As I descended to Bartlett Ridge and Panther Gorge I was a bit surprised at how steep it was. I remembered it as steep, but not *this* steep.
I had recently hiked the three Santanoni mountains in June, at the time remarking on how wet it was. Earlier this month, the drought had dried up even the wettest of trails; the thunderstorms that preceded this hike brought them back to their soaked and muddy glory. The lead-in trail to Bradley Pond was, unimaginably, even wetter than in June.
The Catskills seemed like a good option for distance and vertical, and additionally there are two over-4,000′ peaks which are part of the New England “115” peaks. (The 46 Adirondack peaks are part of that list, too, along with 48 in the White Mountains, 14 peaks in Maine and 5 in Vermont.) I chose to start with Slide Mountain, the highest point in the Catskills and an easy climb.