I love hiking in the Catskills. There's so much beautiful texture all through the woods. The plan was to hike the full Black Head Ridge, which has 3 of the 5 highest peaks in the Catskills - Black Dome (3890 feet), Blackhead (3840 feet), and Thomas Cole (3840 feet). It's a 9.4 mile hike with 2700 feet in elevation gain.
A strenuous hike, and I wasn't prepared for how much my cardio-capacity had dropped when I was sick earlier in the month. My body was not cooperating with me. I really struggled with any inclines, going a few feet and stopping to catch my breath and let my heart slow down. I've never been so challenged on a hike. But it was a gorgeous day, we had driven 2.5 hours to get there, and I wasn't about to make everyone turn back, so I stubborned it out to get to the first peak (Thomas Cole - more than 2 miles and 2000 feet above the parking lot). From there, it was a much easier walk over to Black Dome, but I decided I was not going to push it by going to Blackhead. There's a loop trail we can do another day. So we headed back down. I, at least, was satisifed with our seven mile hike. Going slow gave me lots of time to inspect the scenery around us, which was truly beautiful.