Headed down last Sunday in hopes of getting some dry rock. We took 302 to VT and down 91, onto Mass Pike, Albany, then down to New Paltz. This route according to Mapquest is minutes faster than 16S/95/495/Mass Pike from Intervale but seems way more enjoyable. Less traffic and good scenery most the way.
We set up camp Sunday afternoon at the Multiple Use Area. There have been some changes there in the last 2 years and we found out the hard way by not reading the kiosk closely. Some sites are marked "Closed for Re-vegetation", which we stayed away from. Some sites had signs that read "Camp in Designated Sites only". We chose one of those sites, away from the road, to keep the dog out of traffic. We were the only ones there and had the place to ourselves.
After climbing Monday we returned to camp to find camp gone. No tents, no sleeping bags, no nothing. At first look it appeared we had been robbed blind. Then we noticed the fire-pit we had reconstructed we disbanded. At least we hadn't totally lost our gear, and figured a phone call and a fine would get our stuff back. Wrong! The ranger on the phone informed us that we could come by his office the next morning at 10am to receive our citation, and then go to court on Wednesday night. This didn't bode well as we both needed to drive back to NH Tuesday night, and didn't want to spend money on hotels for 2 nights, or for food (stove was gone too). I explained how we had made our mistake over the phone to no avail. "This is the process" is all the ranger would say.
So Tuesday morning we waited at the Department of Enviromental Conservation for our ranger and citation. When he arrived he told us he had gone back out and looked around the camping area, and decided the signs were not clear and he would give us our stuff back, and we wouldn't have to go to court. He apologized, and I understood he was just trying to do his job, but a part of me wanted to ask him if the $77 dollars for a hotel room would come out of his wallet or the DEC.
Seems the free camping may soon become a thing of the past there, and I'm sure they're probably talking about it on the gunks website, but I've never been there.
As for the climbing, it was a bit cold so we only got a few routes in. Holy shet is that place awesome though. We never saw any Mohawk Rangers so we didn't need to pay the day use fee, but I noticed it was $10/day for climbers, $8/day for hikers. Hmmm... wonder why....
Tried to drive up to see the Mountain House. It costs $10 just to look at it...