Taking a Hike: A winter climb in the Catskills

Winter does not arrive neatly with the solstice. I took this hike in the northeast Catskills on Dec. 11. If the air had been soft and the forest carpeted in copper leaves, I would have been happy to call it — as astronomically I should — a late-fall hike. But the air stung and the Catskills were covered in powdery … read more

Taking a Hike: In search of Redding’s Westway

One of the things I love about hiking is a beautiful simplicity; you set off down a trail and you follow it until you’re finished. In this ideal, the trail is your guide, an undemanding companion indicating the way forward, leaving you to your thoughts and the scenery. Some trails are really like that; most are not. Since returning home … read more

Taking a Hike: A walk in the Sierra Nevada

Books and, even more, movies put places on the map. Remember how Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods popularized the Appalachian Trail when it was published in 1998? Robert Redford and Nick Nolte then repeated the trick when they ineptly hit the trail for the screen version two years ago. Author Cheryl Strayed and actress Reese Witherspoon did something … read more

Taking a Hike: From the Devil’s Tombstone to the Colonel’s Chair

I don’t have a fear of heights. At least, that is what I thought until I met the fire tower atop Hunter Mountain. Now, there is nothing dizzying about Hunter Mountain itself. At 4,050 feet, its summit is the second highest in the Catskills, but it is flat and cliffless, covered in dense spruce-fir forest. It is utterly undramatic and … read more

Taking A Hike: The view from Peoples State Forest

What is your favorite Connecticut state park? Readers of this column will likely have one. Sherwood Island for a stroll beside the Sound? Maybe Sleeping Giant for a hair-raising scramble up a huge traprock head? For me, it’s the secluded wooded valley and enveloping hills of Macedonia Brook west of Kent.   Now, what about your favorite state forest? Harder. … read more