Thursday, August 21, 2014

Popolopen Brook to Queensboro Lake

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

Hiking Trails:
Timp-Torne Trail: Blue blaze
Popolopen Gorge Trail: Red blaze
1777 Trail: Red blaze
1779 Trail: Red blaze


Total Time: 1:30 hour
Estimated Distance: 3 miles
Level of Difficulty: Easy
Level of Recommendation: Slightly recommended
Points Of Interest: Popolopen Brook and bridges
Pros: Scenic area
Cons: Noise from Palisades Parkway, Proximity to gun range

Google Map of Parking:

View 2014 Hiking Locations in a larger map

I have hiked up Popolopen Torne many times, and its a great hike. I have also hike along the Popolopen Brook many times, but only ventured from Popolopen to Queensboro Lake once in my recent memory. So I decided to revisit this area along the scenic brook surrounded by a deep gorge.

I parked at the Popolopen Parking area right below the mountain, and noticed several new things. First of all, Mine Road is now closed to traffic after Popolopen where it enters West Point Property. I also noticed a new information kiosk at the foot of the trail where it goes up the mountain, as well as some interesting woodwork projects and signs from trail volunteers. I hiked the Timp-Torne Trail down and then made my way to the gorge, where there is a brand new, solid bridge crossing the Popolopen Brook. This crossing had been out for a while and was destroyed by one of the recent storms (I think Hurricane Irene.)

I crossed the bridge, and the trail meets up with the Popolopen Gorge, 1777, and 1779 Trails to confluence four trails. I continued along the path, crossing the next interesting bridge, making my way towards Queensboro Lake. However, I heard gunshots in the distance, and they got closer and closer as I approached the Police Training Range by Queensboro Lake. There is a warning sign about this, but hearing the constant gunshots so close made me uneasy so I turned around at the trail split near the shooting range instead of going all the way the Queensboro Lake.

I took the same return route back, but went up the western flank of the Timp-Torne Trail instead and then walked a short distance on the road back to my car. I had noticed some Magnetite on the ground near the parking lot, and know the distance is very close to the old Forest of Dean Mine and Queensboro Furnace, but upon exploring the area I noticed a large dump of iron ore with lots of magnetite right near the parking area. Its interesting to explore this area and notice the unique rock types present there.

Please note my camera is out of commission; these pictures were taken with my cell phone.

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

Road Closure of Mine Road

Interesting New Artifacts near the Parking Area

Interesting Sign Posted at the Trailhead Parking Area

Sign Posting Restricted Area of West Point Off the Trail

Descending Towards the New Bridge

At the New Bridge Prior to Crossing

Overnight Camper in a Tent on the Trail

Confluence of all 4 Trails

Interesting Bridge Crossing the Queensboro Brook

Another View of the Bridge

Queensboro Brook from Atop the Bridge

Pistol Range Sign at the Split Between the
Popolopen Gorge and Timp-Torne Trails

The Other Side of the Bridge on the Return Route Home

New Kiosk at the Foot of Popolopen

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Black Rock And Black Rock Mountain

Harriman State Park
Orange Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Ramapo Dunderberg Trail: Red blaze

Total Time: 1:15 hour
Estimated Distance: 1.8 miles
Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Level of Recommendation: Highly recommended
Points Of Interest: Black Rock View and Region
Pros: Good climb, excellent view, beautiful area, rocky outcrops
Cons: Parking can be difficult on weekends

Hiking Partner:
Shimmy Rosenberg

Google Map of Parking:

View 2014 Hiking Locations in a larger map

This is a great hike when short on time. White Rock Mountain is very scenic with stunning views and scenery. We parked in the parking area on Lake Kanawauke Road (County 106) by the Ramapo Dunderberg trailhead, and climbed up White Rock Mountain to the view. We continued along the Ramapo Dunderberg Trail to White Rock, a large rock in an open area, and then descended slightly into the valley and back to the treeline. We turned around at this point off the trail and bushwacked slightly around on the rocky treeless area back to the White Rock Mountain view. We then descended from here back down the same way.

Please note my camera is out of commission; these pictures were taken with my cell phone.



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

Me at the Viewpoint at Black Rock Mountain

Me at the Viewpoint at Black Rock Mountain

Black Rock Mountain View

Black Rock Mountain View

Shimmy and Myself at the Black Rock Mountain View

Beautiful Scenery Atop Black Rock Mountain.
Black Rock is Ahead to the Right.

Me Atop Black Rock

View from Black Rock

View from Black Rock

View From Black Rock

Ascending the Mountain at the Bushwack Portion

Selfie at a New Sign Posted Near the Trailhead

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Blueberry Picking In Pine Meadow Brook Area

Harriman State Park
Rockland Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:

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

Total Time: 2:45 hour
Estimated Distance: 3.6 miles
Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Level of Recommendation: Highly recommended
Points Of Interest: Scenic brook, good view
Pros: Enjoyable popular hike in Harriman, good blueberries near top of mountain
Cons: Area is busy on weekends

Hiking Partner:
Shimmy Rosenberg

Google Map of Parking:

View 2014 Hiking Locations in a larger map

We parked in the Reeves Meadow area, and headed up the Pine Meadow Trail, to the Stony Brook Trail, to the Kakiat trail, to the Cascade of Slid waterfall. The Cascade of Slid was starting to dry up due to the lack or rain. We continued to HTS Trail, where we crossed the brook where the bridge was out. We then took the HTS Trail up to Chimpmunk Mountain, where there is a really good blueberry tree near the top. At the expansive view on the top we turned around and took the 7 Hills Trail down back toward the brook, and then took the Pine Meadow Trail all the way back to the trailhead.

Map of the Route

Shimmy Crossing the Brook Where the HTS Bridge is Out

HTS Trail Crossing the Pine Meadow Brook

Shimmy Ascending in a Grove of Ferns

Our Rich Blueberry Bush

Ascending to the Top of the Mountain

Scenery at the Top of the Mountain

View from the Top, Facing North

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Long Path: Blackcap Mountain to Brooks Mountain and Hollow

Harriman State Park
Orange Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Long Trail: Green blaze

Total Time: 3:15 hour
Estimated Distance: 4.8 miles
Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Level of Recommendation: Slightly recommended
Points of Interest: Brooks Mountain, Lake Massawippa
Pros: Quiet area, View of Lake
Cons: Road Walking, Beginning part of Long Path boring, bushwack at end overgrown

Hiking Partner:
Shimmy Rosenberg

Google Map of Parking:

View 2014 Hiking Locations in a larger map

This hike is on the northernmost fringes of the park, and one of the quietest areas. We parked in the parking area off Route 6, right before Route 293. This is the official fishing parking area for Barnes Lake and Lake Massawippa. We took Route 6 west towards the Long Path, where it meets route 6 at the intersection of Op Charlie Road, which is part of the property of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

We took the Long Path heading east, and for this part of the hike it follows parallel to Route 6 coming the same direction. It also straddles the side of a long fence which eventually ends. We continued along the trail as it turns north on to the side of Blackcap Mountain. At this point of the hike we got stuck in a thunderstorm. We had heard the thunder in the distance, and we realized we would be stuck in the storm. We hunkered down under a large rock with a slight overhang. Though we did get wet, this prevented us from getting totally soaked. It rained very hard for about 10 minutes.

Once the storm passed on, we continued on the Long Path, went down the mountain and crossed over Route 293, and climbed up to Brooks Mountain. The Long Path goes along the narrow ridge and then climbs down north of the Lake Massawippa. At this point we bushwacked along the side of the brook to the dam at Lake Massawippa. We then took the unmarked trail along the western side of the lake back to Route 6. This trail has become overgrown since the last time I was here, with many downed trees presumably from Hurricane Sandy. We then hiked the short distance along Route 6 back to the car.

Map of the Route

Posted Signs To Stay off West Point Military Academy

Hunkering Down During Thunderstorm

Crossing Over the Power Lines

Rock Scramble on Blackcap Mountain

View Atop Blackcap Mountain

View Atop Blackcap Mountain

Long Path on the Brooks Mountain Ridge

View Atop Brooks Mountain

Me Atop Brooks Mountain

Lake Massawippa from the Dam

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sapphire Trail,
Harriman State Park

Sapphire Trail
Harriman State Park /
Sterling Forest State Park
Orange Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Sapphire Trail: Blue blaze

Total Time: 2:45 hour
Estimated Distance: 4.6 miles
Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Level of Recommendation: Not recommended
Points of Interest: Rock Formation on top
Pros: Remote part of the park off the beaten path
Cons: No views or interesting sites to see, far out from other Harriman trails

Hiking Partner:
Shimmy Rosenberg

Google Map of Parking:

View 2014 Hiking Locations in a larger map

This was my first hike since surgery. I have been doing light biking over the last few weeks, but after several weeks of physical therapy was finally ready for a hike. This trail ended up being longer than I expected, but the gradual climb up and down was very doable.

The Sapphire Trail is probably the most isolated trail in Harriman, in the northwestern corner of Harriman State Park near Monroe and Sterling Forest. Its also a very quiet trail with very little traffic. A small part of the trail goes into Sterling Forest State Park.

We parked in the Park and Ride parking lot on Route 17, south of Monroe, which acts as overflow parking for Woodbury Commons on weekends. Parking for hikers is only available at this lot on weekends and Holidays. We took the Sapphire Trail up the gradual climb until its intersection with the Appalachian Trail at the top. At the top we took a break at the interesting rock formation, and then returned down the same route.

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

Beginning of the Sapphire Trail

Me Walking Through a Fern Forest

Interesting Rock Formation Where the Sapphire Trail
Meets the Appalachian Trail

Me in the Above Rock Formation

Me at the end of the Sapphire Trail