Sunday, May 15, 2016

Bald Mountain and Doodletown

Bear Mountain State Park/
Harriman State Park,
Rockland Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Cornell Mine Trail: Blue blaze
Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail: Red blaze
1777 Trail: Red blaze
1777 Trail E: White blaze

Total Time: 2:45 Hours
Estimated Distance: 5.3 Miles
Level of Difficulty: Difficult
Level of Recommendation: Highly Recommended

Points of Interest: Good climb and Excellent View

Hiking Partner:
Shimmy Rosenberg

This hike is one of my favorites in the Harriman/Bear Mountain area. The area is quiet, the scenery is dramatic, the climb is steep, and the view is excellent. The Gran Fondo bike race was this same Sunday, and their route was right where the trailhead was. We parked on Route 9W right before the road to Bear Mountain to avoid the traffic from the bike race, and then walked down a little bit to the trailhead. It was difficult crossing Route 9W due to all the bikes going in both directions.

We took the Cornell Mine Trail from its beginning, and climbed up along the brook on the ridge. We continued along on this trail until its steep ascent. Where the trail turns west on the climb, we stayed straight and took the original steep trail route up back to where it meets the Cornell Mine Trail again. We took the Cornell Mine Trail until its terminus on Dunderberg Mountain, by a small pit that is part of the Cornell Mine complex. We headed west on the Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail to its short traverse to the summit of Bald Mountain, which is really the western part of Dunderberg. This area affords an excellent and unobstructed view north, west, and south.

From the Bald Mountain view, we continued along the Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail down into the valley, and cut across on the unmarked woods road that goes in to Pleasant Valley Road in Doodletown. At this point, a small storm rolled in, with strong winds and rain, making the conditions very uncomfortable. About 20 minutes later the rain and wind died down, and we continued along the path until it met up with the 1777 Trail at the end of Doodletown.

Doodletown is a ghost town. This was a small community up until the 60’s, when the state purchased the entire area and made it into a state park. Although none of the structures are preserved, many of the foundations are still in place, and plaques are placed throughout the area describing all the former structures, such as the homes, schools, and church. We went along the trail and veered off at the first former unnamed road that goes to the east and loops back around south towards the Edison Mine. We quickly went up the hill to explore the Edison Mine, went back down along the same road behind the Doodletown Reservoir,  and then joined along with the 1777 W Trail briefly. We then took Pleasant Valley Road down back to Route 9W and our car.

Map of the Route
Harriman/Bear Mnt Trails Northern Map

Dunderberg Mountain from Beyond the Iona Island Swamp, From the Parking Area on 9W

The Bear Mountain Bridge and Anthony's Nose, From the Parking Area on 9W

Shimmy Posing with the Gran Fondo Bikers

Gran Fondo Bikers

"The 16-footer" - Waterfall on the Cornell Mine Trail

Approaching the Bald Mountain View, Facing North Zoomed Out

Bear Mountain Bridge and the Hudson River from Bald Mountain

Zoomed in to the Bear Mountain Bridge and the Hudson River from Bald Mountain

View West from Bald Mountain 
Me at the Bald Mountain Summit

Panorama of Bald Mountain Summit

Me at the Bald Mountain Summit

Descending the Mountain, with the NYC Skyline in the Distance

NYC Skyline Beyond the Trees

Zoomed into the NYC Skyline

Me Hiking in the Forest

Bald Mountain from Doodletown

Edison Mine Adit

Caption at Doodletown Ruin Stating Recent Vandalism

Wildflowers in Bloom in Doodletown

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Black Rock Forest - Mt. Misery

Black Rock Forest - Mt. Misery
Orange Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Duggan Trail: Red blaze
Reservoir Trail: Blue blaze
Highlands Trail: Aqua blaze
Stillman Trail: Yellow blaze
Honey Hill Trail: White blaze

Total Time: 2:00 Hours
Estimated Distance: 3.5 Miles
Level of Difficulty: Slightly difficult
Level of Recommendation: Highly Recommended for a quiet area

Points of Interest: Very quiet area, nice lakes and scenery
Cons: Additional trailhead parking areas would be welcome

Hiking Partner:
Shimmy Rosenberg

Black Rock Forest is adjacent to Storm King Mountain, and is along the most northern reaches of the Western Hudson Highlands. It is a very remote area, with few people knowing about this place. Even for a nice Sunday in the Spring, we only encountered a single group of other hikers!

I had never been here before, and decided to explore. The first thing i'll say is that the trail conference maps show that there is parking further up by the research stations; this is not correct. There is private parking and bus parking, but everyone else has to park below at the entrance as there is a gate blocking the road.

We took the Duggan Trail, a short trail that goes down to valley floor, where it meets up with the Reservoir Trail. This trail is highly scenic, climbing up the mountain alongside a stream with several cascading waterfalls. At the top of the climb we saw the research center, and we crossed the brook along covered Mailley's Mill Bridge, and we decided to check it out.

The research center is a modern building, probably built in the past years, with classrooms and laboratories. There wasn't anyone inside when we checked it out, but the door was open. We then left and took the Reservoir Trail to the Upper Reservoir, where we met up with the Highlands Trail. We took the Highlands Trail along the wide path, and then continued along where the trail joins up up the Stillman Trail, and then turns to climb the steep ascent up Mount Misery.

I don't know why it's called Mt. Misery. It wasn't all that bad up here, and there was a great view. Though it was very windy on top and a bit uncomfortable. Uncomfortable, but not quite miserable. We then continued along the trail descending the mountain, and went along the Highlands/Stillman Trail until the Aleck Meadow Reservoir. At the dam, we took the Honey Hill Trail. (This trail is not marked in 2013 edition map.) We took the Honey Hill Trail back down to the Reservoir Trail along the brook, and then took the dirt road back to our car.

Map of the Route
West Hudson Trails, Eastern Map

Bridge at the Confluence of the Duggan and Reservoir Trails

Cascades On the Brook Along the Reservoir Trail
Larger Waterfall Along the Reservoir Trail


Spring Wildflowers in Bloom

Mailley's Mill Covered Bridge

Shimmy Crossing the Mailley's Mill Bridge

Upper Reservoir in Black Rock Forest

First View at Mt. Misery, Facing North

View from Mt. Misery, Facing West

Me Atop Mt. Misery

Mt. Misery, Looking Southwest

Mt. Misery, Looking East

Me Descending Down Mt. Misery

Me at the Aleck Meadow Reservoir Dam, Beginning of Honey Hill Trail

Aleck Meadow Reservoir 

Shimmy Atop the Aleck Meadow Reservoir 

View from the Road Down to the Parking Area

View from the Road Down to the Parking Area

Me at the View from the Road Down to the Parking Area

View from the Road Down to the Parking Area

Me Driving Through the Narrow Tunnel Under 9W

Shimmy Demonstrating the Size of the Tunnel

Monday, April 25, 2016

Nordkop Mountain Summit,
Harriman State Park

Rockland Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Suffern-Bear Mountain (SBM) Trail: Yellow blaze

Total Time: 1:30 Hours
Estimated Distance: 2.5 Miles
Level of Difficulty: Slightly difficult
Level of Recommendation: Highly Recommended

Points of Interest: Rocky climb and Excellent Views
Cons: Highway traffic and built up area, trash and graffiti

Hiking Partner:
Shimmy Rosenberg

Nordkop Mountain juts up out of Suffern and has two excellent views of the area. I have hiked up Nordkop Mountain many times, and have noticed that the true summit is further north on a rocky promenade. I had been meaning to go there and check out the true summit for quite some time, but never got around to it.

We parked on Chestnut Street in Suffern right before Route 202 (there is a 2 hour streetside parking available here), and walked along Route 202 to Route 59, underneath the wide Thruway/I-287 overpass. The Suffern-Bear Mountain Trail starts shortly after on the right side off the sidewalk. We started the rocky climb up, but instead of going straight on the SBM Trail, we veered towards the left northward, climbing the mountain over large rocks and scrambling up. We noticed that there is an unofficial route marked by pink strings climbing the mountain, and we took this path to the summit. We passed the gas pipeline, and afterwards a steep rocky incline towards the summit. There is an excellent view here, but unfortunately it is covered in graffiti.

We then went past the summit and veered east, bushwacking easy terrain for a short distance to the Suffern-Bear Mountain Trail. We then went on the Suffern-Bear Mountain Trail back down the mountain, passing the two viewpoints along the way. The higher viewpoint is terribly filthy, littered with trash and fouled by graffiti. We continued down along the trail to its terminus at Route 59, and then walked along the road back to our car.

Map of the Route.
Harriman/Bear Mountain State Parks Southern Map

SB (Suffern Bear-Mountain) Mosaic at the Trailhead 
Me Ascending the Mountain

Me on a Rock Face Climbing the Mountain

Large Ugly Grub Along the Trail

View from the Summit, Looking South

View Looking South, with Franklin Turnpike in View

Thruway and I-287 Overpass with the Sheraton Crossroads


Zoomed into Hillburn

View from the Summit Looking Northwest

Flowers in Bloom

Me on the Summit Rock at the Highest Elevation

Me at the the Nordkop View on the S-BM Trail

Downtown Suffern

Suffern Train Station, Franklin Turnpike, and Manhattan Skyline
Databit Office

Good Samaritan Hospital

I-287 and Route 17 Split in New Jersey

Shimmy Along the Lower Nordkop View