Sunday, May 30, 2010

Russian Bear

Harriman State Park
Rockland County,
New York

Total Time:
2:45 hours
Total Distance: 5 miles

Hiking Partner:

Yehuda Koblick

Reeves Brook: White Blaze
Racoon Brook Hills (RBH): Black Blaze
Hillburn Torne Sebago (HTS): Orange Blaze
Seven Hills Trail: Blue Blaze

This was another beautiful late spring day with perfect weather. We started at the Reeves Brook
Visitors Center off 7 Lakes Drive near Sloatsburg. Took the Reeves Brook Trail all the way from beginning to end up the mountain along the Reeve's Brook, which the trail is named after. From there took the RBH east where it makes a very steep climb up the Pulpit, and where there is a good view. From the Pulpit continued along till the HTS Trail, where we went south towards the Russian Bear.

The Russian Bear is a sold cliff wall along the ridge, and the trail skirts around descending on the side of the cliff face. Continued along the HTS past where it meets the Seven Hills Trail, and then veered off continuing with the Seven Hills. From there took a connector path back to the Reeves Brook and back to the trailhead.

Map of the route

Me ascending the cliff by the Pulpit

Yehuda at the Pulpit

Pulpit viewpoint - facing southwest.

Beautiful flowering Mountain Laurels on the RBH

Manhattan skyline in the distance (zoomed)
From the viewpoint above the Russian Bear.
Facing south-southeast.

View at Russian Bear looking towards the
Torne Valley complex. Facing south.

The Russian Bear cliff face from below
on the HTS Trail.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Rattlesnake Eating Squirrel

Kakiat County Park
Rockland County
New York

I was taking a walk in the woods near the Old Mill Trail (blue) in Kakiat Park, past the Old Mill,
and I saw an amazing sight. A Timber Rattlesnake was eating an entire full-sized squirrel! It was
just starting when I saw it, and I didn't have my camera with me at the time so tried snapping shots
with my phone camera. The photos aren't that great, but you can still get the idea. The squirrel
wasn't all that much bigger then the snake that was devouring it, which was amazing.

By the time I got my phone camera,
the squirrel was already halfway in.

A closer shot, with more of the squirrel devoured.

He's almost done. Just the tail is sticking out.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

West Mountain (Southern Portion)

Harriman State Park
Rockland County,
New York

Total Time:
2:45 hours
Total Distance: 5 miles

Hiking Partner:

Shimmy Rosenberg

Beechy Bottom Road
Appalachian Trail (AT): White Trail
Timp-Torne Trail (TT): Blue Trail
Ramapo Dunderberg Trail (R-D): Red Blaze

This is one of the best hikes in the area! West Mountain has some of the best views in the region, with continuous vistas and summits. This made up for the previous week's lousy hike. The weather was also perfect, although a tad on the hot side. We started at Anthony Wayne area. We wanted to park at the southern extension of Anthony Wayne, but this area has been closed off to cars for a while now. I wonder if they will ever re-open it. We went along the service roads in the woods, and then cut accross to Beechy Bottom Road, and then headed along Beechy Bottom Road until the AT. From the AT headed east up to West Mountain. This part is a solid climb. The intersection of the AT with the TT Trail has a fantastic lookout near the summit which affords an outstanding view.

From the lookout, headed east along the TT, and ascended the true summit of West Mountain, which is a few hundred feet due east from the lookout. Continued along past the Shelter, where we met a bunch of overnighters packing their tents, and where there is an excellent view of the Timp which looms ahead. Continued down the mountain to the Timp Pass, and then took the Timp Pass south for just a little bit to the intersection of the R-D. Took the R-D back west, climbing along the southern edge of West Mountain, with continuous views along the climb. Once at the top took the R-D back down past the Cat's Elbow cliff, and then continued down the mountain until the Bike Path by Anthony Wayne. From there went back to the car.

Map of the route

From the West Mountain lookout.
Looking southwest to Black Mountain.

Me and Shimmy at the lookout
by the A-T/T-T intersection

Same view but our better side.

From the true summit of West Mountain.
Looking south at the Southern Portion
of West Mountain.

People camping at the shelter.
Hudson River is in background.
From T-T Trail facing southeast.

View of Manhattan Skyline in distance.
Descending the T-T Trail towards Timp Pass.
Facing south.

The Timp!
Facing east with Hudson and Hi-Tor in background.
Note the sheer cliff wall.

R-D Trail neat South summit of West Mountain.
Facing south.

West Mountain south Summit.
Near SBM intersection
with Hudson River/Haverstraw Bay
in background.

Shimmy descending Cat's Elbow.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Long Path

Near Mountainview Park
Rockland County,
New York

Total Time:
1:10 hours
Total Distance: 2.5 Miles

Red Trail
Long Path: Blue Blaze
Appalachian Trail (AT): White Blaze
Major Welch Trail: Red Blaze

I usually state how good the hike was. Well, today I will complain how BAD this hike was. The weather was cloudy and windy, there were NO views, and there were signs of human settlement throughout this hike. Just awful! In fact, I didnt even take any pictures! I parked on Sugar Hill Rd, right off of Mountainview Ave, and started looking for the Long Path. There was this other red-blazed trail there in place of where the Long Path was, and this was just some sort of detour back to the Long Path. Took the Long Path first east and then north, brushing along the side of the Oak Hill Cemetary, and then back into the wood, and then behind the apartment complexes. I was going to take this all the way to Christian Herald Road and then turn around, but I really didnt want to take that route again. I also didn't want to have to loop again on the road, so using my GPS with satellite view I bushwacked through the woods and ended up by a Water Tower. There is also some sort of newly built temple here. It has a Persian style and some hidden minarets, and its kind of freaky because it has no name or anything on the building. Perhaps its a secret operation for Ahmadinejad or Ghadaffi. Anyways, I continued along south on Mountainview Road back to my car.

Map of the route.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Bear Mountain, Southern Approach

Bear Mountain State Park
Orange County,
New York

Total Time:
1:30 hours
Total Distance: 3.3 Miles

1777 W: Red Blaze
Appalachian Trail (AT): White Blaze
Major Welch Trail: Red Blaze

This was a HOT day - the hottest day of the year so far. It was over 90 and humid, which is unseasonal for the beginning of May. And this was a trail with a big climb and not too much tree cover. I started at the parking area at the 1777 W Trail on 7 Lakes Drive, and took the 1777 W Trail east for about 5 minutes until it connected with the AT. Took the AT up the mountain. A significant part of this trail shares a route with Perkins Memorial Drive, which receives car traffic, making it annoying. I was looking for ways to bushwack up the steep incline to avoid the road part, but was too hot so I just took the regular route along the road. I was delighted to see an old map after the hike which shows the original location of the Major Welch Trail avoiding the road and cutting straight up a steep incline - so my next trip there will be to find this old trail and use this route instead.

From the road hit the intersection with the Major Welch, and continued along this trail until this summit. This part of the Major Welch has excellent views and interesting rock formations, and is definitely more recommended over the parallel portion of the AT which is right next to it. From the summit stretched a little bit, shmoozed a bit with some people there, and then headed back down by way of the AT. Once I hit 7 Lakes Drive I went along the road back to the parking area.

Map of the route

View while ascending of Popolopen Torne.
Facing north.

Looking southwest, towards the Palisades Pkwy
and 7 Lakes Drive exit, and Queensboro Lake.
View from Major Welch Trail near top.

Looking west, towards Bradley Mountain.
(Those two humps are Bradley Mnt)
View from Major Welch Trail near top.

Looking south towards the summit of West Mountain
From the Major Welch Trail.

Solid Rock scramble on the Major Welch
right before lookout approach.

Me at the top lookout.
From where the Major Welch hits the top.
West Mountain is the next mountain over.

Me again at the top, facing west.