Bushwhacking is so much fun茂林找路(Bushwhacking)真好玩


Since my very first few backpacks, I hadn’t had one trip that beat me that hard until this extremely fun bushwhacking endeavor. Yes, the fun tasted a bit bitter but the trip was fun with no sarcasm added.

This trip was a private trip for friends, and I was the unofficial leader. Therefore I was not as prepared as I always am for every AMC trip and that was the first mistake. The second mistake was that I was too optimistic about the group pace. We were all strong hikers; however, the bushes in the Catskills were stronger than us. They were so thick which made me wish I had a chainsaw; they were so dense which made it easy to get disoriented and hard to stay on the planned route.

And what is the third mistake? Two mistakes were more than enough to make our trip much more difficult than it should have been. The second day, we hiked more than 12 hours and a few of them were in the dark. I bore scars collected mostly from hemlocks and balsam firs for more than two weeks, and my ripped raincoat became my reason not to attempt it again just to prove that my plan would have worked out as sketched if we fixed the above two mistakes.

Alright, the following is my original plan:

The group parks at Denning Road, and hikes on the trail to summit Table and Peekamoose. We then come back to Table and start to bushwhack in order to traverse four summits in this order: Lone, Rocky, Balsam Cap, and Friday. (The route I draw on the map is the bushwhack path and there are in fact 5 summits before we hit the trail again; the last one is not named.) We are back to the trail somewhere between Slide and Cornell, and we will camp there for the night. The second day, we peak-bag Cornell and Wittenburg packlessly, and come back and backpack towards Slide, and hike out of the woods.

The trailhead at Denning Road was not the easiest place to drive in, between it and the exit #19 of the New York Thruway lay sections of county roads, on which nobody could drive fast. We didn’t get an early start as we wanted therefore we agreed on the first plan change: instead of doing the loop counter-clockwise, we did it the reverse direction in order to avoid bushwhacking in the dark.

It took us six hours to reach the campsite and another hour for a side trip of bagging Cornell and Wittenburg. After we finished dinner and bear bag hanging, the night curtain dropped and we called it a day.

That night, I didn’t sleep well. My sleeping pad leaked and I couldn’t pinpoint the problem and I literally had to sleep on hard rock surface for the whole night. My nose was clogged either because of cold or allergies. I woke up so many times during the night, and every time it took me a long while before I could fall back to sleep. I thought of many random things while I was awake, except for one: the mileage for the second day was not shorter than the first day and we had to bushwhack and find our directions. If it took us seven hiking hours for the first day on the trail, 10 hours of hiking would not be an underestimation for the second day.

The fact was: 10 hours still were not enough. We started the second day earlier than the previous day. Putting a compass on my neck and pulling out my GPS as a backup, my body was ready for challenges and my spirit was high. Among the virtual walls formed by tangled bushes, it was fun sometimes to duck and sometimes to pass through holes which hardly fit me. The fun went sour after so many times neither ducking nor passing through was an option anymore and we had to detour and get back on track. Discouragement never stopped accumulating because my forearms and wrists had fresh cuts every so often even though they were covered by sleeves and gloves.

The Catskills are a rocky area, and we were not surprised that giant ledges often stood up and gave us a hard time even though there was no way to learn they were there according only to the contour lines. Sometimes, when we couldn’t go around them, and had to locate a relatively mild path to drop down, I thanked my gym climbing instructor who always advises me to use climbing down as a training method. Of course, it was quite different without a harness and a top rope, and with a backpack, but the general concept applies.

Thank God It’s Friday – we reached our first summit (Friday) and it took us surprisingly long. I looked at my watch and wondered: our legs would be able to hike faster yet we couldn’t hike faster due to the constraints.

We didn’t rest long and started to head to the next goal – Balsam Cap. Between Friday and Balsam Cap, the same old stuff ruled: bushes, ledges, cuts, ups and downs. I managed to get something new: bruises on my lower legs because I tripped on broken logs. We signed our names on the notebook in the canister of Balsam Cap and continued our journey towards Rocky.

An incident happened somewhere between Balsam Cap and Rocky, I ripped open my raincoat. I looked at the 3-inch long opening on my right sleeve as if my raincoat was suffering; oh, I felt that my heart was bleeding, this rain coat cost me a good fortune and it was my favorite color. I wanted to cry as loud as I could and I wanted to spread my tears to drown the goddamn bushes, but I didn’t. I didn’t because I had to remain calm. There was no time to waste; we were in the middle of nowhere. I still stood there stubbornly for 5 minutes as a salute to express the lament.

After signing off the canister on the top of Rocky, it was five o’clock. I didn’t think it would be wise to bushwhack to Lone and then Table, so I proposed to drop down to the Neversink River and follow it to hit the trail and hike out. By doing this, the total mileage was shorter and we didn’t have to worry about getting lost in the woods. The group members agreed with this plan change, and we dropped down to the river. After that point, we needed to hike along Neversink for approximately three or four miles before the trail junction.

It soon got really dark, and sometimes we had to wobble on river rocks. We also crossed the river for a few times to find an easier route to follow. I noticed that our pace didn’t get faster even though bushes were no longer a problem. We were not fast because we were tired. Nobody was talkative anymore and time seemed to flow more slowly among silence.

After a century long, a question broke the ice, “how come we haven’t seen the trail? I thought we had hiked along the river for a long time!?” I did feel the same way; after all, there were ONLY three miles. I pulled out my map and tried to figure out where we were, but it was too dark for me to locate a reliable point of reference. I knew the trail was north of us but I couldn’t give an affirmative answer whether we missed the trail junction or not. We took the assumption that we missed the trail junction and hiked north as an attempt to get back to the trail, but the terrain was too steep to match the elevation profile given by the contour lines. That gave us only one answer: we hadn’t reached the trail junction yet.

I pulled out my GPS again to get our current waypoints to confirm that sad conclusion that we had to hike along the river more. While the GPS was looking for satellites, everybody was chewing their last bit of food, and I kept wondering, “If somebody pops the request to camp, I will not say no.” We still had about a half mile to go, and the moment we saw the blue blaze, I believed that I heard an exciting screaming (Maybe it was from me?!).

Another one and half miles to the car, but that was easy. At the parking lot, everybody didn’t say a word while changing and eating. There was a long silence before somebody said, “I am exhausted and I got really upset up there, but it was fun.”

Yes, it was fun. No matter how many hassles we have to overcome and no matter how beat-up we feel we are during an outdoor trip, once we are safe home, what is left is always fun. And we will go out of doors again.





隊伍將車泊在單寧路(Denning Road),循著步道循序登上Table和Peekamoose山頂。接著走回Table開始尋路之旅,這趟尋路的目標是四個山頭,依序是:Lone、Rocky、Balsam Cap、最後是Friday(其實Friday後還有另一個無名山頭)。之後,又回歸到步道,大約在Slide和Cornell之間紮營。第二天,輕裝登上Cornell和Wittenburg之後,回到紮營地,扛起背包,順著步道,經過Slide後,回到停車地點。

單寧路停車處還不是普通的曲折,從New York Thruway(I-87)下出口19交流道之後,還要順著好幾段、速限超低的鄉間小路,才輾轉達到目的地。也因為如此,清早就開始健行的計畫落空了,隊伍同意將原本逆時針行進的計畫,改為順時針,也就是將尋路之旅推到第二天,因為誰也不想在天黑的時候,困在樹林間。






沒停留多久,隊伍又出動了,下一個目標—Balsam Cap。在Friday和Balsam Cap之間,情況一點都沒有改善:濃密的灌木林、突然出現的巨大岩壁、爬上加爬下、還有令人疼痛的小傷口。我更因為絆到樹幹,多了小腿上的瘀青。登上Balsam Cap之後,隊伍又匆匆邁向Rocky。

Balsam Cap和Rocky之間,樹枝勾破了我的雨衣。我盯著右邊袖子上長達七八公分的傷口,好像我的雨衣正在哀嚎似的,喔,不,是我的心中在淌血:這件雨衣可花了我不少銀子,又是我最喜愛的顏色,天啊,你怎麼這樣對待我?我好想大聲的哭,讓泉湧的眼淚淹死所有的灌木,但我沒有這麼做,這不是哭的時候,沒有時間啊,我需要冷靜,雖說如此,我還是默默地站立了五分鐘,儀式性地表達了我的哀傷和痛輓。

到了Rocky山頂,已經五點了。我不認為應該繼續前往Lone和Table,於是建議大家往下坡直降到Neversink River,然後順著河流走到Neversink和步道的交會處。這樣一來,總行進距離可以縮短,就算天黑,也不用擔心迷路。隊伍很快地同意了,而到了Neversink之後,預計還需要沿河行進約三到四英里,才會到達與步道交會處。






3 thoughts on “<lang_en>Bushwhacking is so much fun</lang_en><lang_zh>茂林找路(Bushwhacking)真好玩</lang_zh>”

  1. 要說我跟運動有什麼交情,最深的,大概就是來小 PO 家「閱讀」運動了。:P 小 PO 真是個健康寶寶。

  2. 這一串過程,突然讓我聯想到以前高中合唱比賽指定曲,





  3. wakako,



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