Sunday, September 7, 2014

1779 Loop to West Mnt Fire Escape

Harriman State Park
Rockland Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail: Red blaze
1779 Trail: White blaze
Suffern-Bear Mountain Trail: Yellow Blaze

Total Time: 3:15 hour
Estimated Distance: 6.3 miles
Level of Difficulty: Very Difficult
Level of Recommendation: Highly recommended
Points Of Interest: Owl Swamp, Cat's Elbow, Fire Escape
Pros: Varyation of terrain, excellent climbs and views
Cons: Proximity to Palisades Parkway keeps constant sound of cars

Hiking Partner:
Shimmy Rosenberg

Google Map of Parking:

View 2014 Hiking Locations in a larger map

This hike tool longer than usual but was well-worth it. It was one of those memorable hikes that i'll remember the details for a long time. It was also my longest hike since my knee injury and surgery.

We parked our car near Queensboro Road in Stony Point, and walked up the road to the 1779 Trailhead. We took the 1779 Trailhead past all its intersections, and then crossed the Palisades Parkway where the trail crosses the highway. The area on the western side of the Palisades has some swamps formed by beaver activity. We continued and went towards the drained Owl Lake, and then continued to the brushy area and then to the Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail.

We took the Ramapo-Dunderberg back down and across the Palisades, across the new bridge, and up the southern flank of West Mountain by the Cat's Elbow. There is a fascinating view here with views of the Hudson River, Haverstraw, and the western part of the park. The skyline from Manhattan is also visible here from the distance.

We then took the Suffern-Bear Mountain Trail down, in an area known on old maps as the "Fire Escape" this is definitely one of the steepest trails in the entire park and was challeging going down. We continued along the Suffern-Bear Mountain Trail up and down Horn Hill and then back to the 1779 Trail, which we returned on and went back to our car.

Map of the Route.
Harriman/Bear Mountain State Parks Northern Map
Crossing Over the Palisades Parkway on the 1779 Trail

Owl Swamp Through the Trees

Bridge Crossing a Beaver Swamp on the 1779 Trail
Right After Crossing the Palisades

Interesting X on the 1779 Trail

1779 Trail Prior to Meeting the Appalachian Trail

Huckleberry Grove on the 1779 Trail Prior to Meeting the Appalachian Trail

Crossing Over a New Bridge on the Ramapo-
Dunderberg Trail on the Foot of West Mountain
Shimmy Cutting Through the Graphite Mine on the
Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail. This Mine is Near the
Steep Ascent of the R-D Trail bit isn't on Any Maps

View at West Mountain. Facing Southwest.
Scenery Atop West Mountain

More Views Atop West Mountain.
Facing Southeast.

Me at the View

Me at the View with the Hudson River in the Background.
Facing Southeast.

Zoomed in towards the Hudson River.

View Facing South Towards Haverstraw and Hi-Tor

Descending the Fire Escape on the S-BM Trail

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Agony Grind

Agony Grind
Harriman State Park / Sterling Forest State Park
Orange Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:

Appalachian Trail: Red blaze
Appalachian Trail Connector: Blue Blaze
Indian Hill Loop Trail: Yellow Blaze

Total Time: 2:00 hour
Estimated Distance: 2.6 miles
Level of Difficulty: Difficult
Level of Recommendation: Highly recommended
Points Of Interest: Steep scramble and rock formations, view, and old farmlands
Pros: Good climb, views, quiet area of park
Cons: Loudness of Thruway nearby

Hiking Partner:
Shimmy Rosenberg

Google Map of Parking: 

View 2014 Hiking Locations in a larger map

The weather was very unstable, with thunderstorms in the late morning forecast. So we opted for a hike with an easy bailout. We parked at the Elk Pen area, and took the Appalachian Trail up the Agony Grind. This is a steep climb with very interesting rock formations, cliffs, and outcrops. On the top there is a also a good view. We took the Appalachian Trail past the Sapphire Trail to the Appalachian Trail Connector to the Indian Hill Trail. We we were briefly on the Indian Hill Trail, going through the ruins of an old farm/estate with interesting rock walls. We then bushwacked along the perimeter of the slope back to the Appalachian Trail near the Agony Grind and then back to our car.

Map of the Route.
Harriman State Park Northern Map /
Sterling Forest State Park Map

Appalachian Trail by the Elk Pen

Park Lands Plaque on the Appalachian Trail

Walking Along Arden Valley Road on the AT

Trail Marker Plaque on the AT

Shimmy Huge Rock Formation Before the Agony Grind

Me at the Huge Rock Formation Before the Agony Grind

View While Ascending near the Agony Grind

Another Angle of the Same View near the Agony Grind

Shimmy Climbing Through the Agony Grind

Early Foliage While Ascending the AT

View from the Summit Along the AT.
Facing Southeast Towards the Elk Pen and Thruway

The Same View Facing South

View Facing East

View At the Intersection of the AT and AT Connector Trail

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Dickie Barre Area
Minnewaska State Park
Mohonk Preserve

Ulster Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:

Bullwheel Trail: White blaze
High Peters Kill Trail: Blue blaze
Lost City Area Trail: Yellow blaze

Total Time: 2:25 hour
Estimated Distance: 3.4 miles
Level of Difficulty: Difficult
Level of Recommendation: Highly recommended
Points Of Interest:
Views and scrambles
Pros: Several great views, walk through unique cliff caves and talus
Cons: Parking fee

Hiking Partner:

Shimmy Rosenberg

Google Map of Parking:

View 2014 Hiking Locations in a larger map

I had not gone to the Gunks this entire season, and was glad to finally have the oppurtunity. This hike involved scrambling and good climbing, and was up to challenging myself on this type of hike for the first time since my surgery.

We parked in Minnewaska at the Park Office area, and took the Bullwheel Trail to the High Peters Kill Trail, where we went due east and then down the mountain. We then went down the mountain and along the foot, to the yellow spur trail to the talus slope. We took this trail up to the area known as the "Lost City". This area compromises a large section of hard Quartz conglomerate that broke off from the main cliff and formed an incredible network of rock cuts and caves. There is no trail going through the Lost City - its more of a self-exploration. I would have liked to see an official route going through here.

We explored the area, went deep into some caves, and then headed back down back towards the High Peters Kill Trail and then back on the same route back. When we got to the High Peters Kill Trail we veered off the trail on to the blue trail with a center. These markings were new since the past year, and my understanding is that they are specifically for rock climbers. In any event this was a scenic spur, skirting the side of a cliff and under a cave-like overhand where we met some rock climbers on rope. The trail spurs up on the top of the mountain as well where we were afforded with excellent views. We then went back down and back on the Bullwheel Trail back to the parking area and back to our car.

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

Map of the Route.
Shawangunk Map, Mohonk/Minnewaska

Shimmy Walking Along Open Meadow on the Bullwheel Trail

Early Foliage on the Bullwheel Trail

View of the Cliffs near the Dickie Barre.
The Area Under the Cliffs Ahead are the Lost City Area

Me at the Above Viewpoint

Me Descending the High Peters Kill Trail

Plaque at the Entrance to the Lost City Area

Shimmy Walking Through a Large Split in the Rock

Deep Rock Split

Long Dark Crevice

Shimmy in the Long Dark Crevice

Slope with Talus

Cliff Face up Above

Shimmy on a Large Talus Rock

Shimmy Above a Large Rock with Overhang

Shimmy Navigating Through a Tight Squeeze

Shimmy Above a Fallen Rock with a Cave Underneath

Climber Trail near the Whale Rock Area

Rock Climbers Climbing Up an Overhang

Large Overhang in the Whale Rock Area

Looking up at the Overhang

Me on Top of the Whale Rock Area

View Facing South from the Whale Rock Area

The Top Part of the Rock Climber's Rope in the Picture Above