Sullivan County Highpoint Trip Report

Beech Mtn (3,118 ft)

Date: June 17, 2006
Authors: Sue Ann Miller, Frank Price, and Scott Price

Fred Lobdell's corrections and updates for the approach from Parkville continue to be good. It is an easy route to find and follow using simply the latest DeLorme NY Gazetteer. You can see the departure of Lily Pond Road as you turn north onto County 85 from exit 98 off NY 17. Full foliage in June limits the view as the road descends steeply toward Willowemoc Creek and a hazy day limited the vista but we did not have the difficulties finding the trailhead that were detailed in the earlier reports. Roads are signed as expected and the trailhead near the end of Beech Mountain Road provides parking for several vehicles. We followed the blue-blazed Flynn trail rather than the various snowmobile routes.

With the exception of the initial trail pass around the private home, this is entirely an old road walk until the highest contour, just as Gary Fallesen and Fred Lobdell wrote. On the summit it is entirely bushwhacking once the older road stops at the east edge of the high contour. Three of us looked for high ground and agreed that the summit slopes up toward the south end. We looked for nearly an hour but did not see Dan Case's clump of dirt at a long-fallen tree or Mike Schwartz's X'ed rock. However, we think we have a better candidate for the actual HP.

Walking west from where the old road terminates into the ferns and tangle of immature beeches, we found a substantial boulder that stood 3 feet above the ground around it. Still uncertain of success, the three of us fanned out and bushwhacked southward. A wet spot within the highest contour toward the southern end of the summit creates a clearing that is easy to spot after bushwhacking south from where the road terminates. Ferns in the open, wet area are a different variety from those under the beeches. If you step carefully using tussocks of grass to cross the wet ground, then bushwhack south beyond the clearing, there is an even more substantial moss-covered boulder that juts 4-5 feet above the surrounding ground and is (of course) surrounded by tangles of immature beeches. Sorry we cannot provide GPS co-ordinates. We took a picture and pronounced that boulder the true summit, then returned as we came.

This is not a glamorous summit but the walk is pleasant. We saw numerous toads, a few red efts, and one garter snake along the grassy road-path. We fed too many flies and mosquitoes, despite taking proper precautions, but we found no ticks and had the entire hike to ourselves on a warm and muggy Saturday.