Burroughs Traverse

26 June 2022

hike 🌎 Catskills 🥾 15.47 miles ▲ 4351 feet ⏱ 8.1 hours

I don’t think any single peak in the Catskills is overly challenging, so I typically string them together when I go. I planned to begin this hike by summiting Slide, then hiking the ridge to Cornell and Wittenberg before descending into the northern valley and making my way back. I would later find out that this is called a Burroughs Traverse. Neat!

My friend and I arrived at the Slide Mountain trailhead around 6:30 AM and began up the trail. It didn’t waste much time before throwing us into the main ascent. Being a popular trail, it was well groomed; no parts stood out as technical. About halfway up, my friend threw up all over the trail. After retching for a few minutes, he sipped some water and insisted we press onward. More people need that attitude! The scene was quite disturbing but he assured me it was because of his ill-chosen dinner the night before. Some time afterwards, he said he felt completely better.

We reached the top and pressed onward as the summit is wooded. We stopped shortly after though to enjoy a view just off of the summit. The whole top of slide was rounded with no large falls. We didn’t waste much time before descending the ridge towards Cornell. Between Slide and Cornell we walked through some campers starting to pack up and head out. Throughout this whole hike, my friend wore long jeans and a metal-framed ALICE pack in the 90 degree heat. What the hell.

Cornell and Wittenberg were two little hills along the ridge. The view on Cornell was nearly non-existent. Wittenberg however was spectacular! We took a long rest here to fuel up and admire the view. It was the best view of this hike by far. What we didn’t realize was the ridiculous amount of elevation we were about to shed. On the trail down the north side of Wittenberg, we would descend nearly double the amount elevation we gained summiting Slide. We were exhausted by the time we got to the bottom of the valley. Frustration sunk in when we realized that we still had 5 miles and the equivalent of an entire Slide Mountain’s worth of elevation to climb!

On the climb out of the valley, we ran into a baby cub. I turned a corner and scared the cub off of the trail. This scared the crap out of us and created a large feeling of dread as the trail we were on was the only trail that took us to where we needed to go; we had no choice but to press forward. After a long slog back and a mile or two on the road, we made it back to the car and left.

Overall, this hike was much harder than expected and mainly due to the final climb out of the valley. I would rank this hike to be similar in difficulty to a single peak in the Adirondacks or Whites.