Monday, March 18, 2013

The Path of the Devil

Recreation, Health, & Fitness

The Devil's Path is one trail that is not to be messed with or taken for granted. I have backpacked the Devil's Path on many, many occasions, and I cannot recall ever hiking that trail in good weather conditions.  It was always raining, and the conditions were always cold, wet, foggy, and muddy. But there is also something very eerie about the forest through which the trail runs. It feels as if the forest is looking at you, stalking you, mocking you, and waiting to creep up on you. No wonder it is called the Devil's Path. Still, it is one of my favorite trails to get out on for a weekend backpacking trip. It provides great solitude and a terrific workout. 

According to local legend, the early Dutch and German settlers in the region took one look at the high mountains and figured that only the Devil could traverse its steep treacherous grounds, hence its name - the Devil's Path. The trail is located in the Catskill region of New York State and runs east to west for about 25 challenging miles, winding its way over five mountains (each over 3500 feet) and  leading the adventuring hiker/backpacker through a fascinating display of vegetation, rocks, and tree roots. And those roots! Scary! Especially in wet conditions. Not a hike for the faint of heart or those not in good condition, but a trip well worth the effort. 

[Photographic Art by Ric Couchman]

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