Sunday, October 30, 2011

Rare Autumn Snow Hike

Pine Meadow and HTS Trails,
Harriman State Park,
Rockland Co.,
New York

Pine Meadow Trail: Red blaze
Stony Brook Trail: Yellow blaze
Hillburn-Torne-Sebago Trail: Orange blaze

Total Time: 2:20 hr
Estimated Distance: 3.4 Miles
Level of Difficulty: Very Difficult due to climbing in snowy conditions
Level of Recommendation: Highly Recommended
Points Of Interest: Beauriful river path, amazing views

Hiking Partners:
S&M Rosenberg

Google Maps of Parking:

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This hike was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It combined fall foliage togethor with a over a foot of snow. We had gotten a freak snowstorm in the end of October, the biggest ever by far on record (snow does not happen at all this time of the year!), and the trees still all had their leaves on them. Aside from the trees fallen and losing power for almost a week, the setting of the white snow with the fall foliage was absolutely incredible.

This was the backdrop of our hike. We parked at the Reeve's Meadow trailhead off 7 Lakes Drive near Sloatsburg. We actually got a spot in a parking lot despite this being a Sunday. I guess the snow scared people off. This parking lot is always full with cars parked lining all the way up and down 7 Lakes Drive on a typical Sunday. The weather was also extremely cold for October and we had to bundle well. I was not used to this as I still hadn't put on any coat yet for the season.

We went along the Pine Meadow Trail, to the Stony Brook Trail, and then where it crosses the Pine Meadow Brook we took the unmarked spur trail back to the Pine Meadow Trail. From there we continued till the HTS Trail, which we turned right on to climb up the mountain. The view here is really good, and the panorama of snow and bright fall colors for miles and miles was amazing! And on top of the mountain there was a remarkable two feet of snow! We turned around from there and went back down the HTS back to the Pine Meadow Trail all the way back to our car. This hike was definitley my most memorable hike this past year.

Hiking Map of the Route

Seven Lakes Drive Approaching Reeves Meadow Trailhead

Me and the Rosenberg brothers at the Trailhead

Me navigating through downed trees

The colorful trees and the snow. On the Pine Meadow Trail.

A bright blue sky adds to the color.

At the Gas Line crossing on the Stony Brook Trail

More amazing colors, on the Stony Brook Trail.

Ascending near the Pine Meadow Trail opposite Cascase of Slid.

Ascending near the mountain on the HTS Trail.
 Note the wet snow covering everything.

View from the summit viewpoint. Facing northwest.

Another view from the summit. Facing southwest.

Shimmy at the summit. Facing north.

Me at the summit.

Relaxing in 2 feet of snow.

Summit view - facing northwest.

Trees along the Pine Meadow Trail

At the descent at the Gas pipeline on the Pine Meadow Trail

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Silvermine Lake & Black Mountain

Harriman State Park,
Rockland Co.,
New York

Menomine Trail: Yellow blaze
Appalachian Trail (AT): White blaze
Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail (R-D): Red blaze

Total Time: 3:00 hr
Estimated Distance: 4.5 Miles
Level of Difficulty: Slightly difficult
Level of Recommendation: Highly Recommended
Points Of Interest: Scenic Lake, Good climb, and amazing views

Hiking Partners:
Shimmy Rosenberg

Google Maps of Parking:

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This hike was at the peak of the fall foliage, with the striking colors in full force. I wanted to get a hike with a beatiful lake and solid viepoint, so this was the perfect combination. We parked at the Silvermine Lake parking area off Seven Lakes Drive, and took the path along the western part of the lake towards the dam. At the dam bushwacked down slightly, and then crossed the outlet stream on the rocks. Over the other side there is an old road that is an unmarked trail that first goes along the northern shore of Silvermine Lake, and then slowly climbs the mountain. Not too far later it hits the combined AT and R-D Trails.

At that intersection we took the combined AT and R-D Trails up black mountain, where there is a short but solid climb to a fantastic viewpoint where you can get a very pretty view of the lake. Continued along towards the summit of Black Mountain, which provides one of the best views in the entire Harriman Park. We also explored the Spanish Mine on the top of Black Mountain. The Spanish Mine is mostly filled in and only a short pit, and not all that interesting.

From here we turned around back and continued along the AT all the way to the Menomine Trail. Stopped at the shelter for a few minutes which was extremely busy, and then took the Menomine Trail back to the parking area.

Map of the Route

Foliage at the Beginning of Hike

Silvermine Lake. Western shore.

Silvermine Lake, near Dam

Silvermine Lake, near Dam

Group of Japanese crossing the brook near the lake outlet

Black Mountain. First viewpoint overlooking the lake.

Same view, zoomed in.

Same viewpoint, different angle of Lake

Near the summit of Black Mountain.
Facing south towards Hi-Tor.

View from Black Mnt Summit.
Facing south with Manhattan Skyline in view straight ahead.

Summit view. Facing south.

The inconspicuous Spanish Mine.

The busy shelter at the AT and Menomine Intersections.

Another Lake Shot on the return.
From the southern shore of the lake along the Menomine Trail.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Lake Welch and Jackie Jones Firetower

Harriman State Park,
Rockland Co.,
New York


Suffern-Bear Mountain (S-BM) Trail: Yellow blaze

Total Time:
1:40 hr
Estimated Distance: 2.4 Miles
Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Level of Recommendation: Recommended
Points Of Interest: Scenic Lake, Amazing view from Fire Tower

Hiking Partners:

S&M Rosenberg

Google Maps of Parking:

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I have been to this Fire Tower many times, and I especially enjoy going during the fall. Several years ago before I started the blog I had taken the old S-BM Trail route down from the Fire Tower to Lake Welch. It was during the winter and the entire way down was an ice slide. This route was the original route of the SB-M trail and was instead routed down towards the Orak ruin, but the old unmarked trail remained. I had noticed they had cut some trees and reblazed a path in that same area, apparently to install an electric wire or pipline or something going to the Jackie Jones communication tower. This new wide path pretty much follows the S-BM route, and this I decided to take this route up.

This hike was at the beginning of the peak of the autumn foliage. We parked on Lake Kanawauke Rd (County Rt. 106) right after it crosses the Minesceongo Creek. We took the S-BM along the northern flank of the road, and then where the S-BM splits off the trail to go to the Irish Rock, we went off the S-BM on the unmarked trail which takes you to the Beaver Pond Campsite. The campsite was already closed for the season and was deserted. We looked around and then took the campground road down to the main road, and then hit the side of Lake Welch by the dam for some pictures. We then crossed the road and tool the old original S-BM trail up the mountain to the Jackie Jones fire tower. We climbed the tower taking some excellent fall foliage shots with the panoramic views, and then we headed down the S-BM passing through the ORAK ruin and then back to the parking area.

Map of the Route

Near the beginning of the hike,
right after the spur of the S-BM Trail.
Looking southwest towards Jackie Jones Mountain
with the communication tower on top.

The Rosenberg Brothers in the foliage

Pond at the Campground.

Walking down the campground road.

Lake Welch from the northeast shore.

The recently trees cut down to make a path up to Jackie Jones Mnt.
This used to be the old S-BM route.

Me on the Fire Tower.

From the Fire Tower, facing north towards Bear Mnt and Breakneck.

From the Fire Tower, overlooking Lake Welch to the west.

From the Fire Tower,
looking south towards NYC and the visible Manhattan skyline

From the Fire Tower,
looking east towards the communications tower, the Hudson, and Hi-Tor.

A better view of Lake Welch from the Fire Tower.
With the island in the middle.

Structure in the ORAK ruin along the S-BM Trail heading down.

Another structure in the ORAK ruin.

Walking down near the end of the hike.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Kakiat Autumn Foliage

I often go for walks around Kakiat County Park and was walking along the Old Mill Trail and was struck by this beautiful fall foliage scene. Unfortunately I did not have my camera with me, so I had to use my cell phone camera which does not at all do justice to this picture. The colors in the picture are not enhanced!