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Poet, Will Nixon, told me about the Platte Clove soon after I’d moved to Kingston in 1998.
October 5, 2001 I said to my then friend and shoe-repair man, Greg, “Now that I’ve found out how to get there, I’m gonna hike it. If I’m not back by 7:00 call 911.”
Parked my car at the Saugerties Water Company cyclone fence and at 1:30 PM from that spot entered the creek. I had talked to no one nor knew ANYTHING of what lay ahead. Kept a diary (typed) of elevation rises and time. Sole departures from the creek bed: climb on all fours to circumnavigate falls I couldn’t/wouldn’t climb.
At that time WHAT I STILL CALL THE DEVIL’S KITCHEN (perhaps mistakenly) I figured began beneath the old stone bridge on Rte. 16 and ended at the bottom of that huge waterfall which if I face the south wall at the base, enters from my right.
At that point in my trek, facing upstream, exhausted, I took a right turn; and after an excruciating. yet comparatively serene passage (NOTHING like I found halfway down just a week ago!) And, with no equipment wouldn’t hazard the (how new is it?) twenty foot waterfall! had to turn back, I reached the top of the bridge a few minutes before a quite dark 7 PM.
For years since I have dreamed of doing a professional, theatrical documentary of the hike. Despite books I’ve read and bought, I know of no reliable source of the names-in-order of all 18 (?) falls’ for me to plot my crew’s journey. Might you have ALL ACCURATELY?
And, might you clarify for me specifics of the “end forks,” BEGINNING AT THE BORROT OF THAT FALLS MENTIONED ABOVE , i.e., (1) “straight up” below, up to and past the Red Cabin; and (2) the stream which continues to mountaintop from beyond the Rte. 16 bridge? For example, is “Devil’s Kitchen” exclusively UPHILL/UPSTREAM from the bridge?
And, is the portion from the bridge, DOWN to where, at one’s right that majestic waterfall drops properly called, “Hell’s Hole?” If not what the hell IS “Hell’s Hole?”
After cajoling and pleading with him for a couple years to do the trek, I finally hooked Hartwick’s “Professor of Geology.” He brought along (I suppose some know him as “Mr. Catskill Mountain”), Bob Gildersleeve and his daughter, Diane. She rescued my multi-function watch from a pool 10-15 feet deep!
“Dad” said if I gave him a typed copy of my trek diary he would load it onto, is it the “Mountaintop Hiking Society/Club?” website. I haven’t looked to see if he did.
I was, to say the least, delighted that it was I, “wet behind the ears” who had initiated those reputed Catskills experts to THE GORGE! Remins me of a Caribbean vacation long ago: Virgin Gorgers!
A couple years’ later I did the same with two younger and considerably-more stalwart, friends.
But, each time we cut short what would have been an exit at the bridge. Each time I became indebted to, exstreamly lucky that I had the mighty escorts I had.
I was NOT in the fantastic shape I’d been a few years’ earlier when solo. In fact, had it not been for each team, truly, I might not have made it out.
Since then I’ve been eating my Wheaties again, working out at the gym, in fields, on flats, negotiating creek beds and all-4-ing what most sane people would identify as virtually-vertical slopes.
July 4, 2015
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Allan Wikman says: