Sunday, May 17, 2015

Sparta Mountain at Sparta Glen

Sparta Township,
Sussex Co.,
New Jersey

Hiking Trails:
Blue Trail: Blue blaze
Green Trail: Green blaze
Yellow Trail: Yellow Trail
Unnamed Trail: Unblazed

Total Time: 0:50 hour
Estimated Distance: 2.0 miles
Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Level of Recommendation: Slightly recommended
Points of Interest: Lake views, good short climb

I had a tradeshow in Ogdensburg, New Jersey, which is in the rural highlands region of Sussex County, New Jersey. I wanted to find a short hike in the vicinity for after the show, and this seemed to be the perfect location. Sparta Glen is a stream that forms the headwaters of the Wallkill River that goes through a narrow valley. The area has some nice picnic areas and a short network of trails. There are several wide trails that meander up Sparta Mountain, and one shorter but steeper trail that goes almost straight up to the top and requires scrambling. The longer wider trails are all marked, but the short steep trail is unmarked.

I parked near the trailhead of the blue trail and took the blue trail alongside before it starts the more gradual climb to the top. I didn’t see the view on the top and meandered along an unmarked trail on the top of the ridge heading north, which just looped me back to a yellow trail which I took back to where I was before. From  there there is a short descent to the view, which faces south and provides and nice view of Lake Mohawk. I then continued from here on the unmarked trail down the mountain, which is quite steep, and took this down to the road in the glen which I then took back to my car.

Map of the Route.
Central Jersey Highlands Trail Map

The Green Path

Large Wild Turkey I Encountered Along the Hike

Approaching the View

Lake Mohawk from the Viewpoint, Facing South

Another View of Lake Mohawk

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Beacon Hill and Peters Kill Loop

Minnewaska State Park
Ulster Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Lake Minnewaska Carriage Road: Unblazed
Beacon Hill Trail: Yellow blaze
Beacon Hill Carriage Road: Unblazed
Sunset Carriage Road: Unblazed
Awosting Falls Carriage Road: Unblazed
Red Loop: Red blaze
Peters Kill Connector Trail: Yellow blaze
High Peters Kill Trail: Blue blaze

Total Time: 3:30 hour
Estimated Distance: 7.75 miles
Level of Difficulty: Very difficult
Level of Recommendation: Highly recommended
Points of Interest: Lake views, rock formations, Waterfalls

Hiking Partner:
Eli Koegel

Minnewaska is one of my most favorite areas in the region, and this particular area is one of the most scenic in the park. This is a great hike and highly recommended. This was one of the hottest days of the season so far, with high’s in the upper 80’s.

We parked at the main parking area by Lake Minnewaska (you need to get here early on nice weekends as the parking lots fills up very fast), went down to the waterfront, and then went along the Lake Minnewaska Carriage Road. We walked through the picnic area and then down through some woods paths to the outlet of the lake, and then cut across to the short unmarked trail which provides a view. From there we took the Beacon Hill Trail along the ridge to the end, which leads to the Beacon Hill view. All along the ridge here there are rock formations from the rock that had fallen from the cliff, as well as excellent views to the east and northeast.

From the Beacon Hill view we went along the wide Beacon Hill Carriage Road to the Sunset Carriage Road descending the mountain. From there we cut across a short bushwack to the Awosting Falls Carriage Road, taking a short break by Awosting Falls. Awosting Falls is a very pretty falls with a large drop, though there are always a lot of people here due to the proximity of the falls to the parking lot.

We continued along the Awosting Falls Carriage Road along the side of Peters Kill, and then we crossed the road and went alongside the stream descending deep into the valley. Along the stream there are several more smaller and very pretty falls. We then met up with the Red Loop trail and the Peters Kill Connector Trail which go alongside the stream to the High Peters Kill Trail. We then took a western turn to the High Peters Kill Trail and climbed up the side of the mountain as it goes along the narrow valley made by the Peters Kill. We took the High Peters Kill Trail all the way back to the entrance of Minnewaska at the lower parking lot, then took the connector road to the Sunset Carriage Road up the mountain, and then back to our car.

Map of the Route.
Minnewaska State Park Map (Shawangunks)

Me at the Beginning at Lake Minnewaska

Lake Minnewaska from the Shore

Lake Minnewaska Overlook from the Picnic Overlook

Lake Minnewaska from the Picnic Overlook

Lake Minnewaska from the Picnic Overlook

Lake Minnewaska from the Picnic Overlook.
Looking West Towards Catskills

Lookout Near the Beginning of the Beacon Hill Trail

Me on the Beacon Hill Trail

Eli on the Beacon Hill Trail

View from the Beacon Hill Trail. Facing North Towards Sky Top.

View from the Beacon Hill Trail. Facing North Towards Sky Top.

Pine Tree on the Beacon Hill Trail

Me on a Ledge on the Beacon Hill Trail

Me on a Ledge on the Beacon Hill Trail

View from Beacon Hill. Facing North Towards Dickie Barre.

View from Beacon Hill. Facing Northwest Towards the Catskill Mountains.

Awosting Falls

Awosting Falls

Eli at the Peter's Kill by Awosting Falls

Peters Kill

View Along the High Peters Kill Trail,
Looking Towards Beacon Hill

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Pyngyp Mountain
Harriman State Park

Rockland Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Suffern-Bear Mountain Trail: Yellow blaze
1779 Trail: White blaze

Total Time: 2:30 hour
Estimated Distance: 3.6 miles
Level of Difficulty: Very difficult
Level of Recommendation: Highly recommended
Points of Interest: Pyngyp Mountain Scramble and View
Pros: Excellent climbing and great views
Cons: Walk on Road at Beginning, Proximity to Palisades Parkway gives highway noise, beginning part of hike requires roads

Hiking Partner:
Shimmy Rosenberg

Pyngyp Mountain is one of the best climbs in Harriman. Its steep and rocky making a tough scramble, and affords and excellent view on top. There is no direct parking which is annoying, so you have to park on Lake Tiorati Road on the pull off and walk on the road for a bit to get to the foot of the mountain. We parked and walked along the stream due east down the mountain, and went back along the road until it met up with the Suffern-Bear Mountain Trail. We took the trail across the Palisades Parkway.

Immediately upon crossing the highway, the trail begins a the steep, rocky ascent up Pyngyp. The rocky face allows constant views as you climb. We took many pictures at the summit, and then continued down the mountain on its northern flank, and then climbed a hill called "The Pines". The trail was recently refurbished up this hill. On top of The Pines there is a view of Black Mountain Facing North.

We then descended The Pines, and took the 1779 Trail due east upon meeting up with it. At the end of the trail we walked along the road down the hill where we left the other car (this was a two car hike.)

Map of the Route
Harriman/Bear Mountain Trails Northern Map

Turkey Vulture Eating a Dead Skunk or Cat  at the Beginning of the Hike

Looking Up the Pyngyp Mountain Before the Ascent

The Highway Overpass Above the Palisades Parkway

Shimmy Crossing the Highway Along the Trail Route

Shimmy Ascending a Steep Scramble

Me Ascending a Scramble

Me at Pyngyp Mountain

Shimmy Climbing up a Rock Face

Shimmy on Pyngyp

Me at the First View at Pyngyp

Me at the Scutt Memorial

View at Pyngyp Mountain at the Trail Turn

View at Pyngyp Facing Southeast.

A Scenic View

View of the Palisades as it Enters the Gap Between
Pound Swamp and Pyngyp Mountains

Two Vultures Soaring the Mountain Updrift

Facing Southwest

Me at the Pyngyp Summit.
Haverstraw and Hi Tor Mountain are Behind Me.

Facing East Towards the Hudson River

Manhattan Skyline in the Distance. Facing South.

Firefly on a Flower

View of Black Mountain from the Pines