Friday, June 3, 2016

Sterling Pond,
Smugglers' Notch State Park

Lamoille Co.,
Vermont

Hiking Trails:
Sterling Pond Trail
Long Trail

Total Time: 1:15 Hours
Estimated Distance: 2.1 Miles
Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Level of Recommendation: Recommended

Points of Interest: Beautiful, serene mountain lake
Cons: Lacks good views along the trek

I had traveled to Vermont for a weekend wedding in the Burlington area. We arrived in the afternoon on Friday, and being late in the day, I opted for a short hike for Friday, and a serious hike up Mount Mansfield for Sunday. However, the weather on Sunday was terrible, with strong rain all day long. So this ended up being our only hike while in Vermont.

We drove through Smugglers' Notch on Route 108, driving through the narrow and twisting part of this road. We parked at the trailhead at the Sterling Pond area, and took the Sterling Pond Trail up the mountain, climbing about 1000 feet. We then took the Long Path at the intersection a short distance to the pond. This pond is a natural mountain lake with crystal clear water. It is exceptionally scenic. After taking some pictures, we turned around and headed back down the same way to the trailhead.

Map of the Route

End of the Sterling Pond Trail at the Long Trail

Slight View from a Partial Clearing, Facing North

Zoomed into the Above View

Approaching Sterling Pond

Sterling Pond with Madonna Peak in the Background

Sterling Pond at the Outlet

Me at Sterling Pond

Cliff Walls Along Smugglers' Notch

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Manitou Point Preserve

Manitou
Putname Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Uplands Trail: Green blaze
Manitou Rd. Bypass Trail: Red blaze
River Trail: Blue blaze
Old Carriage Road Trail: Yellow blaze

Total Time: 1:30 Hours
Estimated Distance: 3 Miles
Level of Difficulty: Easy
Level of Recommendation: Recommended

Points of Interest: Beautiful river views
Cons: Some wide trails and non-mountainous area

I had not been feeling well in the morning, but by late evening was feeling better and able to go on a non-strenuous hike. I have seen this area from the Northern Harriman maps, and had never been here before, so decided to check it out. Indeed although its a small area, there is alot of nice scenery here and hiking trails right up along the Hudson River.

I parked at the parking area off Route 9D, and took the Uplands Forest Trail all the way to the end. This is the longest trail in the park, and although it does have some small ups and downs, it is mostly uninteresting. It ends at a dirt road which goes alongside the Manitou Marsh, which I took north to the Manitou Rd. Bypass Trail.

This trail ends by the driveway that goes towards the abandoned mansion, crossing the railroad first. From the map, it shows the blue trail going around the side of the mansion, but if you look at the map at the entrance to the park it skirts the mansion to avoid it. In any event, I wasn't aware of this and was just following the map, and found the mansion with ivy growing around it highly scenic. I don't know what the status of the mansion is but there was a dumpster in front of it, so perhaps they are restoring it. I took the River Trail alongside the eastern shore of the Hudson River, and took it all the way to where it ends as a dead end.

I then turned around, and then went on the Old Carriage Road back to the River Trail, and then took the newly re-routed River Trail near the railroad track back to the driveway, walking up past the small cascades and back to the parking area.

Map of the Route
Harriman/Bear Mountain Trails Northern Map

Map at the Trailhead Parking Area

Fallen Tree Crossing the Copper Mine Brook at the Trail

Manitou Marsh

Abandoned Structure in the Woods

Crossing Over the Metro North Railroad

Boats in the Hudson, with a Train on the Other Side of the River

Abandoned Mansion at Manitou

Another View of the Mansion

Hudson River at Manitou, Looking North

Hudson River at Manitou, Looking West

Hudson River at Manitou, Looking North

Hudson River at Manitou, Looking South to Bear Mountain

Metro North Train with Anthony's Nose in the Background

Sunset Over the Hudson

Another view of the Sunset over the Hudson

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Black Rock Forest,
Whitehorse Mountain and Hill of Pines

Orange Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Highlands Trail: Aqua blaze
Stillman Trail: Yellow blaze
Old West Point Road (unblazed)
Swamp Trail: Blue blaze
Hill of Pines Trail: White blaze
Carpenter Road (unblazed)
Scenic Trail: White blaze
White Oak Road (unblazed)
Reservoir Trail: Blue blaze
Duggan Trail: Red blaze

Total Time: 2:45 Hours
Estimated Distance: 4.8 Miles
Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Level of Recommendation: Highly Recommended for a quiet area

Points of Interest: Remote area, nice lakes and scenery, good view
Cons: No view on Whitehorse Mountain and First Part of Hill on Pines

Hiking Partner:
Shimmy Rosenberg

We had been to Black Rock Forest two weeks prior, and noticed the large network of trails here left more for us to explore. So we returned to see more of the trails and experience more of the area.

We parked at parking area at Reservoir Road, and took Stillman/Highlands Trail combination up the climb to Whitehorse Mountain. This is a disappointing climb, as it's a good way up, but has no view. We descended the trail, went along the north side of the reservoir, and then took the Highlands Trail at its split to Old West Point Road, which we took briefly until the Swamp Trail.

We took the Swamp Trail very briefly to the Hill of Pines Trail, which is a good climb, and I was surprised to see no pines on the top. There is a short spur at the top to a view, but the view was overgrown and not even picture-worthy. We continued along the end of the Hill of Pines Trail, to Carpenter Road and then turned around north on the Scenic Trail. There is a brief but good climb up to the other side of the Hill of Pines Ridge, and this area affords an excellent view facing south and west. And there are two lonely short pine trees here at the view- hardly a "hill of pines!" We took a little break here, then continued north to the Swamp Trail westward.

We took the Swamp shortly to its end at White Oak Road, and walked along White Oak Road until meeting the Stillman Trail, which we took down to the Reservoir Trail. We climbed down the mountain in the valley along the Reservoir Trail, and then took the Duggan Trail up back to the parking area.

Map of the Route. West Hudson Trails

The Light at the End of the Tunnel
Going through the Narrow Tunnel near the Parking Area

A Robin's Nest with 2 Eggs. We saw the Mother Scurry Off and then Noticed this Nest

Upper Reservoir

Dwarf Pine at the Top at Hill of Pines

View from Hill of Pines

View from Hill of Pines

View from Hill of Pines

Me at Hill of Pines

Shimmy at Hill of Pines

Lone Pine Tree at Hill of Pines

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Bald Mountain and Doodletown

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

Hiking Trails:
Cornell Mine Trail: Blue blaze
Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail: Red blaze
1777 Trail: Red blaze
1777 Trail E: White blaze

Total Time: 2:45 Hours
Estimated Distance: 5.3 Miles
Level of Difficulty: Difficult
Level of Recommendation: Highly Recommended

Points of Interest: Good climb and Excellent View

Hiking Partner:
Shimmy Rosenberg

This hike is one of my favorites in the Harriman/Bear Mountain area. The area is quiet, the scenery is dramatic, the climb is steep, and the view is excellent. The Gran Fondo bike race was this same Sunday, and their route was right where the trailhead was. We parked on Route 9W right before the road to Bear Mountain to avoid the traffic from the bike race, and then walked down a little bit to the trailhead. It was difficult crossing Route 9W due to all the bikes going in both directions.

We took the Cornell Mine Trail from its beginning, and climbed up along the brook on the ridge. We continued along on this trail until its steep ascent. Where the trail turns west on the climb, we stayed straight and took the original steep trail route up back to where it meets the Cornell Mine Trail again. We took the Cornell Mine Trail until its terminus on Dunderberg Mountain, by a small pit that is part of the Cornell Mine complex. We headed west on the Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail to its short traverse to the summit of Bald Mountain, which is really the western part of Dunderberg. This area affords an excellent and unobstructed view north, west, and south.

From the Bald Mountain view, we continued along the Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail down into the valley, and cut across on the unmarked woods road that goes in to Pleasant Valley Road in Doodletown. At this point, a small storm rolled in, with strong winds and rain, making the conditions very uncomfortable. About 20 minutes later the rain and wind died down, and we continued along the path until it met up with the 1777 Trail at the end of Doodletown.

Doodletown is a ghost town. This was a small community up until the 60’s, when the state purchased the entire area and made it into a state park. Although none of the structures are preserved, many of the foundations are still in place, and plaques are placed throughout the area describing all the former structures, such as the homes, schools, and church. We went along the trail and veered off at the first former unnamed road that goes to the east and loops back around south towards the Edison Mine. We quickly went up the hill to explore the Edison Mine, went back down along the same road behind the Doodletown Reservoir,  and then joined along with the 1777 W Trail briefly. We then took Pleasant Valley Road down back to Route 9W and our car.

Map of the Route
Harriman/Bear Mnt Trails Northern Map

Dunderberg Mountain from Beyond the Iona Island Swamp, From the Parking Area on 9W

The Bear Mountain Bridge and Anthony's Nose, From the Parking Area on 9W

Shimmy Posing with the Gran Fondo Bikers

Gran Fondo Bikers

"The 16-footer" - Waterfall on the Cornell Mine Trail

Approaching the Bald Mountain View, Facing North Zoomed Out

Bear Mountain Bridge and the Hudson River from Bald Mountain

Zoomed in to the Bear Mountain Bridge and the Hudson River from Bald Mountain

View West from Bald Mountain 
Me at the Bald Mountain Summit

Panorama of Bald Mountain Summit

Me at the Bald Mountain Summit

Descending the Mountain, with the NYC Skyline in the Distance

NYC Skyline Beyond the Trees

Zoomed into the NYC Skyline

Me Hiking in the Forest

Bald Mountain from Doodletown

Edison Mine Adit

Caption at Doodletown Ruin Stating Recent Vandalism

Wildflowers in Bloom in Doodletown