First Snow: Pakatakan trail

 The first snows in the Catskills usually fall mid-October. By December it is not unusual to find a couple of inches on the ground. By late fall, a hiker should be wearing ice capons on their hiking boots. The springs that cross the trails get very icy and sometimes covers wide areas of the trails. The first snow is a good time to see old logging trails that have been grown over. It is also a time to see deer and coyote tracks. The bears should be in hibernation by then. Do not enter any caves or deep overhangs during the fall or winter. The bears are hibernating and can wake up very angry.  The peak of fall colors goes from the last week in September ( greens and yellows) to mid October ( reds and oranges).

Mushrooms of Platte Clove

 

Honey Mushroom: Armillaria Gallica

Identifi cation: Cap tan to golden yellow; prominent ring on stem; white spore print; black “shoestring” cords (rhizomorphs) that transport food to growing hyphae

All Armillaria are edible 

 

 Emetic Russula: Stropharia rugusoannulata —Russula emetica

 stored on branches of black spruce by squirrels.

 

Crown-topped Coral Fungus: 
Clavicorona pyxidata

Another cool fungus I spotted is the Crown-tipped Coral Fungus growing on the forest floor. It’s scientific name is Clavicorona pyxidata. This was new one for me and I found it growing on the forest floor in a grove of old growth red pine and spruce trees.

   
 
 
 
Fly Agaric : Amanita muscaria
 
Identification: Cap yellow to orange with white scales that are remnants of the universal veil; white gills free from stalk; white veil; an amanita mushroom, beautiful, but hallucinogenic and poisonous.

 

 

 

 

 Milky Caps Lactarius volemus

Identification: Cap rounded, center often depressed; all members of this group contain a latex that is exuded when the gills are cut Season of fruiting: Summer-fall Ecosystem function: Mycorrhizal with conifer and hardwood trees Edibility: Not recommended; mushrooms with a latex that turns yellow or lilac color are poisonous 

   
   
  Oyster mushrooms in the hood 
   

HIke Up Hunter Mountain

Hunter Mountain is at the end of Devil’s Path. It is 7 mile hike with a 2000 ft. vertical rise.  The snow is on the ground until May. Hiking  from December to April requires

 ice capons on your shoes. During the winter you may elect to hike in snow shoes depending on the depth of the snow. The trail is too rocky for back country skiing. During the summer the hike should take 4-6 hours. There are two trail heads along rt 214.  this leg of the trail is considered very rough rated at a 9/10. There are some small  rock scrambles as you hike above the 3500 ft elevation  mark. There is no water once you leave the streams at the bottom of the mountain.