Sunday, July 19, 2015

Reeves Meadow to Chipmunk Mountain

Harriman State Park,
Rockland Co,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Pine Meadow Trail: Red blaze
Stony Brook Trail: Yellow Trail
Kakiat Trail: White blaze
Hillburn Torne Sebago (HTS) Trail: Orange blaze
7 Hills Trail:

Total Time: 2:15 hours
Estimated Distance: 3.4 Miles
Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Level of Recommendation: Recommended
Points of Interest: Pretty brook, good climb
Cons: Lots of people on this trail

Hiking Partner:
Shimmy Rosenberg

This was a very hot day and was in the 90's. This is a mostly shady hike in a deep and narrow valley, so figured it was good for the day. We parked in the Reeves Meadow parking area, and took the Pine Meadow Trail. There were some artists we encountered at the beginning of the trail painting some pretty brook scenes. I took plenty of pictures, but only noticed afterwards that I had left the SD in my computer and therefore none of the pictures came out.

We took the Pine Meadow Trail to the Stony Brook Trail, to the Kakiat Trail and then the HTS Trail. We crossed the brook on the new HTS Trail bridge and continued up the mountain to the 7 Hills Trail. At this intersection there is a beautiful and prolific blueberry bush that for some reason this year was licked dry. I don't know if the bush is past its prime or if someone picked it clean. We headed down the 7 Hills Trail, and went down the Pine Meadow Trail all the way back to our car.

The pictures below are taken from my cell phone camera after I realized all the pictures taken earlier were not saved.

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

Rocks on a Fallen Tree along Stony Brook

Interesting Tree Along the Pine Meadow Trail

Sunday, July 12, 2015

North Point at Storm King Mountain

Storm King State Park,
Orange Co,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Howell Trail: Blue blaze
Stillman Spring Trail: White blaze

Total Time: 2:20 hours
Estimated Distance: 3.2 Miles
Level of Difficulty: Difficult
Level of Recommendation: Highly recommended
Points of Interest: Good climb, excellent views, blueberries

Hiking Partner:
Shimmy Rosenberg

This is a great hike. I had been here years ago prior to the closure of the area due to unexploded ordnance, and had not been here since. This hike offers exceptional views throughout the hike. Storm King is a steep mountain jutting over one thousand feet up straight from the Hudson River, with sharp cliffs and dramatic scenery.

We parked on Route 218 at the trailhead parking, and took the Howell Trail up. There are many views along the cliff faces along the ascent, and lots of blueberries once the trail starts evening out. The trail crests at a location called North Point, which is devoid of trees and has sweeping views from all sides. There are also more blueberries here then I have ever seen in one place. We continued down from the peak at North Point, went around the bend through the Clove, and then took the Stillman Spring. We took the Stillman Spring Trail down the mountain back to our car.

Map of the Route.
West Hudson Trails Eastern Map

View from the First View.
Facing Across the Hudson River to Bull Hill and Cold Spring

Looking Across the River to Bill Hill (Mt. Taurus)

Looking Across the River to Bull Hill and Breakneck Ridge to the Right

Breakneck Ridge

Village of Cold Spring Across the Hudson River

Me at the View Overlooking Cold Spring

Me Looking at the Gap on the Hudson Between Breakneck and Storm King


Bannerman Island in the Hudson River

View of Storm King Mountain with Butter Hill to the Left

Another View of Cold Spring

Zoom into Cold Spring Village

Beautiful Flower Along the Trail

Dense Patch of Delicious Blueberries

The Tree-Barren Area at North Point

Looking at Butter Hill from North Point

Me at North Point

Me at North Point

View from North Point Looking Towards Storm King Highway

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Kakiat Bushwack

Kakiat Bushwack
Kakiat County Park,
Rockland Co,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Old Mill Trail: Blue blaze
Kakiat Trail: White blaze
Mountain Trail: Orange blaze

Total Time: 1:15 hours
Estimated Distance: 1.8 Miles
Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Level of Recommendation: Highly recommended for a good bushwack
Points of Interest: Scramble and good view

Hiking Partners:
Shimmy Rosenberg
Morty Rosenberg

It had been a very rainy week, and I had not had the opportunity to go hiking the prior Sunday. So after work one day when it wasn't raining, Shimmy called me to get together for a quick hike up Kakiat. When I was a teenager I would frequent Kakiat, and I had a specific bushwack route to the summit. I had not done this route in years and figured with our time constraint that this this would be a good hike.

We parked in the Kakiat parking area, crossed the Mahwah River bridge, and took the Old Mill Trail for a very short distance to the Kakiat Trail. We then proceeded up the mountain, and where the trail crosses the stream we veered off the trail and continued along the side of the stream bushwacking up my former route. There is a nice seasonal waterfall here. Prior to the Power Lines, we veered south and took the steep scramble up to the top by the Kakiat viewpoint.

At this point we noticed there were dark storm clouds rolling in, and checking the radar map on our phones we realized the storm was imminent. We quickly scurried down the mountain in the Mountain Trail, and the rain started as we were about halfway down. Thankfully it was still light at first and we were under tree cover, so although we did get pretty wet, we didn't get thoroughly soaked.

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

I Always See Interesting Things While Hiking.
Maybe they are Long Lost Brothers.

Shimmy and Morty on the Kakiat Summit

Kakiat Summit. Note the Haze and Cloud Cover

Zoomed in to a Large Mansion at the Foot of the Mountain

The Same Mountain on Regular Zoom

The Summit of Kakiat Facing Northeast

Me at the Rock at the Summit

Me at the Rock at the Summit

Me at the Rock at the Summit

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Cannonball Trail to Ramapo Lake /
DuPont Trail Closure

Ramapo Mountain State Forest,
Bergen & Passaic Counties
New Jersey

Hiking Trails:
Hoeferlin Memorial Trail: Yellow blaze
Cannonball Trail: Red blaze
Pool Hollow Road: Unblazed
South Ridge Trail: White blaze

Total Time: 1:55 hours
Estimated Distance: 4.5 Miles
Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Level of Recommendation: Not recommended
Points of Interest: Historical Trail, View, and Ramapo Lake

When Interstate 287 was built, it cut off a small section of Ramapo Mountain State Forest, including a part that contains the historical Cannonball Trail. The Cannonball Trail is the remnant of an old revolutionary-era road used to bring supplies from the Paterson area up to Suffern, New York, supposedly to avoid detection by the British troops. When the highway was built, instead of cutting off the hiking trail, the highway department wisely built a pedestrian bridge to preserve the trail. I have passed under this bridge many times and had determined to hike there, but had not got around to it until this hike.

It had been actively raining all day the prior day, and was still wet and drizzling during this hike, but that didn't deter me. I had looked on the trail map and saw the terminus of the Cannonball Trail on Barbara Drive in Pompton Lakes. When I parked there at the location, there were threatening posted signs plastered along the entire area. I was confused, and decided to leave the area and change my itinerary by parking at the Hoeferlin Memorial Trail Trailhead at Pool Hollow Road. More about this later.

I parked at the trailhead, crossed the railroad tracks, and went along the trail which traversed some driveways and then went into the forest. I continued along the Hoeferlin Trail along the old abandoned road bed, and then met up with the Cannonball Trail which join together at this point to cross over the interstate highway. I continued along the Hoeferlin Trail as it climbed up the hill, and then proceeded to the first lookout. Due to the weather, the looking was shrouded in low cloud cover with very poor visibility.

I then turned around, but instead of continuing along the Hoeferlin Trail, continued along the old Pool Hollow Road Trail to the southern end of Ramapo Lake. The southern end is swampy and not nearly as aesthetic as the northern part. At this point I picked up the Cannonball Trail, headed south towards the highway, crossed the highway, and then continued south along the Cannonball Trail.

Near the end of the Cannonball Trail, it meets up with the South Ridge Trail. At this point the Cannonball Trail is supposed to continue towards Barbara Road. However, the trail markers just disappeared and trail seemed to disappear unmarked in an overgrown field. This had me very confused as to how this historical trail just ended before reaching the trailhead at the road. I scratched my head in confusion and then took the South Ridge Trail up and down the ridge back to the Hoeferlin Trail and back to my car.

Upon returning home, I decided to look into the odd nature of the disappearing Cannonball Trail by Barbara Road. A Google search pulled out several pages on this, where I discovered that the small strip of property of the Cannonball Trail at this point is owned by the DuPont Corporation. The DuPont Corporation historically provided access across their property to this site all these years, and for some unexplained reason decided to post this part of this property as off-limits. This effectively cuts off the southern-most tip of the Cannonball Trail.

The Cannonball Trail is an old and historical trail. It has been accessible and enjoyed by hikers, bikers, and joggers for decades. For DuPont to decide one day to block off all access is a travesty. Now for the record, this same DuPont facility is responsible for contaminating the entire area of with toxic materials including lead salts, mercury compounds, explosive powders, chlorinated solvents, waste wire drawing solution, and detonated blasting caps. DuPont has initiated a massive clean-up and remedial operation to try to save themselves from this environmental disaster. So for them to go ahead block access to public hiking trails at this time is a public relations disaster on their end. As it turns out, many news channels are reporting that DuPont does in fact seem to be shirking their responsibilities in cleanup operations. That's not surprising, as they seem not to care about the public or outdoor enthusiasts who care about the environment.

I recently went to their website which is dedicated to this cleanup operation, and left them a message explaining my dismay at their closing of the trail. I hope everyone reading this blog does the same, and perhaps they will see the damage they are causing to the community and reverse their decision.

For some news articles on this, see:

Map of the Route. North Jersey
North Jersey Trails Eastern Map.
Note this early map edition lacks the Interstate 287!

Approaching the I-287 Footbridge on the Cannonball/Hoeferlin Trails.
This Definitely had an eerie connotation to it.

Walking Inside the Pedestrian Bridge

The Hoeferlin/Cannonball Trail Right after the Bridge

Directly Above Interstate 287

The Foggy View Along the Hoeferlin Trail

Rock Face at the View at the Hoeferlin Trail

Pool Hollow Road

The Southern, Swamp Edge of Ramapo Lake Behind the Tress

Cannonball Trail Marker

Confusing Posted Sign as the Cannonball Trail Abruptly Ends at the DuPont Property

Interesting Horse Barn and Sign at the Pool Hollow Road Trailhead.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Bear Mountain Appalachian Trail with Scott Jurek

Bear Mountain State Park,
Rockland and Orange Counties,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Appalachian Trail (AT): White blaze
Appalachian Trail Spur: Blue blaze

Total Time: 1:20 hours
Estimated Distance: 2.1 Miles
Level of Difficulty: Easy
Level of Recommendation: Highly recommended for an easy and short hike with excellent views
Points of Interest: Bear mountain tower and view

Hiking Partners:
Shimmy Rosenberg
Scott Jurek and his crew

Ultramarathoner Scott Jurek is currently hiking/running the Appalachian Trail to break the current record and complete the entire trail in record time. His plan is that he wakes up at sunrise, and hikes all day and even into the night. He has a support crew travelling with him that carries his supplies, and he sleeps on a bed in a support vehicle. This allows him to be well-rested and not have to carry a heavy pack, giving him more speed.

Scott's route is recorded live on GPS, and  this is the day he was in our neck of the woods. Shimmy and I decided to meet him in Bear Mountain. We took two cars, and parked one car at the end of Perkins Memorial Drive past the tower at the dead end. We parked the other car at the top by the tower, where we noticed several news crews awaiting his arrival.

From the top parking area we hiked down the blue-blazed Spur trail which is a shortcut to the AT and goes down to the rockface that used to be Major Welch Trail. We had gotten here a bit earlier than Scott, so I went to the other Spur Trail which goes along the rockface and was the former Major Welch Trail route. We then met up with Scott at this point, and went along with him from here along the top part of Bear Mountain to the Tower. Scott stopped to be interviewed by some news crews, and we then continued along with him all the way down to where our car was parked at the dead end of Perkins Drive.

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

View from AT/Spur Trail Facing Southwest

Same View Further Back into the Trees
The Pond in in the Distance is Queensboro Lake

Another View from the Same Area

View Near the End of the Spur Trail

View of the End of the Spur Trail. Facing Northwest.

Shimmy at the At/Spur View

Me at the AT/Spur View

Scott Jurek and his Contingent Approaching

Scott and his Crew Hiking. Shimmy is the Man at the Rear.

View from the North Face of Bear Mountain.
Facing North towards the Hudson River.

Scott and a Blind Person Being Interviewed by the Media

Camera Crews Interviewing Scott