August 27, 2012

Overlook Mountain

This weekend I hiked Overlook Mountain!  It was tough but totally worth it once we made it to the top AND there was an awesome abandoned hotel about half way up the mountain!  Overlook Mountain is located in Woodstock, NY which is about an hour from Albany.  I had never been Woodstock before so it was a dual trip - hike a mountain and see Woodstock!  We arrived around 11 AM and found where the trail started which happened to be a couple of miles up the mountain and next to a hippie religious sanctuary.  The trail was 5 miles round trip but about the first two miles were climbed at a near 60 degree angle, overall it was tough, you definitely felt like you were hiking up the slide of a mountain!
Overlook Mountain Trail Sign
My hiking posse - halfway up the mountain!
Nearly two miles up the mountain we came to the abandoned Overlook Mountain Hotel - one world can describe this hotel - FIRE!  Originally built in 1871 it was destroyed by fire for the first time in 1875, after which it was rebuilt in 1878.  For the next ten years the hotel was become popular but from 1887 - 1917 it was irregularly visited.  In 1923 it was destroyed by fire again.  After the second fire it started to be rebuilt but by 1939 it remained unfinished.  Many speculate that while the Overlook Mountain Hotel had the highest elevation in the Catskills it did not maintain a direct route to the hotel from a rail line making it rather difficult to travel to and from and therefore less popular.  The hotel was boarded up in 1940 but damaged by fire in 1941; the roof and other details survived until the mid 1960s when the hotel was gutted by a final fire.  Can you say cursed!  Today the outer structure of the hotel remains as well as the fireplaces, iron windows and a bath tub or two.  It was a great place to stop and explore along the hike but would definitely be a creepy place to visit at night; when I got home and researched the hotel there were numerous stories of ghosts and various paranormal activity. 

Overlook Mountain Hotel
After spending some time in the hotel we were back on the trail heading toward the top!  About half way to the top there was a set of rocks that I decided to climb - turned out it was a short cut to the fire tower!
There was a very high likelihood that there may have been rattlesnakes in there ... no fear!
Once we reached the top of the mountain there was a fire tower  that we climbed for some amazing views!  At the top of the tower your had a 360 degree view of the Hudson Valley, a ton of other mountains and you could see seven states - New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania!
Overlook Mountain Fire Tower
Looooooong way down!
View from the Fire Tower
After we finished climbing and descending the fire tower we headed out to the overlook (essentially a cliff) which provided even more great views!
View from the cliff overlook of Overlook Mountain
After the hike we had lunch explored the town of Woodstock for a little while.  Talk about hippies!  Lots and lots of tye-dye, live music and head shops; but it had a really small town feel and was a lot of fun to walk around.
New magnet to add to the ever growing collection.  Seems to sum of Woodstock pretty well!
Pretty awesome weekend all around and I definitely want to do some more hiking! Apparently upstate New York and the Hudson Valley have the reputation of having some pretty stellar hikes - I should take advantage!

And last but not least!  Someone gave me this bumper sticker this weekend and I think it is awesome!

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