Sunday, April 3, 2016

Harriman State Park Late Season Snow

Drive Through Harriman State Park in the Snow
Rockland/Orange Counties,

New York

For an exceptionally mild winter, April had started out pretty cold. The night before this hike was in the 30's with rain, but snow was predicted upstate. Additionally, there was a high wind warning in the area with very strong winds. The morning started out very cold and winter-like, and felt more like February than April!

Upon driving north towards Harriman, as I entered the park and drove to a higher elevation, there was snow on the ground! at to 1000 foot mark there was about 3 inches of wet, heavy snow! This despite the trees already starting their bloom. On the way up to the hike while driving on County Route 106 (Gate Hill Road/Lake Kanawauke Road) I encountered some surreal scenes which I photographed.

Lake Welch

Crow Sitting upon a Blooming Tree in the Snow

The Same Picture Zoomed Out.
This is by the Lake Welch Causeway

Lake Welch

Lake Kanawauke (Little Long Pond)

Hiker Xing Sign at the Ramapo Dunderberg Trailhead

The Hiker Xing Sign

Road Before the White Bar Trailhead, Where I Parked

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Pound Swamp Mountain Loop

Harriman State Park
Rockland Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Suffern-Bear Mountain Trail: Yellow blaze

Total Time: 2:05 Hours
Estimated Distance: 4.6 Miles
Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Level of Recommendation: Not recommended

Points of Interest: Remote area of park

I had been out of town in Baltimore for the weekend, and returned Sunday afternoon. With a few hours left to daylight, I decided to do a hike nearby. I wanted to complete the entire stretch of trails in Harriman State Park to be included within the blog. Though I had done this complete hike back in 2007, I didn't do it since my blogging and wanted to get it included on the blog. This is not a very interesting hike without any points of interest or views. However, it is a quiet area, and I didn't see anyone despite it being a Sunday and very nice weather.

I parked at the trailhead at the Suffern-Mountain Trail on Gate Hill Road. I took the Suffern-Bear Mountain Trail north to the Irish Potato, and continued past Upper Pound Swamp, and then descended down the mountain to Lake Welch Parkway. Thinking the road was closed, I walked up Lake Welch Parkway to the cut for the old Suffern-Bear Mountain Trail and took the trail back. I did see a few cars along the road, so apparently they opened the road early due to lack of snow over the winter. I took the Suffern-Bear Mountain Trail southbound along the same route from here back to the trailhead.

Map of the Route
Harriman/Bear Mountain Trails - North and South Maps

Suffern-Bear Mountain Trail near Irish Potato

Irish Potato: A Huge Isolated Rock

Rickety Logs to Climb up the Irish Potato

View from the Irish Potato Area

Another Interesting Rock Along the S-BM Trail Descending
Towards Upper Pound Swamp

View of Upper Pound Swamp Through the Woods

Spring Plants in Bloom

Suffern-Bear Mountain Trail Through the Sprouting Brush

Tiorati Brook

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Ringwood State Park Mt Defiance to Bear Swamp Lake Loop

Ringwood State Park /
Ramapo Valley County Reservation
Bergen/Passaic Counties,
New Jersey

Hiking Trails:
Crossover Trail: White blaze
Halifax Trail: Green blaze
Shore Trail: Blue blaze
Bear Swamp Trail: Red blaze
Pierson Ridge Trail: Blue blaze

Total Time: 2:55 Hours
Estimated Distance: 6.9 Miles
Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Level of Recommendation: Only first part recommended

Points of Interest: Scenic Ringwood area and Mt. Defiance
Cons: Lack of interesting points after beginning, too many switchbacks on trails

Once I was out exploring the Ramapo Mountains in New Jersey the past several weeks, I decided to further explore by Ringwood and go towards the Ramapo Valley County Reservation, and meet up at Bear Swamp Lake, where I had been in the previous weeks. The weather was colder than usual and quite chilly for this time of year in general.

I parked in the Ringwood Parking area (Pb on the map) and walked up across the meadow by Swan Pond. I took the Crossover Trail briefly to the Halifax Trail terminus, and snaked up Mt. Defiance on the Halifax Trail towards the view. I then continued down the mountain into the valley, passing the Glassmere Ponds, and then climbing up the next ridge towards the Power Lines and Pierson Ridge Trails.

I continued along the Halifax Trail until it went down to the Bear Swamp Valley. I then took the Shore Trail briefly to the Bear Swamp Trail (not marked on the 2014 map edition, but marked at the Ramapo Valley County Reservation trailhead parking kiosk) and climbed back up the ridge, until the Pierson Ridge Trail. I took the Pierson Ridge Trail southward till its end at the Crossover Trail, and then took the Crossover Trail all the way back to the main are of Ringwood and then back to the car.

Map of the Route. North Jersey Trails Western Map

Bamboo Grove Near the Beginning of the Hike

New Blossoms 

Crossover Trail

Beginning of the Halifax Trail

View At Mt. Defiance

View at Mt. Defiance

Glasmere Ponds

View Along the Gas Line, Looking Northwest

View Along the Gas Line, Looking Northeast

Open Grass Field Near the Botanical Gardens

New Spring Blossoms

Hiking Poles Looking Towards the Mansion

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Millstone Hill and Matapan Rock

Ramapo Mountain State Forest
Bergen/Passaic Counties,
New Jersey

Hiking Trails:
Schuber Trail: Orange blaze
Millstone Hill Trail: White blaze
Yellow Trail: Yellow blaze
Matapan Rock Trail: Red blaze
Hoeferlin Memorial Trail: Yellow blaze
Cannonball Trail: Red blaze

Total Time: 2:45 Hours
Estimated Distance: 5.75 Miles
Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Level of Recommendation: Recommended

Points of Interest: Matapan Rock, Camp Glen Gray
Cons: Lacks drama - more of walk in the woods

Hiking Partners:
Shimmy Rosenberg
Elad Hillman

This was another warm day where we ended up short sleeves. We parked up the hill on Skyline Drive, at the Schuber Trailhead, and took the Schuber Trail north to the Millstone Hill Trail. This area is generally non-dramatic and there aren't too many people in this area. We climbed up Millstone Hill and then went down, observed the millstones, and then took the Yellow Trail across the Midvale Mountain Road and Fox Brook, back up the hill to the intersection with the Schuber Trail again. We had been in this exact area the previous week, and only this time noticed the abandoned farm properties and ruins.

We then continued through Camp Glen Gray, around the area of all the camping structures, to the Matapan Rock Trail. We took this trail to end, where it overlooks the Wanaque River Valley and Skyline Drive directly below. We then turned around and took the combined Hoeferlin Memorial Trail and Cannonball Trail back towards the parking trailhead, going parallel to the road along the way.

Map of the Route. North Jersey Trails Eastern Map

Elad Sitting on a Rock

Atop Millstone Hill

Another View Atop Millstone Hill

Shimmy and Elad on Millstone Hill

A Millstone

Elad Sitting by the Millstones

Me and Elad at a Watch-house at the Sander Farm

Signs of Spring!

Abandoned Watch-House at Sanders Farm

Me at the Foundry Sign

Swamp Across Sanders Farm

Me at the Sanders Farm Site

View from Matapan Rock

View Across the Valley at Matapan Rock

Looking Across Towards the Wyanokies from Matapan Rock

Elad at Matapan Rock

Me at Matapan Rock

Junction of Alot of Trails at the Trailhead Parking