Sunday, December 30, 2012

Long Path Snow Slide,
Lake Skanatati Area

Harriman State Park,
Rockland County,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Arden-Surebrige: Red blaze
Long Path: Green blaze
Various Bushwacks

Total Time: 1:40 hour
Estimated Distance: 2.35 miles
Level of Difficulty: Moderate, but more difficult because of snow
Level of Recommendation: Highly recommended, especially in the snow!
Points Of Interest: Great view, amazing snow sliding

Hiking Partners:
Debbie Koegel

Google Map of Parking:

View 2012 Hiking in a larger map

We had just gotten our first significant storm of the season on Saturday, and it had also snowed a few icy inches the previous Wednesday. So there were two layers of snow, with a new fresh layer. The lakes were not yet fully frozen, but one of my highlights of winter is doing a snow hike. The serenity and freshness of such hikes are truly exhilarating. I also like going down some of the hilly parts in fresh snow by sliding down. The tree cover has to be sparse and open, and the hill steep but not to steep to do this. This hike affords these options if you bushwack slightly off the trail, which is what we did.

We parked in the parking area off Seven Lakes Drive at Lake Skanatati. We took the Arden-Surebridge Trail up the mountain to the view. We then bushwacked from the view down to the Long Path, and this bushwack afforded a great snow-slide down the mountain. We continued along the Long Path up some hills and down some valley's, and were forced to turn around approaching the Nurian Trail due to time constraints (we had originally intended to reach the viewpoint on the Nurian Trail near the southern end of Hogencamp Mountain.

The route back was mostly bushwacking up and down hills and sliding down, parallel to the Long Path. Once we reached the western end of Lake Skanatati we took the Long Path along the side of the lake back to the parking area.

Map of the Route

Lake Skanatati Starting to Freeze

Me on the Top of Pine Swamp Mountain Lookout

Sliding Down Pine Swamp Mountain

Avichai at the Pine Swamp Brook

Hiking on the Long Path

Avichai at Lake Skanatati

Me at Lake Skanatati

View a time-lapse slideshow file of me sliding down the mountain in the snow.


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Long Path and First Reservoir

Harriman State Park,
Rockland County,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Long Path: Green blaze

Total Time: 0:50 hour
Estimated Distance: 2 miles
Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Level of Recommendation: Slightly recommended
Points Of Interest: Serene hike with tranquil reservoir

Google Map of Parking:

View 2012 Hiking in a larger map

It had just snowed about an inch the night before, and although by the time I went on this hike much of the snow had melted, there was still a little bit left. I parked on Call Hollow Road at the Long Path, and crossed the stream (which was a bit of a challenge since it was overflowing and the bridge was out). I took the Long Path up the mountain, where it climbs steadily on the north flank of the notch, and continued along past the ruins and eventually to the wide trail with the fiber optics line. Many trees had been down from Hurricane Sandy, but the crews had already reached this trail and cleaned it up nicely.

I then went down on the Fiber Optic Trail, to the First Reservoir, which is impressively tranquil body of water, and looks beautiful from the side of the dam where you can look ahead at the water and into the mountains. I then took the gated service road back down and back to my car.

Map of the Route
Small cascade at the beginning of the hike

Wet and snowy trail, with Horse Chock Mountain in Background

Old Ruins Along the Long Path

First Reservoir

First Reservoir with Horse Chock Mountain in Background

First Reservoir. The Water is Crystal Clear!

First Reservoir, with Beautiful Valley in Background.
Black and White.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Rockland Lake Loop

Rockland Lake State Park,
Rockland County,
New York

Hiking Trails:

Rockland Lake Loop path

Total Time: 1:10 hour
Estimated Distance: 3 miles
Level of Difficulty: Very easy
Level of Recommendation: Recommended for an easy walk, though too busy
Points Of Interest: Lake loop with nice views

Google Map of Parking:

View 2012 Hiking in a larger map

Rockland Lake is a well-known jogging and biking location. I had wanted a very relaxed walk, so this was perfect as it is not strenuous at all, and flat and paved the entire way. It technically is not really a hike since its a paved path, but due to the popularity of Rockland Lake and its scenic overtures I included it here.

The biggest problem with Rockland Lake is that it is always busy. Although the weather was very cold and gloomy, it was still a Sunday and was full of joggers, which took away from the serenity. Normally there is an $8 charge on weekends, but in the winter there is no one there so it is free. I parked in the main parking area north of the lake, and headed west and looped around the lake counterclockwise. There is much pretty scenery to be seen, and there is always interesting wildlife at the lake. The loop around the lake is almost exactly 3 miles. Rockland Lake is the area's largest natural lake, and was the former home of the largest ice-making company, the Knickerbocker Ice Company.

Map of the Route

Looking east towards Hook Mountain behind Rockland Lake

Looking northwest towards Hi Tor

A Pretty Swan, Near an Eider Duck

Informational Plaque Describing Knickerbocker Ice Company
on the ruins of the old factory/warehouse

A really nice falcon. Don't know specifically which type this is.
It was in midst of eating some sort of rodent, when it turned and
noticed me nearby with my camera.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Little Tor in the Fog

Hi Tor State Park,
Near Haverstraw
Rockland County,
New York

Hiking Trails:

Long Path: Green blaze
Low Tor Trail: White blaze

Total Time: 1:00 hour
Estimated Distance: 2.5 miles
Level of Difficulty: Easy
Level of Recommendation: Recommended
Points Of Interest: Easy hike to good view

Google Map of Parking:

View 2012 Hiking in a larger map

Low Tor offers a good view of the Haverstraw area. It is on the Palisades Sill, and is the smaller brother of High Tor, which is the highest point on the Palisades, and about a mile or two west of Low Tor. While High Tor affords a more rugged and steep climb, the Low Tor hike from South Central Highway is very and level, except for a small part that climbs up at the end. Low Tor sticks out about 200 feet from the surrounding ridge, and its northern side is almost a sheet cliff about 600 feet above.

We parked in the parking area on South Central Highway on top of the mountain, and took the Long Path down and continued along past the power lines. The Long Path in this area is in fact a very wide trail with very easy elevation grade. At the intersection of the Low Tor Trail, the trail steeply climbs for a short while to the top.

This was a very foggy day with very poor visibility. We got to the view and could see absolutely nothing. It was a very eerie feeling with such intense fog, especially with the recent graffiti painted over some rocks and trees on the Long Path.

Map of the Route

Walking along the Long Path

Shimmy at the Viewless View

Climb to the top of Little Tor

Me in the fog at the view. Note the cliff edge behind me.

Another view of me in the fog.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Monks Trail Loop,
Monksville Reservoir

Long Pond Ironworks State Park
Passaic Co.,
New Jersey

Hiking Trails:
Monks Trail: White blaze
Monks Trail Lookout: Yellow blaze

Total Time: 1:20 hour
Estimated Distance: 3 miles
Level of Difficulty: Slightly difficult
Level of Recommendation: Highly Recommended
Points Of Interest: Nice lake view, historical mine, cactus grove

Google Map of Parking:

View 2012 Hiking in a larger map

This looks like a shorter and simpler hike on the map than reality. Also the top spur to the lookout is missing on my 2002 map edition, and the Monks Trail is not listed as a loop. I really need to update my maps of this area. I parked the car at the boat launch at the Monksville Reservoir, and walked up to Greenwood Lake Turnpike, where I went to catch the Lookout Trail. On the map it shows this trail starts here, but in fact it now starts at the end of the parking area and forms a complete loop, ending at the same point where it starts. I went along the trail to the Winston Mine, and explored a little bit around here. Then continued along the trail to the other side of the Monksville Reservoir, where there is a different parking area. At this point the trail climbs steeply up the mountain, and there is a spur on top to a beautiful view. At this view is a nice cactus grove. I then went back to the Monks Trail and continued along down to the mountain, and then alongside the reservoir near the end of the trail.

Map of the Route.
Note the USGS Map was mapped prior to the
creation of the Monksville Reservoir, so I artificially added it in Photoshop.

Main pit of the Winston Mine

Another large pit in the Winston Mine

View from the 2nd parking area halfway along the hike.


View from Atop the Lookout. Facing south across
the Monksville Resrervoir

Same view with broader perspective

Some sort of hut on top by the lookout.

Cactus Grove at the Summit.
The cacti are withered this time of year.

Shore of the reservoir near the end of the hike
where the trail makes its final descent.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Terrace Pond at Bearfort Mountain

Wawayanda State Park,
Passaic Co.,
New Jersey

Hiking Trails:
Terrace Pond North Trail: Blue blaze
Terrace Pond Trail: White blaze

Total Time:  2:15 hour
Estimated Distance: 4.2 miles
Level of Difficulty: Difficult
Level of Recommendation: Highly Recommended
Points Of Interest: Good climb, interesting rock formations, and impressively scenic natural lake

Google Map of Parking:

View 2012 Hiking in a larger map

Many parks and trails were still closed in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. I was in the vicinity of West Milford, and had heard about the scenic and serene Terrace Pond which is nearby, so I took this opportunity. Terrace Pond is a natural Lake high up on top of Bearfort Mountain, known for its interesting purple puddingstone rock, with rough climbing exposures and scrambles.

I parked at the trailhead at Clinton Road, and took the Terrace Pond North Trail. The first part is a scenic and tranquil part with an even terrain, and then the trail meets up with a gas pipeline which it briefly climbs, steeply. After the pipeline there are some nice scrambles and views, and eventually Terrace Pond is reached, with its beautiful waters and cliffs plunging into the lake. This is a natural lake and is not dammed. The trail goes over its outlet, which is on the south of the lake, and I found this part extremely flooded and muddy, and very difficult to navigate.

I then veered off on the white-blazed Terrace Pond Trail, which loops around the lake. After completing the trail, I was back at the Terrace Pond North Trail, and I took that trail back the same way I came.

At the pond, I met two park volunteers, who were scouting the area for downed trees to cut along the trails. They had mentioned to me they sighted a bear in the vicinity of the pipeline, so I should be cautious. I didn't see any bear here, but apparently many others have sighted bears on this hike in the vicinity of the pipeline.

Map of the Route

Sign Kiosk at the beginning of the hike

Rocks Crossing a stream

Gas Pipeline. The Bear lives around here.

Steep Rocks Climbing the Pipeline

View from atop the pipeline

Rock Face at Scramble at the main view

Rounded, glaciated rock protruding up at the view

View, facing west.

Same view, facing southwest.

Terrace Pond, from the south shore.

Natural outlet of Terrace Pond.
This area lacks a bridge and is very muddy and difficult to cross.

Terrace pond, from the east shore facing west.