Sunday, November 27, 2011

Dunderberg Spiral Railway

Bear Mountain State Park
Rockland Co.,
New York


Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail: Red blaze
Timp- Torne Trail: Blue blaze
Dunderberg Spiral Railway Path

Total Time: 2:15 hr
Estimated Distance: 4 Miles
Level of Difficulty: Slightly difficult
Level of Recommendation: Recommended
Points Of Interest: Several good views and historical interest

Hiking Partner:
Debbie Koegel

Google Maps of Parking:

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The good weather continues. Was a beautiful Sunday in late November, and we decided on the eastern flank of Dunderberg which affords a good vertical ascent as well as several good views. We climbed along the R-D Trail, and passed the Dunderberg Spiral Railway tunnels and then took the hoist path as it is followed by the R-D Trail. Throughout this trail the hike passes and goes along parts of the spiral railway remnants. The Dunderberg Spiral Railway was an ambitious project in the early 20th century which involved building a large hotel atop Dunderberg Mountain, and creating a railway that snakes itself up the mountain. This project was abandoned in the middle, leaving many remnants of its existence throughout this part of the hike.

We took several of the good views, including the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant, the City of Peekskill, and the Bear Mountain Bridge between Bear Mountain and Anthony's Nose. After a swamp before ascending Bald Mountain, we opted to take one of the railway paths back down to the T-T Trail and then head back from there. We cut across and took the T-T Trail back to our car.

Map of the Route.

Indian Point from first lookout on R-D Trail.
Facing southeast.

City of Peekskill from across the Hudson River.
Facing northeast.

Rail Bridge on the other side of the Hudson north of Peekskill.
Facing northeast.

Anthony's Nose from top view.
With Route 6 and 202 snaking along the side of the mountain.
Facing north-northeast.

Me at the top view, with the Bear Mountain Bridge behind me.
Bear Mountain bridge is to the left of me. Looking north.

View of Bald Mountain

One of the railway tunnels along the T-T Trail.

View facing south while descending the T-T Trail.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Nickel Mine and MacMillan Reservoir

Ramapo Valley County Reservation,
Bergen Co.,
New Jersey

Silver Trail: Silver blaze
Ridge Trail: Blue blaze
Waterfall Trail: Yellow blaze
River Trail: Red blaze

Total Time: 2:25 hr
Estimated Distance: 4.2 Miles
Level of Difficulty: Moderate to Slightly difficult
Level of Recommendation:
Points Of Interest: Nice lakes, good view, and mine

Google Maps of Parking:

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The weather so far every Sunday in November has been fabulous. Today was no different, reaching a high close to 60 with a full sun and blue sky. I parked in the main parking area off Route 202, which is very large and always has lots of cars on a Sunday, especially when the weather is nice. Took the heavily used Silver Trail going up, and took the quieter western spur of the Silver Trail as I started climbing the mountain. From there took the Ridge Trail in its entirety. I took it to the view, then at the intersection of the Havemeyer Trail I bushwacked down a little bit to check out the Nickel Mine. There are two open pits with dumps, but not much of anything interesting here.

Continued back along the Ridge Trail, past the bend, and descended down towards the brook and to the Silver Trail. Took the Silver Trail to the dam of the MacMillan Reservoir, where it starts getting real busy. At one this was once a road, and so it is very wide and has lots of people walking on it such as joggers and people walking their dogs. I took the spur off to the right on the quieter waterfall trail, took some pictures at the waterfall (which was flowing nicely due to abundant rains), and then continued down to the bottom of the mountain where I took the River Trail. Took this route along the side of the Ramapo Trail back to the Silver Trail right near the terminus, and then back to my car.

Map of the Route

Fisherman in the Ramapo River at the beginning of the hike.
Taken from the bridge.
Scarlet Oak Reservoir. Facing Hawk Rock.

View on the Ridge Trail.
Facing east with Ramapo College in View.

The view on the Ridge Trail. Facing South.

Another shot from the view on the Ridge Trail.
Facing southwest.

Mine Pit at the Nickel Mine, surrounded by the dumps.

MacMillan Reservoir, from the Dam. Facing northwest.

The waterfall near the bottom of the mountain.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Fingerboard Mountain & the Bottle Cap Trail

Harriman State Park,
Orange Co.,
New York

Hurst Trail: Blue blaze
Appalachian Trail: White blaze
Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail: Red blaze

Total Time: 2:15 hr
Estimated Distance: 2.8 Miles
Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Level of Recommendation: Recommended for beautiful flora
Points Of Interest: Beautiful and lush trees and plants

Hiking Partners:
Gary Greenstein

Google Maps of Parking:

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This was a hike in late autumn, and the first hike with all the trees already having shed their leaves. However, this hike goes through a beautiful area of Harriman State Park rich in different plant types such as evergreen Mountain Laurels, colorful lichen, and green pine and hemlock forests. So despite the leaves gone in most of the trees, this hike was still very colorful. We parked off Seven Lakes Drive off the entrance to Camp Thendara, but we got a notice on the windshield stating that it's illegal to park here. Glad there was no ticket and the car wasn't towed.

We took the short Hurst trail up to the Fingerboard Mountain shelter where it hits the combined Appalachian and Ramapo-Dunderberg Trails. Continued on the Ramapo-Dunderberg after the split, taking it all the way down to the Bottle Cap Trail. The Bottle Cap Trail is an unofficial trail with it's markings using bottlecaps, hence it's name. This trail is not recommended for inexperienced hikers due to its overgrown state and easyness in missing the markers. I was on this trail about three years ago and found it much easier to follow in the past then it was now. All the downed trees and flooding from the recent severe storms have taken a big toll on this unmaintained trail.

We took the Bottle Cap all the way to the end where it nears 7 Lakes Drive and then went back to our car.

Map of the Route

Ascending the Hurst Trail, Looking Towards the Shelter

Gary Reading the Trail Intersection Sign

On Top of Fingerboard Mountain. Facing West.

Gary Atop Fingerboard. Facing East Towards Lake Tiorati.

Lake Tiorati From Fingerboard Mnt.

Amazing Colors on the Mountaintop

More Amazing Colors. The Bright Red Plants are Blueberries.
Blueberries are late foliage plants.

Me Atop Fingerboard with the Red Blueberries

Fingerboard Viewpoint, facing southeast.
Jackie Jones Tower is in the Distance.

Bottle Cap Trail In the Valley.
Note the Marker on the Tree.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Montague Quartz Mine

Sussex Co.,
New Jersey

Estimated Distance:
1.6 Miles
Level of Difficulty: Easy until mine which requires difficult, steep, but shot hike up
Level of Recommendation: Recommended for good views and if you are interested in mining
Points Of Interest: Beautiful views of High Point and Mine

Google Maps of Parking:

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One of my other interests is exploratory mining, in which I explore old mining locations. This was more like mineral collecting but involved a beautiful area in which I was able to also hike. I had joined the North Jersey Mineral Society for this event, and we went as a group. Afterwards I went to explore the surrounding mountain and hiked along the ridge for a short while and got some excellent photos.

This hike is literally only a few short feet from the NY/NJ state border near Port Jervis in Montague. Its right off I-84 and is easily found. We parked at the shopping center parking area (Shoprite), crossed the street, went along the side to cross the bridge by the brook, and then headed down the path along a crystal-clear brook. According to our guide, this path was the original Route 23 before it was rerouted. There is an old abandoned small bridge crossing the brook which at one time carried the narrow old Route 23 across. As the brook opened up to a swamp on our right, we saw the rock outcrop along the side of the mountain, where the Quartz crystals exist.

We climbed up the rocky hill, and did some collecting from the upper part. Once I collected several nice transparent colorless Quartz crystals, I continued up the extremely steep slope to the top of the narrow ridge, and went along the side of the ridge to look for photo spots. I then snaked down, and went back to the quarry to the group, and then we all headed back with our finds.

Map of the Route
Some of the route is repeated.

Beautiful Fall Colors From the top of the Quarry.
Overlooking High Point State Park Tower.
Facing east.

View from the Mountain Top.
Looking Straight at the High Point Tower.
High Point is the highest point in New Jersey.
Facing east.

Another view from the ridge top.
Facing northeast.

The tranquil stream just before it opens into the swamp.

Club Members at the Montague Quartz Quarry.