Sunday, March 29, 2009

Cheesecote Mountain

Cheesecote Town Park,
Ramapo Mountains,
Rockland County, NY

Was raining much of the day and was still very foggy when I left in the afternoon. I had checked the radar before heading out and there were severe thunderstorms heading towards us - so I had to plan the hike to be back before the thunderstorms arrived.

Parked on top of Cheescote Mountain on Cheescote Lane, which is a developed neighborhood of newly construction million dollar homes. The trailhead is in a cul-de-sac surrounded by some of these homes. It's a really strange place to start a hike. From the road took the short gravel trail to Cheescote Pond, where I picked up the Long Path and headed for a short while east. There is some construction going on here and it looks like they are trying to develop the park around the pond area. I certainly hope they keep it wild the way it is now. From the pond headed off the trail onto one of the many unmarked woods roads in the path towards the summit of the mountain. Started heading down the mountain but was getting nervous about the weather so bailed out and headed back the way I came. Did a little cut-across on a different path towards the Long Path, and then took the Long Path back to Cheesecote Pond and back to the trailhead.

This was a very eerie hike. The fog was extremely dense and it was lighly drizzling with hardly any visibility. I could hardly see where I was going navigating through the dense fog. At one point I passed some old ruins which really looked really ghostly in thick fog.

At the beginning of the hike.

Cheescote Pond.
The fog had totally blocked it out from view.

Another view of Cheescote Pond

At the summit of Cheescote Mnt.

Spooky ruin off the unmarked woods road.

The yellow-blazed Long Path heading back.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Breakneck Mountain

Harriman State Park,
Rockland County, New York

This was a much longer hike then I had expected. I also moved along very quickly, and didn't take any breaks so I came home quite charlie-hoarse. Started out at the Johnsontown Rd. Cemetary (not far from Lake Welch), and took the Long Path southeast. Hit the Old Turnpike and then turned onto the Road to Camp Lanowa. At Camp Lanowa I met a park ranger who got upset at me for trespassing camp propery, but hey, this is state parkland and I have a right to hike it. I didn't want to argue with the guy so I just apologized and went on. I wanted to take the unmarked trail up Breakneck Mountain to the Breakneck Mountain Trail, but I somehow missed it and ended up taking a different, overgrown unmarked trail (that's not even on the map) alongside Breakneck Pond. (This mountain is not to be confused with the very famous Breakneck Ridge, a mountain about 25 miles north on the western shore of the Hudson River.)

Breakneck Pond is one of the most remote lakes within Harriman State Park as there are no roads leading to (except for the camp road) and there aren't any official hiking trails that touch it. It is actually one of the few lakes in Harriman inhabited by beavers, as evidenced by the beaver-bitten trees all along the shoreline. Anyways, after hiking along the south shore of the lake for a little bit, decided to bushwack thru the dense brush up the steep hill towards the Breakneck Mountain Trail. Finally hit that trail and hiked along south till its short end. Breakneck Mountain is high mountain by Harriman standards but doesn't show any views, although it does have several nice rocky summit areas. At the end of the Breakneck Mountain Trail, took the red-blazed Tuxedo-Mnt. Ivy Trail for a very short distace to the old Pine Meadow Road path, which I took to the Buck Trail. Took the Buck Trail west to the Buch Extension Trail, and then back to the Pine Meadow Rd. path. From there took the Cranberry Mountain Trail north back towards the Long Path, and took the longpath back to where I parked the car.

Breakneck Pond from the shore near Camp Lanowa.
At north shore looking southwest.

A partially gnawed tree attacked by a beaver

Breakneck Mountain Trail near the summit

Summit of Breakview Mountain Trail. Facing SW.
The view on this mountain isn't the greatest.

Intersection of the Buck and Buck Extension Trails.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Cobus Mountain

Harriman State Park,
Rockland County, New York

The weather has definitely been warming up. Less then a week ago had been a large snowstorm, and on this hike all the snow was totally gone and the temperature was in the upper 50's. Started out at the Kakiat parking area in Kakiat County Park, and took the Kakiat Trail (white) around the foot of the mountain and then up in the valley between Kakiat and Cobus Mountains. Just a few hundred feet after crossing the pipeline construction area, bushwacked north across the brook and up the mountain towards the summit of the lower Cobus Mountain. Once atop the summit headed north then west down the mountain to the valley by the power lines on the unmarked trail. From there headed onto the power line woods path towards the intersection of the Kakiat trail, and then descended the mountain back on the Kakiat trail. At the pipeline construction header down the pipeline path to the pumping station, and then past the pumping station towards the Mahwah River back into Kakiat Park. From there went southwest along the river on a short unmarked trail until the Old Mill Trail (Blue), and then took the Old Mill Trail back towards the parking lot.

On Kakiat Trail at foot of Mountain.
Heading North near Old Mill Trail.

View of Kakiat Mount Ascending Cobus Mountain.
Facing southwest.

Continuing rocky ascent to Cobus.
Summit in the distance.

At the rocky summit of Cobus

Facing south from top of Cobus.
Kakiat Mountain, Suffern, and Mahwah are in the distance.

View of Manhattan skyscrapers from the summit.
The tall building in the center is the Empire State
Building. Taking with 10x optical zoom.

Me on top of Cobus.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Pine Swamp Mountain

Harriman State Park,
Orange County, New York

I had missed hiking on the previous day due because I wasn't feeling well, so had an opportunity to go on Monday which was a snow day so I grabbed. Because it was a work day I had to keep this hike much shorter then usual. But the foot of fresh snow and even deeper drifts made it quite arduous. The snow was coming down pretty heavy during the entire hike.

Started at trailhead off 7 Lakes Drive by Lake Skanatati, and climbed the Arden Surebridge Trail to the lookout at the summit. Then returned the same way. I fell several times on the scramble part as I couldn't see the footing in the deep drifts.

7 Lakes Drive near the trailhead

At the trailhead with Lake Skanatati behind me

Starting the ascent

In a deep drift

On the trail near the lookout

At the summit looking west.
Closer lake is Skanatati and further lake is Kanuwake

Looking northwest from the summit.

Me at the summit