Black Dome Mountain, 3980 Feet
October 9, 2010
9.8 miles solo via Black Dome Range and Blackhead Mountain Trails
#3 on the Catskills 3500 List
Less than 1.5 miles of hiking to summit a 35’er? Well, yeah, if you’re coming over from Blackhead like I was (CTMQ hike here). There are, of course, other ways to reach the summit of Black Dome and many people with car spots certainly do come up it from the west (must more gradual, but much longer as well). No matter, after coming up from Maplecrest and after the out and back conquering of Blackhead, I was now back in the col between the Blacks and ready to ascend again.
Most of the climb was in the trees, but there were several nice viewpoints along the way up. There are a few short super steep sections that required handholds, but nothing too nuts at all. At one point on the way up, I was afforded the best view of the hiking I’d done over the last day. Up from the valley to Burnt Knob and Windham High Peak (CTMQ hike here) and then over Acra Point and down, only to come back up to Blackhead and over to where I was taking it all in. I thought for a second how nice this all was and how I’d probably not revisit it again, until I remembered that to be a CAT35 completer, I had to ascend Blackhead in the winter again. This, believe it or not, made me quite happy as I went off in search of the true summit.
I surprised myself with how quickly I reached the level ground of the somewhat broad summit of what is – and this is somewhat surprising considering the fairly simple climb to the summit – the 3rd highest peak in the Catskills. Heck, 20 feet higher and it would be part of the Northeast 4000 Footer list! Oh well.
We are to assume that the trail itself crosses the highest point on Black Dome and I didn’t really see much to make me think otherwise. I poked around off trail for a while before deciding I had reached 3980 feet at some point on the trail. A short side trail led down to an excellent viewpoint of the Hunter/Big Indian Wilderness ranges. With the sun now bathing the valleys and still no one else up on the mountain with me, I sat down and leaned back and just sort of reveled in my solitude.
It really was absolutely perfect. I decided right there that I’d just take it easy and after I was done hiking, I’d head into Windham and enjoy a decent lunch before driving home – rather than racing through the rest of this hike in order to get to another one and pick off another 35’er. This, undoubtedly, was the right decision.
I loved Black Dome and once I realized the hike over to my 3rd summit of the day, Thomas Cole Mountain, was a mere hop skip and jump away; with the trail never dipping below 3500 feet before ascending again to the next summit.
Off I went to Thomas Cole… Go here