This July (2014), we were off to Peekamoose and Table Mountains in the Catskills. It was going to be a great day. Yes, I said going to be a GREAT day! Yup, the sun was out, cool breeze, and great company. Peekamoose and Table Mountains are the most southern of the Catskill High Peaks and offer some fine hiking, top-rate backcountry camping, beautiful wilderness forests, and some awe-inspiring views. The distance to the summits from the Denning trail-head is about 4.8 miles to the summit of Peekamoose, making for a nice 9.6 mile out and back.
Related post: Peekamoose and Table Mountains in the Catskills
The Denning trailhead’s path follows the Phoenicia-East Branch Trail for about 1.2 miles, at which point turns south and must cross the Neversink Valley on the blue marked Peekamoose – Table Trail. In the Neversink Valley is the East Branch of the Neversink River and Deer Shanty Brook. No bridge in the valley has lasted long due to spring snow melts. At times the crossings without these bridges can be hazardous, but at low water levels, one can almost walk right across these creeks without a problem.
On this day, we had both low water AND solid bridges to get across. The first bridge, which crosses the East Branch of the Neversink, is a wide solid structure with handrails and structural supports made with steel I-beams. That’s right, steel. The second, which crosses Deer Shanty Brook, is a bit different. Let’s say more backcountry—two logs with a hewn walking surface, a cable “handrail,” and a 10-foot drop.
The Mishap on the Peekamoose – Table Trail
I was always taught to keep my “eye on the ball,” in this case, the trail markers. As I crossed the second bridge and neared the far side, I started to look.
up to find the next trail marker. I know what you’re thinking, “he fell off the bridge.” I wish. You see, at the end of this bridge, the logs spilt like a Y, leaving a gap.
As I neared the end of the bridge, I looked up and stepped, and I placed my foot and nothing, no bridge, only air. I fell through the Y gap, which left me straddling the log like a cowboy riding a horse at a rodeo. Yup, it hurt lots if you get my drift… The reason I say rodeo is that I was still holding onto the cable while trying not to swing off the bridge. The problem was that my thigh was wedged into the Y gap from the fall, and I was not going anywhere. As I “swung,” I twisted and severely contused my leg.
Our hike was over, and we made the 1.25 mile limp out back to the trailhead, and I spent the next week sheepishly gimping around. The moral of the story; keep your eye on the trail markers, but not while on the bridge.
See you on the trail (but not while on that bridge)
Posts done in collaboration by Chris and Scott