Sunday, January 20, 2019

Bear Mountain Ice Storm

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

Hiking Trails:
Appalachian Trail: White blaze

Total Time: 0:40 hour
Estimated Distance: 1.1 Miles

Pros: Scenic area
Cons: Didn't get to do much of a hike

It had just snowed the night before, and the storm became an ice storm after several inches, causing all the tress to be glazed over with ice. Being that it was windy and the trees were covered in ice, I decide to hike at a more populated place, so I chose Bear Mountain.

I parked at the parking area down by the Hudson River Landing, and walked up to the path where it meets the Appalachian Trail at the entrance to the Bear Mountain Zoo. The scenery with everything covered with ice was breathtaking!

I tool the Appalachian Trail underneath Route 9W/202 to Hessian Lake, and proceeded to walk around the lake. After walking for a few minutes, I was approached by a police officer who told me I had to leave since conditions for hiking were unsafe. At this point I turned around and followed the same route back to my car.

Map of the Route

View from the Parking Area

Sign with Ice Droplets

Bridge over the Hessian Lake Outlet Brook 

Hessian Lake Outlet Brook from the Bridge

Ascending on the Path up the Bear Mountain

View of Anthony's Nose and the Hudson River

Bear Mountain from Across Hessian Lake

Frozen Oak Tree at Hessian Lake

Hessian Lake

Hessian Lake and Bear Mountain

Leaves Glazed over in Ice

Another View of the Leaves Covered over in Ice

Ice-Laden Fallen Tree Covering the Path

View of Hudson River facing South Towards Peekskill

Anthony's Nose and the Hudson River

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Sterling Forest Fire Tower

Sterling Forest State Park,
Orange County
New York

Hiking Trails:
Sterling Lake Trail - Blue Blaze
Iron Mine Trail - Yellow Blaze
Bare Rock Trail - Orange Blaze
Sterling Ridge Trail - Blue Blaze
Fire Tower Trail - Red Blaze
Fire Tower Connector Trail - Blue Blaze

Total Time: 2:45 hour
Estimated Distance: 4.5 Miles

Pros: Good climb, nice views at tower
Cons: Hike along road near the beginning

Hiking Partners:
David Kunkel
Shimmy Rosenberg
Morty Rosenberg

I had been at the Sterling Fire Tower almost 10 years prior in the winter, and at them was not able to climb it. When I was at the Jackie Jones Fire Tower in Harriman a few weeks prior, I had noticed that the same volunteer group that refurbished that tower also fixed the Sterling Fire Tower, and that you can now climb to the top. I decided to check it out on this hike.

The weather was unseasonably cold, so we had to bundle up. We parked in the main parking area by the visitor center of Sterling Forest, and took the Sterling Lake Trail for a short distance to the Iron Mine Trail. The Iron Mine Trail is a very short trail that goes through the old workings of the Sterling Mine, an old and important mine for iron ore. The trail goes by a restored furnace, an original structure from the old hamlet of Lakeville, mine cuts and dumps, and some abandoned mine buildings.

We then walked along the road to the Bare Rock Trail, which we took up the mountain. We took this trail up the mountain to the intersection of the Sterling Ridge Trail. We took the Sterling Ridge Trail south until the Fire Tower. The Fire Tower was open and you could go almost to the top, but you couldn't go inside the cabin. However, on Saturday in middle of the day there are rangers there that can escort you up into the cabin. I heard that are considering opening it for Sunday as well.

After descending the Fire Tower, we descended down along the Fire Tower Trail, which is a wide trail, to the Fire Tower Connector Trail, which goes all the way down to mountain and to the south shore of Sterling Lake and the Sterling Lake Trail. We went back on the Sterling Lake Trail, which we took across the outlet of the lake and then back to our car.

Map of the Route

Highlighted Map Route in the Visitor Center 3D Model

Sterling Furnace Replica

Plaque at the Sterling Furnace

Morty Jumping in a Group Photo at the Sterling Furance

David at the Plaque at the Sterling Forest

Plaque and Old House from the Remainder of Lakeville

Iron Mine Trail Marker

Mine Cut in the Sterling Mine

Plaque of Mining at Sterling Lake

Abandoned Structure in the Old Mine Area

Another View of the Abandoned Structure

Plaque at the Lake Mine

Additional Ruins at the Sterling Mine

Sterling Lake, South Shore

Me at Sterling Lake,

Intersection of Trails

Sterling Lake from the View

Morty and Shimmy Approaching the View

Me at the View

Me and David at the View, Strategizing Business Ideas

Approaching the Fire Tower and Cabin

Morty Ascending the Fire Tower

View from the Fire Tower, Facing South /Southwest
View from the Tower, Facing South


View Facing Sterling Lake

View Facing Northwest

View Facing North, Sterling Lake

View from the Fire Tower: Shimmy, David, and Myself

At the Picnic Table underneath the Fire Tower

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Blue Mountain Reservation Hiking, Peekskill

Westchester Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Dickey Brook Trail: Yellow blaze
Yin Trail/Yang Trail: Green blaze
Limbo Trail: Red blaze
Blue Mountain Trail: Blue blaze
Blue Mountain Summit Trail: Blue blaze
Briarcliff-Peekskill Trailway: Green blaze
Sitting Duck Trail: Green blaze
Spitzenberg Climb Trail: Unblazed
Rocky Glen Trail: White blaze

Total Time: 1:10 hour
Estimated Distance: 2.3 Miles

Pros: Many trails in small area
Cons: Views are not so impressive, trail maps are very confusing

This was my first time at Blue Mountain Reservation. I have heard of the area for a long time, and that it's mainly a biking area, but never visited it previously. It's close by and in familiar territory, so I am glad to have finally visit it.

This area is very famous among mountain bikers. They are many rugged single and double track trails throughout the park, and this can make hiking difficult with all the bikers. Hikers are advised use the main double track trails otherwise its uncomfortable to keep on avoiding and moving aside for quick bikers. However, I was here in the winter, with very muddy and wet trails, and I didn't see any bikers! Not a single one during the entire hike! I also didn't see that many hikers either, despite it being a seasonably-cold-but not-too-chilly weekend day.

My main issue with the area is that the maps are very innacurate. The trails are different than the maps with extra bends and intersections. I actually used Maprika with a digital map and was surprised how many inconsitencies there were! Nevertheless I was still easily able to follow the route without a problem.

I parked in the main parking area by Lounsbury Pond, and took the Dickey Brook Trail for a short distance to the Yin Trail. At some point I unknowingly crossed over on an unmarked trail to the parallel Yang Trail, which I took the Limbo Trail. I took this to the Blue Mountain Trail, which is a hiking-only trail up to the summit of Blue Mountain. There is a view facing west near the summit, but it has too much growth and was slightly disappointing. Near the top there is also an abandoned ruin, and the trail routes right through a seasonal pond, which I had to go around.

After looping around the summit of Blue Mountain, I went back down on the same trail to the Blue Mountain Summit Trail, heading south to the Briarcliff-Peekskill Trailway, and then the Sitting Duck Trail, which I then took to the very short Spitzenberg Climb Trail, which takes you to the rocky summit of Mt. Spitzenberg. This mountain has a better view than Blue Mountain, and faces southwest. There is also a ruin on top of this mountain. The view here can use some trimming as well as it is beginning to get overgrown.

I then turned back down the Spitzenberg Climb Trail, went back to the Briarcliff-Peekskill Trailway, and then took the Rocky Glen Trail, past the pond, to the parking area. It started raining along the way, with the rain mixing with sleet in a heavy squall.

Map of the Route

Lounsbury Pond at the Beginning of the Pond

Small Cascade on the Dickey Brook Trail

Seasonal Overflow Pond along the Dickey Trail

View from Blue Mountain, Facing Bear Mountain and Dunderberg Mountain

Another View from the Blue Mountain Viewpoint

View from Blue Mountain, Facing Southwest towards Indian Point

Ruin on the top of Blue Mountain

Overflowing Seasonal Pond where the Trail Goes on Blue Mountain Summit

At the Very top of Blue Mountain

Another view of the Seasonal Pond on Blue Mountain, with the Trail Marker

Path to Mt. Spitzenberg

Abandoned Ruin on top of Mt. Spitzenberg

View from Mt. Spitzenberg, Facing Southwest towards Hi-Tor

Another Angle of the Above View

View from Mt. Spitzenberg, Zoomed Out

Zoomed in Towards the Hudson River and Hi Tor

Selfie on Mt. Spitzenberg

Strange "Skull Rock" at the beginning of the Rocky Glen Trail

Pond along the Rocky Glen Trail, with Rain Drops during the Squall