January 3, 2005
Ticeteneyck Mountain

The graciousness of private landowners occasionally leads to invitations for us to explore some beautiful private properties in the Catskills. Quite some time ago, Sherret S. Chase of Olive extended an offer to us to come for a hike on his family land on Ticeteneyck Mountain. We finally made the time to do so this past Friday, on New Year's Eve. Unfortunately the weather wasn't great - if we'd gone a day earlier or a day later it would have been nice and sunny, but this day was very overcast and gray. The temperature was pleasant for hiking though, and we enjoyed great company with Sherret leading the way for us and our friends Justin and Katy, and of course our three faithful Labrador retrievers too.

The Chase's and other family members own well over 500 acres on Ticeteneyck, and several of them live in homes at the base of the mountain, outside of Shokan. Sherret senior began summering here when he was two years old, and then moved here full time with his wife Catherine (who most folks call Kenny) soon after they were married. They live in a house known as "The Folly", which was built from a barn moved to that location from the Town of Hurley by a relative of theirs. It's name derives from the fact that the relative who originally relocated the barn promptly moved away to Vermont for 30 years and didn't get to use it. The Chase family has been discussing the possible sale of much of their family land to the State, for inclusion in the Catskill forest preserve, and so we were getting a look at what might become a public treasure here in the Catskills.

From the Chase residence at the base of the southeast side of the mountain (elevation 1,400'), we began trekking up the steep slopes. The remnants of slushy snow on a thick carpet of oak leaves made for slow, slippery hiking, but we weren't in any hurry. We took advantage of the occasional flat terraces to rest and throw sticks for the dogs. In between these flat benches, we scrambled up through the steep forest of dryer eastern-Catskills trees, and admired the numerous bluestone outcrops. As we gained in elevation, some of the terraces began to afford wonderful views of the landscape to the southeast - views of Tonshi and Little Tonshi Mountains, and the sweeping Ashokan Reservoir. A little higher up, and we could see to the northeast, where Yankeetown Pond was the dominant feature in the Wittenberg Valley. If it was a clearer day, we might have enjoyed great views of the Indian Head Range further on, but today it was too cloudy. After our climb of about three quarters of a mile we reached the best view of the reservoir, and the summit of Ticeteneyck just beyond (elevation 2,500').

Sherret explained that many people assume that the name Ticeteneyck comes from Native Americans, but that it is actually from a Dutch family name. There have been several different spellings of the name over the years, and the bronze USGS elevation marker embedded in the top of a boulder on the summit has a different spelling than the one used on most maps today. Now in his 80's, Sherret has climbed this mountain countless times. As a kid, he was up here about twice a week with his cousins, camping out, exploring the mountain, and using their imaginations. He amazed us when he said that he set the record time running up and down the mountain when he was about ten years old, doing it in an amazing 27 minutes!

From the summit, we descended the much more gradual ridge heading toward Peck Road to the southwest. This stretch was much more leisurely for us, and we enjoyed more good conversation as well as the occasional sites and sounds of hawks, ravens, and woodpeckers. This section of the hike was on log trails made during a recent timber harvest. Justin counted about 80 years of rings on one of the larger oak stumps. As we meandered down the mountain, we saw some neat places that looked inviting as a tent spot, and one spot that looked perfect for a potential lean-to. We also came across some serious cliffs. These cliffs were about 30 feet high, with overhangs, crags, icicles, and a few tenacious ferns. From their tops we took in tremendous (though gray and obscured today) views of the imposing Burroughs Range to the west and the expansive Esopus Valley to the northwest. We can't wait to come back to these view points when there are clearer skies, and hopefully a blazing sunset to set off the fantastic mountain splendor that is visible from here!

The log road wound its way back down to the base of Ticeteneyck, bringing us out alongside the beautiful Butternut Lake, created by the Chase's some twenty years ago. As the subdued light of the day was beginning to fade, we ended our hike back at The Folly with a hot cup of delicious turkey soup - yet another expression of Sherret and Kenny Chase's graciousness and generosity.

- Aaron and Chris



Catskill Mountain Club

PO Box 558, Pine Hill, NY 12465