Sunday, September 10, 2017

Sugarloaf Hill and Osborne Loop

Hudson Highland State Park,
Putnam Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Blue Trail: Red blaze
Sugarloaf Trail: Red blaze
Osborn Loop Trail: Blue blaze
Appalachian Trail: White blaze

Total Time: 3:15 hour
Estimated Distance: 7.6 Miles

Pros: Good view
Cons: Quiet remote area with little traffic
Level of Difficulty: Moderate

It had been a while since I did a long hike. Now with my big trip and the summer behind, I took the opportunity to do this longer loop on some new trails for me. I had been to Sugarloaf Hill before, as well as parts of the Osborn Loop, but the last time I was at Sugarloaf Hill was in 2011, and I have been intent on covering more trails in Hudson Highlands State Park in the eastern Hudson Highlands.

I parked at the trailhead at Wing and Wing Road, where the Blue and Sugarloaf Trails start. The Blue Trail probably has a name, but its not listed on the map. Its a short trail going through the grassy meadow, and then ending at the Sugarloaf Trail. I took the Blue Trail to the Sugarloaf Trail, which climbs up to the top of Sugarloaf hill as a dead end at the top. Sugarloaf is a prominent mountain jutting out from above the Hudson, and the top forms a narrow ridgeline. At the dead end of the trail there is a view facing south to the Bear Mountain Bridge, and a large cactus grove.

I turned around at the end of the Sugarload Trail, and then took the western portion of the OSborn Loop southward, all the way down to its terminus at the Appalachian Trail. I then took the Appalachian Trail northbound, back to the Osborn Loop, which I took south and then west, back to the Sugarloaf Hill Trail. I then took the Sugarloaf Hill Trail down the mountain, through the grassy field, and back to my car.

Map of the Route.
East Hudson Highlands.

Blue Trail through the Meadow

Barns Along the Trail in the Meadow

Leaving the Meadow and Going into the Woods
and the Foot of the Mountain

View of West Point

View of West Point, Zoomed Out

Narrow Ridgeline at Sugarloaf Hill

View at Sugarloaf Hill, Facing South Zoomed Out

View South from Sugarloaf, Facing Hudson River and Bear Mnt. Bridge

View from Sugarloaf Hill, Facing East

Cactus Grove at Sugarloaf

Lots of Trail Markers at Osborn Loop Intersection with Sugarloaf

Horses at the Above Intersection

Appalachian Trail

View Along the Appalachian Trail

Early Foliage along the Appalachian Trail

Sugarloaf Hill from the Meadow along the Sugarloaf Trail

Castle in the Distance Across the Meadow near the End of the Hike

Monday, September 4, 2017

Clausland Mountain Long Path Loop Hike

Clausland Mountain Long Path Loop Hike
Nike Overlook Park and Clausland Mountain County Park
Rockland Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Long Path: Green blaze
Orange Trail: Orange blaze
Blue Trail: Blue blaze

Total Time: 1:30 hour
Estimated Distance: 3.0 Miles

Pros: None
Cons: No views
Level of Difficulty: Very easy

Hiking Partner:
Josef Friedman

I was off of work for Labor day, and had traveled on the newly opened Tappan Zee Bridge earlier in the day. I therefore  attempted a hike in the area where I could also get a good view with the new bridge in place. Unfortunately, this hike did not afford any views of the bridge, or any good views at all. We parked at the parking area on Nike Overlook Park, and took the Orange Trail southern portion to the Long Path. We then went south on the Long Path the Cemetery, labelled as "Fremont Monument" on the map. It was unusual for the hiking to enter the cemetery, especially when its not labelled on the map. The map also shows a viewpoint at this area, which doesn't exist.

We then turned around and went back north on the Long Path, and continued to the northern part of of the Orange Trail, which we took back to the parking area. We then continued at this point to the Blue Trail, which is a short loop that leads right back to the parking area. we looped around back to the parking area and ended the hike here. I thought perhaps this loop would also feature a view, but it did not. However, we bushwacked slightly to the right to observer a view of the Hudson River and Irvington across the river.

Map of the Route

Signs at the Trailhead

Park Entrance Sign

Long Path Entering the Cemetery

Long Path Blaze within the Cemetery

Long Path in Clauseland Mountain Park

Bushwack from Blue Trail to get View of Irvington and Hudson River

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Carr Pond Mountain After Rain

Harriman State Park,
Orange Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
White Bar Trail: White blaze

Total Time: 1:10 hour
Estimated Distance: 1.7 Miles

Pros: Quiet area of park
Cons: Difficult bushwack and walk on road
Level of Difficulty: Difficult

Hiking Partner:
Shimmy Rosenberg

I had wanted to go on a large hike, but the weather did not cooperate, with a heavy, steady rain for much of the day. Towards the mid-afternoon, the rain had stopped, though it did not clear up and was still damp and cloudy. We decided to take a short hike despite the conditions. We parked at the trailhead where the White Bar Trail meets Kanawauke Road, and took the White Bar trail up Carr Pond mountain to the view. We then continued and climbed down the mountain, and bushwacked up the valley formed by the stream back to the road. We found this part very difficult, partially due to the wet and slippery conditions. Once we got back to the road, we walked on the side for about half hour until reaching the car.

Map of the Route

Carr Pond Mountain

Me on Parker Cabin Mountain

Me and Shimmy

Carr Pond Mountain

And one more View of Carr Pond Mountain

First of the Autumn Foliage, at the Carr Pond Trailhead Parking

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Chimney Rock, North Carolina

Chimney Rock State Park,
Rutherford County, 
North Carolina

Hiking Trails:
Outcroppings Trail
Exclamation Point Trail

Pros: Interesting geological formations and impressive views
Cons: High admission cost, very touristy, and has lots of people
Level of Difficulty: Moderate

Chimney Rock is a well-known granite rock formation in North Carolina, and is now a state park. The area contains a step boardwalk climbing the mountain to Chimney Rock, with many interesting sites and views along the way.

I had gone camping with my family to the North Carolina mountains, and went to Chimney Rock as a day trip. I was surprised at the cost of the entrance fee, and was also disapointed that the elevator up the mountain was broken. I had planning on taking the elevator up and then doing the full Exclamation Point Trail from that point and going down the rest of the way along the Outcroppings Trail. Instead, we all took the Outcroppings Trail up to Chimney Rock, going along the Subway formation by the split on the way up, and the Pulpit Rock split on the way down.

Overall the trail system here is very unique, with the way up entirely on steps on a boardwalk. The top at Chimney Rock features a large American flag and has excellent views. We then climbed the Exclamation Point for a short distance to the Opera Box, a rock formation within the granite outcroppings. We returned back on the Outcroppings Trail.

View From within the Subway Rock Formation

Ascending Towards Chimney Rock

Looking up at the Granite Rock Formation

Chimney Rock on the Right

Gap Before Entering Chimney Rock

Chimney Rock and Lake Lure

Trail f\rom the Gap to Chinmey Rock

View of Parking Lot from Chimney Rock

Granite Formation to the South of Chimney Rock

Lake Lure from Chimney Rock. Facing East.

Looking North to the Village of Chimney Rock

View Looking Toward Bat Cave

Looking Down towards Pulpit Rock and the Village of Chimney Rock

Looking down to Pulpit Rock

View of Chimney Rock from the Opera Box

View of Chimney Rock from the Pulpit

Me at Pulpit Rock

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Catawba Falls, North Carolina

Pisgah National Forest,
Near Old Fort, 
McDowell County, 
North Carolina

Hiking Trails:
Catawba Falls Trail

Total Time: 0:50 hour
Estimated Distance: 2.3 Miles

Pros: Nice waterfall in scenic area
Cons: Wide, double-track path, waterfall less impressive than perceived
Level of Difficulty: Easy

Continuing on my camping trip to North Carolina, we were staying at Catawba Falls Campground, a mere half-mile from the Catawba Falls Trailhead. I felt that if I was staying at this campground I had to visit the falls. In fact, our campsite was right on the site of the Catawba River.

I drove the short half-mile to the parking trailhead, and took the trail up, passing an old ruin, crossing the first bridge, and then passing the first waterfall coming out of the dam. I continued along to the second bridge, past the stream split, to the main waterfalls. I then turned around and went back the same route.

Pisgah National Forest Sign at the Parking Area

Kiosk at the Trailhead

Map of the Route at the Trailhead

The First Bridge Across the Brook, at the Old Ruin

Old Ruin. If Anyone knows what this was, Please Comment.

Old Ruin and Bridge

The First, Lower Falls

Second Bridge Crossing the Brook

Catawba Falls

Catawba Falls Cascade