Science Adventure of the Month: Camping on Ashokan High Point (part 1)


I’ve been haunted by a mountain. I can see it on the way to town. I can see it when I walk at the reservoir. And when the leaves are off the trees, I can see it from my back yard. I learned its name is Ashokan High Point, and I had been meaning to hike to its summit for years.


I finally did it! The last Sunday of September I gathered my camping gear and drove out to the Kanape Brook Parking Area. About 4 PM, after locking my car up for the night and hauling my 35 lb pack onto my shoulders, I crossed Rout 42 to find the trail head. I’d read the Catskill Mountaineers overview of this hike so I knew that I was looking for a bridge in the woods that spanned the Kanape Brook.


The registration book on the other side of the brook briefed me on the travels of recent hikers. I added my name, address, and phone number to the list, and indicated that I’d be camping over at the top of Ashokan High Point. According to the registration book, the only other people who I might encounter were day hikers coming back down.Image

Skimming through earlier entries, I noted endearing comments about the beauty of the Kanape Brook.  As I hiked along the brook, I was also enchanted, stopping to take (many) pictures and to notice how the sound of its water changed from place to place.

Around 6:45 PM, I reached the summit. Since it was dusk, I set up camp right away. My plan was to fall asleep as early as possible and start hiking again just after sunrise.



While I could have camped in a field further along the trail and been a bit warmer, I decide to sleep at the absolute peak of Ashokan High Point…right next to its Geodetic Survey Marker. At home, I was able to get the current data for this marker through the National Geodetic Survey Data Explorer. If you scroll down on the data page for this marker, you can read logged station description narratives as well as information about its recovery in 1970. (TO BE CONTINUED)

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