Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sherwood Path - Pine Meadow Lake

Harriman State Park,
Rockland County,
New York

Total Time: About 3 Hours
Total Distance: About 5 Miles

Took this hike on an absolutely gorgrous late summer day. It's still a shame I did't have my good camera as the pictures of Pine Meadow Lake would have been so much better with a real camera then with my phone camera. I parked my car on the corner of Route 202 and Wilder Road in Wesley Hills, and walked a few Hundred feet south on Route 202, and cut into bushes to the Sherwood Path. Took the Sherwood Path up the mountain (in between Horse Stable Mountain and Catamount Mountain), to the intersection with the Suffern Bear Mountain (SBM) Trail. Went into the "Stone Memorial" Shelter at the intersection, and then continued along the Sherwood Path until the Pine Meadow (PM) Trail. Turned onto the PM towards Pine Meadow Lake, and at the lake snapped some photos and took the Conklins Crossing Trail back to the SBM Trail. At the SBM headed north towards the "Egg", which is a large rounded rock with nice views on top of Horse Stable Mountain and the Hudson Valley. Then headed towars the Sherwood Path back down the same way.

Map of the route

Abandoned cars on the Sherwood Path

Shelter at SBM Trail and Sherwood Path

Sign at Pine Meadow Trail
and Sherwood Path

Pine Meadow Lake near eastern end

Pine Meadow Lake

View from the "Egg".
Looking east towards Horse Stable Mnt.

The "Egg" on the SBM Trail.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Jackie Jones Fire Tower

Harriman State Park,
Rockland County
New York

Estimated Length: 3.2 Miles
Estimated Time: 1.5 Hours

Estimated Length: 3.2 Miles
Estimated Time: 1.5 Hours

I did this hike on a weeday before I left to work. It was a really nice summer day and I am still trying to get in as much hiking as I can before the summer is over. Parked on Call Hollow Road at the trailhead of the Long Path, and took the Long Path up to Old Turnpike. After going briefly on Old Turnpike made a turn north onto an unnamed woods road which led to the Suffern Bear Mountain (SBM) Trail. Took the SBM Trail from there west past the Radio Tower and to the Fire Tower, which I climbed. The Fire Tower is old and rickety and it is not a climb for the faint of nerves. The very top is locked but you can still get an unparalled panorama from all points right near the very top. Climbed back down and took the same route back.

(Note: Pictures are still taken from my cell phone camera.)

Map of the Route

Jackie Jones Radio Tower.
This tower can be seen from almost all summits in the park.

The Fire Tower.

View from Fire Tower facing South.

View from Fire Tower facing East.
Towards Hudson River and Hi-Tor.

View from Fire Tower facing North.
Towards Bear Mnt. and West Mnt.
Lake Welch on the left side.

View from Fire Tower facing West.
Viewing Lake Welch.

Another shot directly below the Fire Tower.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Storm King Mountain

Storm King State Park,
Orange County,
New Y

Estimated Length: 3 Miles
Estimated Time: 2.5 Hours

Hiking Partners:
Shimmy Rosenberg

I haven't been to Storm King in a long time and had forgotten what a great mountain this is. It offers continuous views throughout the hike and is one of the best hike's in the area when it comes to view points. I had intented upon taken a longer route but Shimmy had hurt his foot the prior week and in the middle of the hike needed to bail out early due to his foot pain which was rekindled.

We started at the parking area on Rt. 9W and took the yellow-blazed Stillman Trail up to the rocky summit of Butter Hill. This is a short but steep climb. Atop Butter Hill, which is actually the true summit of Storm King Mountain at 1380 feet, there is a great view looking back at 9W, and across The Clove to the Crow's Nest. Continuing along the trail you can also see views west to Schunemunk Mountain and the small towns of Orange County. The weather was rainy so the views were a bit obscured, but it did clear up in the middle of the hike. We veered off the Stillman Trail to the Bluebird Trail, and took the Bluebird trail partially down the mountain and back again to the Stillman Trail, where we ascending back up on the northern side of the mountain. This part of the trail affords great views of Newburgh and the Newburgh Bay on the Hudson River directly below the mountain.

The Stillman trail bears south at the edge of the mountain, and then hits this unbelievable view which overlooks the south and the east. Directly across the river is Bull Hill (Mt. Taurus) and to the south is the Crow's Nest. From the view took the Bypass Trail back straight toward the parking area.

Map of the route

Once again I only had my phone camera so photo quality is poor.

Butter Hill from the trailhead.

Another view of Butter Hill while ascending

Looking down to Route 9W while climbing
Butter Hill.

View from Butter Hill facing south
towards the Crow's Nest.

View west towards Highlands.
Storm King Mountain is covered in clouds.

Shimmy on a boardwalk along a narrow
part of the Stillman Trail

Looking north toward Newburgh Bay
on the Hudson from the Stillman Trail

Newburgh Bay with Pollopel Island.
Looking North.

Facing south towards Cold Spring across the Hudson.

Breakneck Ridge across the river.
Facing east.

Bull Hill (Mt. Taurus) across the Hudson.
Facing east.

On the Bypass Trail heading back towards
parking area. Butter Hill is up ahead.

Signs at the parking area off Rt. 9W.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Bear Mountain - Major Welch

Bear Mountain State Park
Rockland and Orange Counties, NY

Estimated Length:
3.6 Miles
Estimated Time: 2 Hours

Hiking Partners:
Yehuda Koblick

I took the afternoon off from work to do this hike. This was a real hot and muggy day, during the hottest week of the summer. We started at the Bear Mountain parking lot, and walked toward Hessian Lake and picked up the Major Welch Trail going along the west side of the lake as a paved path. Then we continued along the Major Welch trail and ascended the mountain. The main ascent is a strenuous climb on top of steep rock faces and has some good scrambling points. I rarely take this trail up - I usually climb up the Appalachian Trail and take the Major Welch down. But Yehuda wanted to go up the Major Welch this time. We were sweating profusely due to the heat and terrible humidity.

About 3/4 the way up there is a phenomenal viewpoint where the entire north is clearly visible, and the Bear Mountain Bridge stands below crossing the Hudson. This is a very famous view and is a photo highlight of Bear Mountain. We continued up the summit, passed along the Perkins Tower, and then headed back down via the Appalachian Trail.

Just a note of history here: The Appalachian Trail, which is no doubt the most famous hiking trail in the world, had its first portion created over Bear Mountain. And at the foot of Bear Mountain the trail reaches its lowest point along its 2,178 mile-long route.

There was a sign near the top (where the trail leaves the Perkins Drive extension at the dead end) stating that the trail will be re-routed due to erosion. The way down has recently become extremely eroded due to the exceeding high volume of hikers that climb up this trail. I take this trail often and the erosion has just been terrible lately, so I am glad they are doing something about it.

Continued down the mountain and then met my wife for a barbecue at the Picnic area at the bottom. There is also a vintage car show every Wednesday night in late August which we enjoyed after the barbecue.

Map of the Route.

My camera was sent in for repairs. The photo quality is poor as the photos were taken with my phone camera.

Yehuda climbing rocks on the Major Welch Trail

Rock Climb on Major Welch.
You can see Yehuda on the top.

View facing north on the ascent of Major Welch.
Hudson River and norther Highlands.

Famous view of the Bear Mountain Bridge
from view on Major Welch Trail

Same view with me in it
and the trail marker of Major Welch

From Bear Mountain Summit.
Facing south towards West Mountain
and The Timp.

View of Dunderberg Mountain,
the Hudson, and Peekstill from summit.
Facing Southeast.

Yehuda at the summit. Facing southwest.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Long Path near Rockhouse Mountain

Harriman State Park,
Rockland and Orange Counties,
New York

Estimated Length: 3 Miles
Estimated Time: 1:15 Hours

I took a quick morning hike before coming into work - trying to get in as much as I can before the end of the summer. My goal was to do a hike that is short and not strenuous. I parked at the parking area at Lake Skanatati off 7 Lakes Drive, and took some good photos of both Lake Skanatati and Lake Askoti (I wish I had my good camera which I had sent in to be repaired). Took the Long Path south up and past Gate Hill Road, and then to Beech Trail. Turned east on the Beech Trail to Gate Hill Road, and walked back towards the Long Path along the side of the road.

I had always wondered what the "Rock House" was on the map, so went off the road to a short unmarked path off the road near the location on the Trail Conference Map describing the location of the "Rock House". It seems that it is a large rock face along the edge of a cliff with a cave-like hole in it. I took some photos and continued back to the Long Path and back to the car.

Map of the route.

Lake Skanatati. At the trailhead.

Lake Askoti.
Taken from cell phone camera.
Imagine this shot from a real camera!

The Long Path.

Beginning of the Beech Trail at the Long Path.

The "Rock House".

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Surebridge Mountain

Harriman State Park,
Orange County,
New York

Estimated Length: 5 Miles
Estimated Time: 3.5 Hours

Hiking Partners:
Yehuda Koblick
Shimmy Rosenberg

This was one of the hottest days of the summer - I think it was in the 90's. It wasn't the best choice of trails due to the lack of tree cover on the vast treeless summit and the strong sun and high temperatures. All of us had forgotten to bring sunblock, which was really essential on a hike like this. The main part of the trail on Surebridge Mountain involves an extensive area where many years back had been the scene of a massive forest fire where hundreds of acres had burned. The treeless area is full of rocky outcrops and high brush, and occasional short trees and some large dead ones along the edges. Many charred tree remains can also be seen. We all brought lots of liquids which was important for the weather and terrain.

We parked at the Lake Skanatati parking area and hiked up the Arden Surebridge (A-SB) Trail to the summit and view atop Pine Swamp Mountain. From there continued along the trail past the Pine Swamp and past some mine openings of the Pine Swampe Mine. Continued past the Dunning Trail intersection to "Times Square". (Times Square is a confusing intersection of 3 trails and a Woods Road). Continued on the A-SB (which at this point is also combined with the Long Path) until the Lichen Trail.

The Lichen Trail is short trail that goes along the treeless summit of Surebridge Mountain, and has very picturesque outcrops as well as excellent views of the west. Went along to the end of the Lichen Trail and went east on the Ramapo Dunderberg (R-D) Trail past "Ship Rock" and down back to "Time Square".

From Times Square we continued south on the Long Path past the Hogencamp Mine and up and down several hills, eventually going near the edge of Lake Skanatati and back to the parking area.

USGS Map of the route.

Lake Skannatati and Lake Kanawauke from
the view on Pine Swamp Mnt.

Me and Yehuda atop Pine Swamp Mnt.

One of the Pine Swamp Mine cuts.

Shimmy atop the "Times Square Rock"

All of us at Times Square

Rock outcrops along the treeless Lichen Trail

Southwestern view from viewpoint on Lichen Trail

Western view from Lichen Trail
with Island Pond in the right of picture.

Low brush near end of Lichen Trail.

Cairn near end of Lichen Trail.

Ship Rock.

Yehuda and Shimmy descending Hogencamp
Mountain towards Time Square.

At the end of the hike posing at
Lake Skannatati with my ripped pants
(Ripped them on a fall on the R-D Trail)