Sunday, October 19, 2014

High Point State Park Monument Loop

Sussex Co.,
New Jersey

Hiking Trails:
Sterling Ridge Trail: Blue blaze
Appalachian Trail: White blaze

Total Time: 1:00 hour
Estimated Distance: 1.6 miles
Level of Difficulty: Easy (though conditions difficult)
Level of Recommendation: Recommended
Points Of Interest: Expansive ridge views, tower, Lake Marcia
Pros: Excellent views abound
Cons: Lack of extensive trail loops, lots of people, lots of non-natural structures

Google Map of Parking:

View 2014 Hiking Locations in a larger map

The peak of autumn was arriving, and I had wanted a mountain with very good vistas, which this area certainly has. I had a tradeshow nearby in New Jersey, and headed nearby to High Point to check out the place. Although it was sunny, it was an extremely code day for October, and the wind was howling on top of the mountain. It was the type of steady wind that can almost make you fall. Though I wanted this hike to take longer, I was simple worn out at the end and cut out and turned around earlier than I had intended to.

Parking here is free after Labor Day, but during the summer it costs $10 to get in (New Jersey residents pay $5.) I parked near the tower and walked inside. It was the last day that the park staff were allowing people to climb the tire prior to closing it for the winter, so I am glad I arrived when I did. I climbed all 200 or so feet of the tower, but was disappointed to find nothing in top, with dirty and hazy windows.

After climbing the tower, I went along on the Sterling Ridge Trail, and then took it down the hill down to the end of the trail where it meets the Appalachian. Took the Appalachian up the next hill, and then cut across to the road to take pictures of the lake, Lake Marcia. I then cut back up to the Appalachian Trail and then continued on the Appalachian Trail back to Sterling Ridge Trail, and then took the road to the tower back to my car.

Map of the Route.
Kittatinies Northern Map

View From High Point Facing Northeast

View from High Point Facing West Towards the Delaware Gap

View from High Point Facing East

View of the Monument

Another View of the Monument

View of Port Jervis and the Delaware River from High Point.
Facing Northwest.

Rocky Promenade from Atop High Point, near the Tower.
Facing North.

Staircase Inside the Tower

View on the Shawangunk Ridge Trail Heading South.

View of the Monument from the Shawangunk Ridge Trail

Interesting Tree on the Appalachian Trail

View of the Monument from the Distance on the AT Trail. Facing Northeast.

View from the Lookout Plan on the Appalachian Trail

Lake Marcia Through the Trees

Another View of Lake Marcia

And One More View of Lake Marcia

Dense Foliage on the AT

On the Return Route Back to the Monument

The Southern Terminus of the Shawangunk Ridge Trail, with the new Blaze

Lake Marcia from the Northern Shore

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Pine Swamp Mountain to Surebridge Mountain

Harriman State Park
Orange Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Arden-Surebridge Trail: Red blaze
Ramapo Dunderberg Trail: Red blaze
Bottle Cap Trail: Blazed with bottle caps
Long Path: Green blaze

Total Time: 3:10 hour
Estimated Distance: 5.8 miles
Level of Difficulty: Difficult
Level of Recommendation: Highly recommended
Points Of Interest: Varied scenery, Pine Swamp Mnt View, Old Mines
Pros: Very scenic area, good views, historic mines
Cons: None

Google Map of Parking:

View 2014 Hiking Locations in a larger map

This was a fall foliage hike on a beautiful autumn day. I was off from work and took advantage with a big hike, covering some remote parts of Harriman. I parked at the Lake Skanatati Parking area off of Seven Lakes Drive, and took the Arden-Surebridge (A-SB) Trail up the mountain. This area is currently being refurbished and there is trail work with steps on the lower part near the lake. A short but good climb up leads to a popular viewpoint overlooking Lake Skanatati and Lake Kanawauke, where I snapped some nice colorful photos.

I continued on the A-SB Trail past the Pine Swamp Mine, and then continued past the Dunning Trail terminus. At "Times Square", a trail intersection with many different spurs, I took the Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail north, ascending one of the highest points in Harriman, and then down to the Bottle Cap Trail.

The Bottle Cap Trail is an official unofficial Trail. It is marked by bottle caps nailed into trees inside of the typical blazes. I don't believe that is maintained by the regular trail volunteers, but it is still officially sanctioned being on the maps and not being removed by rangers or volunteers. I took the Bottle Cap Trail west past the Surebridge Mine and then to its end at the A-SB Trail. I took the A-SB Trail up, and the trail gets very interesting here with sparse tree cover and dense brush. I took this trail back to Times Square, and then took the Long Path the Hogencamp Mine, and continued along the Long Path back towards Lake Skanatati and the parking area.

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

Lake Skanatati at the Parking Area

New Steps at the A-SB Trail Beginning

View of Lake Skanatati and Lake Kanawauke
from the Pine Swamp Mountain View
Another Perspective from the Above View

Lake Skanatati from the Viewpoint

Scenery Along the A-SB Trail

One of the Mine Openings of the Pine Swamp Mine

Scenery Along the A-SB Trail

Rock at Times Square

Black Rat Snake Across the Ramapo Dunderberg Trail

View Ascending Up on the Ramapo Dunderberg Trail

Red Huckleberry Bushes Atop the High Point on the Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail 

Another Angle at the Above Area


Descending the Ramapo Dunderberg Trail

Marker at the Bottle Cap Trail.
The Ribbon is to Make it Noticeable at the Ramapo Dunderberg Trail Intersection

Small Mine Shaft of the Surebridge Mine Along the Bottle Cap Trail./
This is not Shown on the Trail Conference Maps

Scenery Along the Bottle Cap Trail


Lonely Tree Along the A-SB Trail

Scenery Along the A-SB Trail

Amazing Colors Along the A-SB Trail

More Amazing Colors on the A-SB Trail

Rock Formation Known as "Cape Horn" Right Off the Long Path.
I went Through  These Rocks for a Scenic Bypass

Peninsula on Lake Skanatati as Seen from the Long Path

A Zoom into the Above Photo

View of Lake Skanatati Near the End of the Hike

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Fingerboard Mountain to Greenwood Mine

Harriman State Park
Orange Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Tiorati Brook Trail: Blue blaze
Appalachian Trail: White blaze
Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail: Red blaze
Surebridge Mine Road: Unblazed
Long Path: Green blaze

Total Time: 1:30 hour
Estimated Distance: 3.8 miles
Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Level of Recommendation: Highly recommended
Points Of Interest: Varied scenery, Greenwood Mine
Pros: Very scenic area
Cons: Sound of motorcycles from nearby 7 Lakes Drive, Lack of panoramic view

Google Map of Parking:

View 2014 Hiking Locations in a larger map

The fall colors were really starting to show, and this was a great hike to view the foliage. It was a very cold day for this time of the year, and I regretted not bringing a sweater or light jacket. Though I was moving pretty fast and it was sunny so I stayed warm. I parked at the Tiorati Circle parking area, and took the short Tiorati Brook Trail up to the top where it meets the Appalachian Trail and Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail.

I took the combined Appalachian Trail and Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail south until the split near the Fingerboard Shelter, and then took the Appalachian Trail down the hill towards the Greenwood Mine. At the Greenwood Mine I took the Surebridge Mine Road for a short distance to the Long Path. I took the Long Path all the way to Arden Valley Road, and then walked along the side of the road up and over the hill back to the parking area.

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

Bright Red Huckleberries on the R-D/AT 

Autumn Colors Along the Trail

The Trail Atop Fingerboard Mountain

Summit of Fingerboard Mountain

Another View at the Summit of Fingerboard Mountain

View at the Summit of Fingerboard Mountain

Beautiful Colors on the AT

Greenwood Mine Area

Swamp by the Greenwood Mine

Another View of the Swamp

Lake Tiorati at the End of the Hike

Another View of Lake Tiorati