Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Pine Meadow / Stony Brook After Hurricane Irene

Harriman State Park
Rockland County,
New York

Pine Meadow Trail: Red Blaze
Stony Brook Trail: Orange Blaze
Kakiat Trail: White Blaze
Hillburn Torne Sebago (HTS) Trail: Orange Blaze

Total Time: 1:15 hr
Estimated Distance: 2.5 Miles

Level of Difficulty: Moderate to Slightly Difficult
Level of Interest: Beautiful hike along a roaring brook
Points Of Interest: Deep Scenic Valley after Power Lines, Cascade of Slid Waterfall

Google Maps of Parking:

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Hurricane Irene left a tremedous amount of rain in Harriman as well as significant damage. I took this hike three days after the hurricane to see the water level in the brook and observe the damage caused by the storm. Seven Lakes Drive was closed and apparently the bridge crossing the Ramapo River had been severely damaged by the rivers sheer force. I had to take an alternate route using Washington Ave, where I encountered serveral National Guard Troops helping with the rebuilding efforts. There was a bridge in Sloatsburg that was entirely washed away leaving several homes stranded, and the National Guardsmen were assisting with the reconstruction. Once I got to the hike, I found the Stony brook was roaring, and it was at the highest level I have ever seen it. The first bridge across the Stony Brook (Kakiat Trail) was entirely washed away. The second bridge across the Pine Meadow Brook (Kakiat and Stony Brook Trail) was very damaged and pretty much unusable (this bridge was very recently rebuilt so it was brand new at the time of its destruction). The third bridge across the Pine Meadow Brook (HTS Trail) was entirely washed away.

I parked at the Reeves Meadow Visitor Center off 7 Lakes Drive near Sloatsburg. Hiked the Pine Meadow Trail along the brook to the Stony Brook Trail. I crossed the brook at the broken bridge which was barely usable, but I was able to balance across. Then I went along the the Kakiat Trail past the Cascade of Slid waterfall. The HTS Trail bridge was washed away, so I went just a bit further upstream to cross the brook over the rocks, which turned out to be incredibly challenging due to the high water volume. Once I crossed I took the Pine Meadow Trail back towards the return and back to my car.

Map of the Route.

Kakiat Trail Bridge Washed Away

The Only "Standing" Bridge:
The Bridge of the Kakiat and Stony Brook Trail.
This bridge was new - I think it was built in 2009.

Close up on the only standing bridge.

Cascase of Slid Waterfall. Overflowing.

Location of where the HTS Bridge Once Stood.
There is one pole of the bridge remaining.

National Guardsman in Sloatsburg at Work.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Harriman State Park after Hurricane Irene

Rockland County,
New York

This was the day after Hurricane Irene. It was a calm and beautiful day, and I wanted to do a hike in Harriman State Park to check the damage in the park. I had tried several routes towards Harriman, but many of the roads were closed due to downed trees, downed power lines, and washed away bridges. I finally got to the entrance at Gate Hill Road, but the park was closed with barricades along the road. I parked the car to investigate, and clearly saw why the park had been closed. Some parts of the road were entirely washed away, other parts had large rocks strewn across the entire surface area, and there were downed trees and power lines all over the place. The park had clearly experienced significant damage, the worst that I can remember. I hiked down to the waterfalls along the Minnesceongo Creek below the road, which were roaring and furious. I was afraid to venture further due to the flooding and downed lines and trees, so cancelled my hiking plans and went back to work. Unfortunately my camera battery had died, so I was forced to take the pictures with my cell phone camera, so the photos are not great and don't do justice.

Willow Grove Road. All Covered with Rocks.
The Minesceongo Creek Waterfall.
Gate Hill Road closed into the park.
Parts of the road up ahead were washed away.
Downed trees and Power Lines on Gate Hill Road.
This was already two days after the storm and there are still live wires!
Part of the road washed away.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Kakiat During Hurricane Irene

Kakiat County Park
Rockland County,
New York

Total Time: 1:40 hr
Estimated Distance: 2.2 miles

Hiking Trails:
Mountain Trail: orange blaze
Kakiat Trail: white blaze

Hiking Parter:
Shimmy Rosenberg

Google Map of Parking:

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Hurricane Irene was not the monster they thought it would be, and it hit the area as a powerful tropical storm instead of a full-blown hurricane. However, the amount of rain it dropped on the area was absolutely incredible, with an excess of 11 inches in about a 12 hour period. The flooding in the area was historical and catastrophic, with many roads and bridges washed away.

The rain had ended and the sun was peeking through the cloud cover, and the winds had died down so we thought it was safe to venture out to a nearby hike. Actually we should have taken the warning signs to stay put as almost all the roads to get to there were closed by downed trees or downed power lines. I didn't quite realize just how bad things were until stepping out and heading for the hike. We eventually got to Kakiat, and noticed there was no way to get in - the Mahwah River had entirely flooded the area as well as the entrance and parking area to Kakiat. Not wanting to miss out, I drive to a more obscure entrance at West Gate Road through the back route. The road there was also flooded but still passable.

I parked the car and we proceeded to venture in, but a large tree was blocking the entrance and there was a full stream flowing on the path. I was wearing boots so was able to go into the flood stream and over the fallen tree. We took some views of the area entirely flooded and stood in disbelief at the speed and force that the river was flowing. The entire area was under water, and some parts were simply washed away, including the new foot road they built from the park entrance. We proceeded to climb the mountain, and for almost the entire way up the path was a flowing stream and waterfall. We finally got to the top, took some pictures of Manhattan which were clearly viewable under the gray cloud cover, and then proceeded our way down. As we were on our way back, the winds started picking up and then became very intense. The gusts started blowing severely and we were getting really scared as branches were starting to fall all over the place. We picked up speed and ran back to the refuge of our car.

I had mistakenly thought that once the rain ended and the sun came out that the storm was over. But we were in for a surprise with the howling winds that picked up afterwards. Had we known about this we would never have ventured out. I am glad we made it back and able to write this in the blog.

Map of the Route.
I forgot to include the detour of the gas line path
and the Kakiat Trail at the bottom of the mountain.
The Kings Gate Entrance to Kakiat.
Note the downed tree and stream on the path.
The Mahwah River way over its banks.
Note the park benches underwater.
The Overflowing Mahwah River near the new bridge.
Ironically that sign in the water says "No Swimming".
The road totally overflowing and washed away.
I am standing on the bridge over the river -
all this ahead is supposed to be dry.
The beginning of the orange trail.
Much of the trail looked this way with fallen branches strewn about.
The orange Mountain Trail is one big waterfall all the way down.
The Manhattan Skyline in the Distance from the top of Kakiat
The flooded Kakiat Trail
Parks Department Crew replacing the washed out path.
This photo was taken several days later when they were replacing the washed out road.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Green Lakes State Park

Onondaga County,
New York

Total Time:
0:50 hr
Estimated Distance: 3.1 miles
Level of Difficulty: Easy
Level of Interest: Hike around two nteresting and scenic lakes
Points Of Interest: Green Lake, Deadman's Flat, Round Lake

Hiking Trails:
Green Lake Trail
Round Lake Trail

Google Map of Parking:

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This trip was part of our family camping trip. We stayed at Green Lakes Campground due to its central location around the area we were vacationing. Green Lakes Park consists of two glacial lakes that have an interesting green color and are extremely deep. There is a trail that goes around both lakes, and two trails also connect the lakes for a complete loop.

The first two photos were actually taken the evening before when I was just doing a short hike exploring the campground; the rest were taken on my main hike around both lakes.

Map of the Route

Round Lake before sunset. Note the green color!
Green Lake before Sunset.
Green Lake Near the Beach
Sign Explaining the Lake as Being Meromictic
View Looking North to Beath at Deadman's Flat
A good view of Deadman's Flat. These Calcite buildups in the water
are formed by organisms that secrete calcium carbonate.

Sign Explaining Deadman's Flat
Me Atop Deadlman's Flat
Round Lake from the Southern End

Monday, August 22, 2011

Buttermilk Falls State Park

Buttermilk Falls State Park,
Tompkins County,
New York

Total Time: 1:30 hr (including several stops)
Estimated Distance: 1.7 miles
Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Level of Interest: Very interesting with beautiful waterfalls along the way, highly recommended.
Points Of Interest: Gorge Trail through the gorge with continuous waterfalls, Pinnacle Rock, Main Waterfall at the end.

Google Map of Parking:

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This trip was part of our family camping trip. Its a beautiful hike through a gorge with one waterfall after another, and the trail that goes through the gorge is especially scenic and well-designed. We parked in the upper area by West King Road and hiked down. This part of the park is much quieter and natural then the lower more popular entrance to the park. It is also free, as opposed to the main park entrance where they charge about $8.

We took the gorge trail down the west side of the gorge, passing many pretty waterwalls along the way. The trail goes down to the bottom where the final main waterfall cascades down a thick rock face. On the way back I took the Rim Trail which goes along the eastern flank above the gorge. This trail is alot less dramatic then the gorge trail, but its a change of scenery.

Map of the Route
The First Falls Along the Gorge Trail
Pinnacle Rock.
This is a really odd standalone rock formation
sticking out right in middle of the gorge.
Another Falls Along the Gorge Trail
A multi-tiered falls.
Yet Another Falls
The Top Part of the Drop at the Main Lower Falls
The Main Lower Falls.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Waterfall at headwaters of Willowemoc Creek

Near Parksville,
Sullivan County,
New York

When I was a child I went to camp in the Catskills near Parksville. There was a beatiful waterfall along the headwaters of the Willowemoc Creek we would hike to near the camp. I had remembered where these waterfalls were, but haven't been there since I was a kid. Since I was staying in the Catskills for a week, I decided to see if I could find these waterfalls. It had just rained several inches the day before, so I figured this was a great oppurtunity. I did find the falls and indeed they were beatiful and just as I had remembered them. Since they are on private property I am not posting any locality or other info, just the pictures.

The main waterfalls.
The drop is about 50 feet.

Side view of the main waterfalls.

One of the side waterfalls.

Walnut Mountain

near Liberty,
Catskill Mountains,
Sullivan County,
New York

Total Time: 1:20 hr
Estimated Distance: 2.1 miles
Level of Difficulty: Easy
Level of Interest: Not interesting; poorly marked trails and lousy view.
Points Of Interest: Good biking trails, but not much interest in way of hiking.

Google Map of Parking:

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Walnut Mountain is a very visible mountain in Sullivan County, New York. It is not a big mountain and I have seen it many times spending some of my summer days in the Catskills, and was staying in Monticello for the week and decided I will climb this mountain. I saw on Google Maps there is a park called William E Pearson Park where the mountain is, so I went to explore. There are many different two-lane trails going up the mountain, presumably for biking, as well as several spur hiking trails. I didn't know which to take and there was no clear markings on the trail, making this a confusing mountain to climb. Once I got to the summit I tried looking around different areas for a view, but there was none to be found. I eventually found somewhat of a view in a clearing of trees slightly below the southern portion of the mountain. I then looped around the mountain again on the path and found a different way out back to where I parked.

Map of the Route
Orange Salamander while climbing up.
There were lots of these to be found on the trail.
Rock Formations near the Summit.
The best view I could get. Facing South.
Another angle of the view.
You can see Route 17 in the distance near Monticello.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Bear Mountain Trail Walk

Bear Mountain State Park,
Rockland and Orange Counties,
New York

Total Time: 2:00 hr
Estimated Distance: 3.3 miles
Level of Difficulty: Very easy (paved walking)
Level of Interest: Interesting and Recommended for an easy walk.
Points Of Interest: Zoo, view of Bear Mountain Bridge, Scenic Lake Walk

Appalachian Trail (AT): White blaze
1777E Trail: Red blaze
Hessian Lake Loop Path
AT Zoo Bypass Trail: Blue Blaze

Google Map of Parking:

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This is more a walk than a hike, being all on paved paths throughout. But it is especially scenic and also I had originally intended to go on the hike part, and also many of the paved paths are in face hiking trails. Hence I included this together with the hikes on my blog. The weather was very humid and they were predicting thunderstorms. So I opted to do a fairly simple hike. My original intention was to take the Twin Forts Trail underneath the Bear Mountain Bridge, but this trail was closed and locked by a fence, presumably do to the storm predications and the slippery rock that is present on this trail.

I parked in the lower parking area off of Route 9W in Bear Mountain, near the Hudson River Landing. I walked up the path that goes through the zoo, and then walked through the zoo. The zoo actually follows the AT and the 1777E trail throughout its route. Once I realized the Twin Forts Trail was closed, I turned around and headed back, and veered out underneath the Route 9W pedestrian tunnel to Hessian Lake. I walked around Hessian Lake on the path, then came back under the Route 9w tunnel, where I noticed a new blue path immediately after the tunnel on the east side. I blindly followed this short trail as it bypassed the zoo and ended it by the worker parking area for the Bear Mountain Bridge, which made me realize this was a zoo bypass trail for the AT when the zoo is closed. I went the the zoo again, and then took an unmarked trail parallel to the paved path down to the River Landing and back to my car.

Map of the Route

AT Trailhead marker and 1777E Trail terminus marker in middle of the zoo.

View of Bear Mountain Bridge and Anthony's Nose.

Another view of the Bear Mountain Bridge.

Five Lined Skink, one of the only 2 species of lizards in the NY area.
These seem to be more and more common around lately.