Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

San Diego,
San Diego Co.,
California

Hiking Trails:
Razor Point Trail
Beach Trail
Broken Hill Trail
North Fork Trail

Hiking Partner:
Abigail Friedman

Total time: 1:55 hour
Estimated Distance: 2.8 miles
Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Level of Recommendation: Highly Recommended
Points of Interest: Rock formations, Torrey pine trees, Pacific ocean
Pros: Hike down to ocean, beautiful scenery and formations
Cons: Lots of people here, $10 entrance fee

I went on vacation with my wife to San Diego, and we took this relatively easy hike from the mountain down to the ocean. The scenery is very pretty with the flora, rock formations, beach, and ocean. The area also contains the Torrey Pine trees, an endangered trees endemic to this small area as well as a small island in the Pacific Ocean. The park preserve is actually within the limits of the city of San Diego, but this area is indeed undisturbed and feels remote from the city.

We parked at the top parking area, and went on the Razor Point Trail. The trail passes a nice overlook rock formation, and it ends down by a large bluff overlooking the ocean. We then took the connector trail to the Beech Trail, which took us down the steep embankment to the ocean. We walked along the beach area and then went back up the Beech Trail to the Broken Hill Trail. We then took the North Fork Trail at the split to the road and then back to our car.

Map of the Route

Looking West to the Overlook from the Beginning of the Trail

Looking Down to the Valley in the Beginning of the Trail

Me on a Rock Overlook

Another Picture of Me on a Rock Overlook

Looking Down into the Deep Canyon that Goes Into the Ocean

Cactus Grove and Yucca Tree

Excellent Ocean and Cliff Views

Rare Torrey Pine

Yucca Overlooking the Ocean

Yucca Standing on the Side of a Colorful Cliff

Beautiful Ocean Picture. Facing North. 

Pretty Yellow Flowers

More Pretty Yellow Flowers

Descending Towards the Ocean

At the Beach

Wall Jutting Into the Ocean and Flat Rock

Me at the Beach

Me Crossing the Wall by Flat Rock

Looking North at the Sheer Cliff on the Oceanside

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Silvermine Ski Hill and Frozen Lake

Harriman State Park,
Orange Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Ski Trails: Unblazed
Menomine Trail: Yellow blaze

Total time: 0:55 hour
Estimated Distance: 1.6 miles
Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Level of Recommendation: Highly Recommended in the winter
Points of Interest: Ski trails, frozen lakes
Pros: Interesting spot, scenic lake
Cons: Lots of people here on weekends

The weather had been freezing cold and all the lakes in Harriman remained frozen. This was again one of those few days where the temperature reached about 30 degrees. There was a lot of snow on the ground from all the storms, and towards the end of this hike it started snowing pretty heavily in the area.

I parked at the Silvermine Lake Parking area off of 7 Lakes Drive, and noticed this lake was much better off than Lake Welch, with lots of fisherman on the lake. So I felt more confident and crossed the road and walked across the length of Lake Askoti. There were also alot of people sledding down the old ski slopes. I climbed up the right slope, passing through all the sledders, and then at the top cut across to the left slope and climbed down. From there I took the Menomine Trail along the side of the lake, and then after the bend at a wide area of the lake, I cut across on the frozen lake and hiked back to the inlet of the lake before returning to my car.

Map of the Route. Harriman/Bear Mountain State Park
Northern Map

The large group of people sledding on the old ski trails

Ascending the old Ski Trails with the Sledders

Climbing up the Old Ski Trail

Sledders Climbing the Trail Behind Me

Hiker Near the Top of One of the Ski Trails

At the Beginning of the Menomine Trail

Beech Forest with Trees that Haven't Fully Lost Their Leaves
on the Menomine Trail

People Walking on Silvermine Lake,
Picture Taken from Menomine Trail

Silvermine Lake Looking Towards Black Mountain

Silvermine Lake Looking Towards the Mountain of the Ski Trails


Panorama in Middle of Silvermine Lake

Frozen Lake Welch

Frozen Lake Welch
Harriman State Park,
Rockland Co.,
New York

Total time: 0:07 hour
Estimated Distance: 0.2 miles

I had made an attempt to hike along Lake Welch to the islands, and then wanted to go around the other side of the causeway to the western side of the lake. The lake was posted as safe by the rangers, and I measured fishing holes about a foot thick, so the ice layer was really no concern. But upon arriving at the lake, I found it quiet and deserted, with a bit of slush from the recent snow melt, and didn't feel comfortable walking along the lake on my own. So after walking from the parking area about 50 feet into the lake, I turned around and went back to my car. I then opted to move on to Sterling Mine Lake, which in the end turned out to be a much better choice (see the next post.) Nevertheless, I still managed to take a few good photos.

Map of the Short Route

Descending Along the Boat Launch area to Lake Welch

Where the Boat Launch Meets Lake Welch

Lake Welch Facing Southeast

Facing Towards the Islands on Lake Welch

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Frozen Lake Askoti / Lake Skanatati and Pine Swamp Mountain

Harriman State Park,
Orange Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Red Cross Trail: Red blaze
Arden-Surebridge: Red blaze
Long Path: Green blaze

Hiking Partners:
Jay Schwartz
Lee Rosenberg
Diesel (Lee's Golden Retriever)

Total time: 2:00 hour
Estimated Distance: 1.9 miles
Level of Difficulty: Somewhat difficult due to snow conditions
Level of Recommendation: Highly Recommended
Points of Interest: Frozen lakes, good view
Pros: Good lake hike combination, nice view
Cons: Rerouting of trail away from view

The past few days prior to this hike had been frigid. This was the first day where the temperatures had been above 30 degrees, which made it a beautiful day for hiking. The day started out very cold but it very quickly warmed up. The Harriman lakes have been frozen for some time now, so this was a good opportunity to hike on two more lakes. There was about 8 inches of snow above the ground and lake surface, which made the walking just a bit challenging.

We parked at the Lake Skanatati Parking area off of 7 Lakes Drive, and crossed the road and walked across the length of Lake Askoti. Lee had brought his dog Diesel, a beautiful snow-white Golden Retriever, who had a blast running around in the snow. We hiked along the lake to the north, across the small island, to the rock peninsula along the north side of the lake. From there we headed to the Red Cross Trail, crossed the road, and climbed up Pine Swamp Mountain. At the terminus of the trail we took the Arden-Surebridge for a short distance and then bushwacked to the old view atop Pine Swamp Mountain. (This view has been rerouted for some odd reason, as mentioned in one of my previous posts.)

From the view we bushwacked down the mountain on the west side of the view, sliding down the mountain on our rears. We went down to the Long Path, headed west on the Long Path for a short distance, and at the Western side of the lake cut through to the shore of Lake Skanatati and walked along the lake towards our car.

Map of the Route.
Harriman/Bear Mountain Trails Northern Map

Looking North on Lake Askoti

Our Tracks Walking into Lake Askoti

Ice Fishermen on Lake Askoti

Me and Jay on Lake Askoti

Me on Lake Askoti

Me, Lee, and Lee's Golden Retriever, Diesel

Me on a Snowy Island in Lake Askoti

Diesel Wandering By the Evergreens
Directly North of Lake Askoti

Pine Swamp Mountain View

Group of People Crossing Lake Skanati. From Pine Swamp Mnt View

Zoomed into the Above Picture

Lee and Diesel

Diesel Roaming Freely on Lake Skanatati

Pine Swamp Mountain from Lake Skanatati.
We Were Looking Down to this Spot from Above the Mountain Before

Walking Along Lake Skanatati