Fahnestock: Catfish Loop

After a few weeks of no hiking due to life things, I managed to get back out on the trails this morning. Jackie was away on a business trip, Robby with the grandparents, so I invited the next best thing, my buddy Josh. We had a little bit of a time constraint, so I figured let’s do the Catfish Loop in Fahnestock. It’s nice, it’s moderately easy, and doable in 2.5 hours or so.

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Parking on Dennytown Rd is usually spacious, but for some reason there were about 20 cars parked there around 7:30AM, and it seemed like a large group camping across the street. I managed to squeeze into a space, and away we went. The Catfish Loop Trail begins with 3 trails joining up. There’s the beginning/end of the Catfish Loop and the Appalachian Trail. We went left up the Catfish. It’s a heavily wooded trail that goes gradually up. This time of year leaves have begun falling, so at times it is a little difficult to follow the trail. About a mile or so in you meet up again with the Appalachian Trail, then another half mile you cross the Moneyhole Mountain Trail (read about that hike here). We didn’t deviate from the Catfish this time, we stayed on it for the whole trip. Not long after that junction is the only view on this trail. You arrive to these large boulders that you have to walk in between to continue on the trail, but if you stop and look straight across, you can see across the Hudson to Storm King Mountain, that is if there isn’t fog or a cloud obstructing your view. I climbed one of the boulders to get a better view; it wasn’t much better though.

This was also a nice spot to stop and have a beer. Because that’s what you should do at 9 in the morning while hiking before you eat breakfast or even had your coffee. Beer.

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After our little beer break, we continued along. I told Josh it was downhill the rest of the way, and boy was that a lie. It started downhill, but then you come to the “steepest” climb of the trail. I say “steepest” because it isn’t that bad, but when you haven’t hiked for a few weeks and just drank beer on an empty stomach, it’s a little difficult. We survived and chugged along, following the trail which goes along the property of the Taconic Outdoor Education Center, which is an education center outdoors in the Taconic region. We then crossed the junction with the Moneyhole Mountain Trail, and I knew we were close to the finish line. Off in the distance, we heard what sounded like creepy children singing, and smelled campfire. As we got closer, it smelled more of incense than campfire, and it wasn’t children, but a bunch of women. Chanting. In a strange language. Holy shit, we just stumbled into a gaggle of witches, or herd, or flock, not sure what it’s called. That explained all the cars. Moving right along, we got back to the car before we were turned into frogs or thrown into some stew.

Catfish Loop is a nice hike. It contains easy parts, with some moderate climbing sprinkled here and there. While lacking amazing views, it more than makes up for it in tranquil surroundings. This is the hike for you if you are looking for a nice quiet adventure. That is until you reach the camp of creepy as shit witches.

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