, 2013

    • Mignote

      Thanks Michael! I already got the map.

      October 23, 2013

  • Jessie

    Hey guys is hunting still active in Catskill? Do we need to wear something like bright orange?

    October 22, 2013

    • Michael M.

      @ Jessie ... Good question ... Here is the answer ... http://www.dec.ny.gov...­ ... It does seem like there's hunting going on, so wearing some bright colors, especially orange, is advisable. No camouflage. My guess is that few hunters will be traipsing around on the DP this weekend.

      October 23, 2013

    • Jessie

      cool thanks.

      October 23, 2013

  • Michael M.

    One thing, as a safety feature, I'm going to want to leave a car in the middle of the route, at NY-214. That's going to add about 30 minutes on to our set up time after dinner (https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&tab=wl), but I can think of a number of situations where we will be profoundly grateful to have that car there.

    October 23, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Current weather estimates: will be a chill down to nearly 0 degrees Friday night! Then Snow and Wind Saturday Night from base to summit! During the day it appears to be stable and but NOT above freezing! I know there have been several weather updates, but I always check this site 24-48 hours before a trip: http://www.mountain-forecast.com/peaks/Hunter-Mountain-New-York/forecasts/1234
    I recommend you all come prepared :)

    October 22, 2013

    • Michael M.

      Thanks, Marc. Very useful. That site is seeing a lot more wind than the others. Perhaps because it is measuring from the summit of Hunter Mountain (where we won't be sleeping)? In any case, everything I've said about layers becomes even more true if it is windy. Saturday's night shelter has plenty of tree cover, but if it is really that windy, we may have to drop down to Diamond Notch. A mile or so more, but an easy descent.

      October 22, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Do you have anything that can measure windspeed, or rather, is everyone ready to test their tent in 50mph gusts? :) The wind on the Priest this weekend was a constant 20 mph with 40-50mph gales at night and its showing the same on the website currently, and we did get dusted with snow at least once during the night.

      October 22, 2013

  • Darwin

    My knee won't be back on shape to attend this trip, I am force to step down for now.

    October 22, 2013

    • Michael M.

      I am sorry to hear that Darwin, as I look forward to hiking with you. But I understand about injuries, and I think it best to be prudent. I'll see tomorrow at the pub!

      October 22, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Addtionally, anyone using a pump filter for water please, please consider going to bleach solution for treatment. Again, we can explain how to go about do this, it is super cheap too:) If you're carrying a filtering device, you will HAVE to protect it from freezing. If it freezes, throw the element away, its worthless now. To protect it, place it in two ziplock baggies and sleep with it to keep it from freezing.
    Going light is a safety device, and it doesnt require blowing a wad of moolah either!

    October 17, 2013

    • Michael M.

      A few words on batteries for a GPS. Buy the lithium ones. Everytime I've used cheaper ones, I've regretted it. Also, keep the GPS warm and close to your body. The hipbelt pocket on my ULA Epic worked okay. I was able to get about 1.5 days on a pair of Li in Iceland. I've just ordered a professional set of rechargeable batteries. We'll see how that works. I would like to stop chewing through batteries at the rate that I do.

      October 22, 2013

    • Will

      Yeah, I actually used some high end Eneloops which have worked well for me in the past, but they were the first to die. I always worry about weak signal if I stash the GPS down low or in a pocket. Does it keep a pretty good signal that way?

      October 22, 2013

  • Michael M.

    There is a weather station on top of Hunter Mountain (http://www.wunderground.com/q/zmw:12492.1.99999) ... Which is very near Saturday night's shelter. At present, Saturday is looking rather wet ... :(

    October 21, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Ive got a 2 person double door tent (5lb jack rabbit UL) and would be great to team up with one other person from the group to share the weight. I have extra sleeping bags (m&f) and airpads in case anyone needs to borrow anything. Cheers.

    1 · October 21, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      I will have my tarp, as I always do. You already know of my
      Love of shelters, but will defer use to someone who needs the shelter.

      October 21, 2013

    • Jessie

      am also set to bring my tent and a bear rope..

      October 21, 2013

  • George F.

    I am planning on bringing my own tent already, I've kind of gotten use to it being my home away from home. I will get my pack and supply list to you either tomorrow or Wednesday Michael.

    October 21, 2013

    • Michael M.

      Sounds good, George. To clarify: I really only need a gear list if you're a new person (which you're not). I am happy to look over a list for you, though.

      October 21, 2013

  • Michael M.

    In looking over the Google images for the two shelters involved (Devils Acre and Devils Kitchen), all I can say is that they are not large, perhaps 6-8 for Devils Acre and 6 for Devils Kitchen. And there's a chance we could arrive to find them occupied. I think people had best plan to have a tent with them. At least bring the tents in the cars, and we can make game time decisions.

    October 21, 2013

    • Jessie

      thanks its a very thought out plan. also i can just pick up Ben and meet you guys at the gypsy wolf will it be ok?

      October 19, 2013

    • Michael M.

      Jessie ... That's a good idea. It would save the DC crew considerable time. Let me sleep on it, though. I had a stray thought that I might want to leave a vehicle at NY-214, in case I have someone struggling. Perhaps I'm being overly cautious, though. I'll answer firmly tomorrow.

      October 20, 2013

  • Michael M.

    The weather report we should be looking at is this one (http://www.weather.com/weather/monthly/USNY1559), for West Kill, NY. It does seem likely that the lows will be in the 20s, so plan accordingly. The shelter Friday night is relatively low, but the one for Saturday night is quite high. Bringing extra layers to ensure that your bag is warm enough is a good idea.

    We should all keep a careful eye on the weather!

    October 17, 2013

    • Michael M.

      Since I'm spending the weekend chez moi, I may put together a new gear list, for shoulder season purposes. Obviously, I enjoying weighing things and putting them on a spreadsheet!

      1 · October 18, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      I keep thinking Im going to upload my data to www.geargrams.com and keep forgetting to. Maybe this'll be the weekend!

      October 18, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Heads up regarding bears; aparently bears are a prob near Hunter Mtn, people feed them. As backpackers hiking in bear country, we will need to be sensitive to the bears appetite and hang our smelly stuffs; food, tooth-paste, etc. Please be prepared with the means to bear bag.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bG_cmwNuAbA

    October 18, 2013

    • Aileen

      Thanks Ben. In the interest of ULness, let's coordinate, rope/bags...

      1 · October 18, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Everyone should have their own bag and a carabiner. For our groupd we should have 2-3 cords of @least 40' each.

      October 18, 2013

  • Darwin

    My two cents about cold night: As some of the folks coming know me. I do live cold...In last weekend trip I was wearing a down. pant and my 800 down jacket and I did use a 20 down sleeping bag and still I did need to wear my rain suit. as an extra layer ...this will give you and idea how cold it's going to be, be prepared

    October 17, 2013

  • Darwin

    Still looking for a ride.

    October 17, 2013

    • Michael M.

      Darwin, if you can get to Grosvenor, I have you covered, either in my vehicle or George's.

      October 17, 2013

    • Darwin

      Great thanks I'll be there

      October 17, 2013

  • Aileen

    On an unrelated note, I see that one of the group's sponsors is REI, stating that they have a 100% satisfaction guarantee. Note that this is no longer the case. Their products have a 30 day guarantee on clearanced items and a year on everything else.

    October 16, 2013

    • Michael M.

      Yeah, that's just a link left over from an earlier epoch. I'll just remove it: we have people actually sponsoring us these days. Thanks for mentioning it.

      October 16, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Aileen, like a good lawyer, I don't ask many questions I don't already know the answer to. I have asked REI about meetup sponsorships as a couple sites list them as sponsors, however I had the REI VP in charge of community affairs check into this and was told they absolutely do not sponsor meetup groups....and let them know if someone says REI sponsors them as it is not accurate.

      October 17, 2013

  • Michael M.

    Perhaps for the homeward bound restaurant, we'll try this one: https://plus.google.com/106574751259216678642/about?gl=us&hl=en#106574751259216678642/about?gl=us&hl=en ... opens at noon.

    October 17, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Please read, some comments regarding safety;
    This is the weather report for West Kill, NY; http://www.weather.com/weather/tenday/West+Kill+NY+USNY1559:1:US West Kill is towards the western side of the DP. West Kill, NY is <1500'. Average temp drop per 1K' on typical overcast day is ~3deg, if clear could be a drop of~5deg. There are simple, light, inexpensive fixes to help to stay warm if you're going to pushing the limits of your equipment on this trip. FYI a bags rating is typically its "survial" rating, not comfort rating. If you're questioning things, please reach out to myself, or Michael for suggestions.

    October 17, 2013

    • Michael M.

      To clarify, though I list my 35* bag on my gear list, I'll be bringing my 10* Versalite, as it does look cool, potentially, at elevation.

      October 17, 2013

  • Michael M.

    Can I get a sense for who's planning to drive from DC and who's riding?

    October 15, 2013

    • Darwin

      @ Marc _ are you still driving or riding whit some else?

      October 16, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Im planning to ride with Brandon for now.

      October 16, 2013

  • Mignote

    I will need a ride too. I live close to silver spring MD, and I can meet you anywhere where I can leave my car fir days. Mine is not going to make it outside the beltway :)

    October 16, 2013

    • Michael M.

      Mignote, you can leave you car (for free) at the Grosvenor garage. As long you leave on Sunday, there will be no charge. Alternatively, you can just metro in to the Kiss and Ride, where we'll meet.

      October 16, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    To those that have hiked this before, how is water availibility? Yes, I read the first paragraph in the description.

    October 16, 2013

    • Aileen

      There's water, restrooms, a parking lot and a campground at the midway point.

      1 · October 16, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Alright! Party time, thanks!

      October 16, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Check this out; http://sectionhiker.com/devils_path_catskills/
    Oh baby! Can't wait!!!

    October 16, 2013

  • Michael M.

    @ Jessie, you driving, my friend?

    October 16, 2013

    • Jessie

      I'll be heading out thursday to visit my relative in Phily so most likely ill just drive straight to the trail head but we can use my car as shuttle at the end if needed.

      October 16, 2013

  • Michael M.

    (I'm off scouting a trip for CHC and for my day hike book, so I will be incommunicado today. We'll get the car logistics squared away shortly.)

    October 16, 2013

  • upasana

    I stay in Bethesda, so any of the metro stations nearby (red line) would be easy

    September 13, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Do you still need a ride?

      October 15, 2013

    • Michael M.

      Upasana has claimed a spot in my car, but I think we will need your car, Marc!

      October 16, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Hi Michael, and others. I am just back from several months of travels, and would love to join on this trip. Am I on a waiting list, or do you need some proof of my seriousness in joining this hike? Please advise... Cheers!

    October 15, 2013

    • Michael M.

      Hi Marc ... Shoot me an e-mail with your gear list and a quick description of your recent backpacking experience. I'm a little concerned about the size of the shelters and available tent space, but if I can take 11, I can take 12. MM

      October 15, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Recently led several weekend summit trips in snowy 17k range of the Andes. I'll send you an email with the gear list, thanks.

      October 15, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Ill be leaving from home(Lancaster, PA) friday. What time shall I meet the group? Additionally, where shall I meet? Thanks!

    October 15, 2013

    • Michael M.

      Ben, here are the directions to the ending point of the hike, where we will be leaving a few cars ... http://goo.gl/maps/mn...­ ... Plan to meet us there at about 4pm, Friday, 10/25. There is a parking bay on the right. That's[masked] N,[masked] W.

      1 · October 15, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Darn, will be at a conference now

    October 3, 2013

  • Will

    Regrettably I'll have to back out of this one :( Forgot this is the weekend I'm helping support a friends 40 mile run on her 40th birthday!

    September 18, 2013

    • Michael M.

      That's too bad! But help your friend! What run is she doing?

      September 18, 2013

    • Will

      It's a solo run she'll be doing at Centennial Lake in Columbia that will benefit the Arc of Howard County - basically to test herself and do something crazy!

      September 18, 2013

  • KingsleyC

    Marathon weekend...next time!

    September 16, 2013

9 went

  • Michael M.
    Veteran Plus Member (3-2!@ - 46er) (B-VI) (WFA) (U-Turn) ('16), Organizer,
    Event Host
  • George F.
    Member
  • Katie H.
    Member (Sunshine Trailbreaker), Assistant Organizer
  • upasana
    Veteran Plus Member (3!)(UPS)
  • Jessie
    Member (Green Lantern)
  • Mignote
    Veteran Plus Member (3-2!-@) (Mimi) (Pringle) ('16), Assistant Organizer
  • A former member
  • A former member
  • A former member

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