A few comments about the book:
A very detailed selective trail guide (listing fifty outings in all) by two very experienced hikers, extremely well written and documented...as a selective guide it is an admirable addition...with considerable interpretive detail. Maps are included. This is an excellent book for anyone just starting to explore the Catskills, though a number of demanding hikes are listed (all are carefully and accurately graded by difficulty).
This new title features 60 trails located throughout the Catskill Park and includes how to get to each trail, summit elevations, difficulty ratings, hiking with children, numerous overlooks and viewpoints, photographs, and page maps that cover all 60 trails. Catskill Day Hikes authors Carol and David White have included fascinating historic insights, and information on popular public attractions and campgrounds.
If you are eager for adventure but aren't sure where to go, and you don't have a lot of time to get there, consider the endless trails, valleys, and vistas at your doorstep, right here in the Catskill Park. Finding the trails that lead to rambles and peaks has never been easier, with Carol and David White's new book, Catskill Day Hikes for All Seasons.
The book is a combination of the authors' great love for the forests, hills, and cloves of the Catskill Park, and a desire to share this placerich in history and lorewith others. Each of their over-60 day trips is painted with words, and as my eyes bounce along the letters, my imagination travels. From my reading chair, I cross a bridge on the Dutcher Notch trail and "look for crayfish in the deep pool," moments later, I am on the Devil's Path, climbing the 6th highest peak in the Catskill Mountains, it's winter again, and I "catch a day when ice wraps each tiny branch, creating a shining canopy which clinks in the breezes." A few minutes later I am hiking the Inspiration Point trail and am sitting "on a ledge and enjoy[ing] the ravens and vultures riding the thermals" below. It's hard to keep still with so much to see and do.
The White's enthusiasm for this area is contagious, and their writing style is clear and easy to follow. Trail descriptions cover round trip distance, elevation change, difficulty, maps, driving directions, and a descriptive and exciting walk-through of each trail. I carried the book with me as I rounded the Onteora Lake loop and was glad to have it when the trail suddenly branched off in two marked directions ("just after the car, note that the marked trail turns right; the bike path continues straight").
Carol and David White's passion for the great outdoors runs deep. As members of the Catskill 3500 Club, they have climbed the 35 peaks exceeding 3500 feet in the Catskill Forest Preserve4 in winter. As members of the Adirondack Forty-Sixers, they have climbed the 46 mountains in the Adirondacks over 4000 feet tall. I asked them which hikes they recommend for spring, when trees are bare and birds and views are most easily visible. They suggest: the Magical Quarry on Sugarloaf (hike 23), as "the ideal family hike," and, for those who been keeping fit all year, the Windham High Peak (hike 13) where, "beyond the lean-to and the magnificent dark forests, you emerge into a deciduous woods with continual views...to the impressive Blackhead Range, the 3rd, 4th, and 5th highest Catskill peaks visible from Albany." Vernooy Kill Falls (hike 49), is 'especially rewarding on a hot day in June, when the mountain laurel is in bloom and you can swim in natural mountain pools.'
With the White's book, waterfalls, woods trails, beaver meadows, and living excerpts are at my fingertips. Their book is loaded with opportunities to more than fill every available weekend this season, and whether you have an hour or a full day in which you want to take a casual stroll or undertake an uphill battle, you will have no trouble finding exactly what you seek.
Their excellent research, both in personal accounts of each hike, and in the historical references throughout, make this book a great reminder that you don't have to go far from home to have sensational and inspiring adventures.
-Jennifer May, Catskill Mountain Region Guide, May 2003
We highly recommend this book for anyone who hikes in the region. Carol and David’s passion and knowledge about the Catskills is evident throughout the book....One of the greatest attributes of this 176-page book is the mix of both difficult hikes as well as those more oriented for families or novice hikers....Another reason we love this book is that the 60 hikes are evenly spread throughout the Catskill Park.
-Aaron Bennett and Chris Olney, Catskill Mountain Club
The authors’ love of the Catskills is evident in their enthusiastic writing....Of winter on West Kill Mountain, the Whites observe: ‘At about 3,800 feet, copious snow blankets the landscape. You might catch a day when ice wraps each tiny branch, creating a shiny canopy which clinks in the breezes.’….The book is better organized [than another discussed]. They start with an overview map showing the location of each hike; they offer a summary at the beginning of each excursion; and devote an appendix to listing excursions by degree of difficulty.
-John Rowen, Kaatskill Life, Spring 2003
One day on an Adirondack summit, a fellow hiker described some Catskill routes and the Whites decided to take a look. They were so taken by what they discovered that they became members of the Catskill 3500 Club, which requires climbing the 35 Catskill summits over 3,500 feet – including four in winter….When asked to suggest an accessible trail offering a good introduction to the Catskills, Carol White said one of the most spectacular is the Escarpment Trail…from North-South Lake state campground to a wide-open summit called North Point, [which] traverses lofty outcrops that inspired Thomas Cole and other painters of the Hudson River School.
–Mary Esch, Associated Press, 2006