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.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Kakiat Autumn Snow

Kakiat County Park
Rockland County, New York

Hiking Trails:
Mountain Trail: Orange blaze

Total Time: 0:45 hour
Estimated Distance: 1.4 miles
Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Level of Recommendation: Recommended
Points Of Interest: Short hike to nice view

Google Map of Parking:

View 2012 Hiking in a larger map

A week after Hurricane Sandy, we had a early season Nor'Easter snowstorm. It is extremely unusual to get snow in early November, and some of the late foliage trees still had some leaves on them. It only snowed about 4 inches of wet, fluffy snow, and by the end of the day it was all gone. I figured I had to take advantage of the rare snowstorm and take a short hike in the snow before it was all melted away. It was very odd to see snow with some trees that had leaves on them, and if it weren't for the rare October snowstorm last year, I would have said this is a one-in-a-lifetime experience. Well, I had this once-in-a-lifetime experience two years in a row.

I started at the Kakiat trailhead off Route 202, and took the Mountain Trail up to the lower viewpoint. I was amazed at the amount of downed trees throughout the hike, especially closer to the beginning. The cutting crews had been very busy clearing the trail due to the massive trail damage throughout the park. After the lower viewpoint I turned around and went the same way back.

Map of the Route

Bridge over the Mahwah River at the beginning of the hike

Mahwah River

Red Oak in the snow, at the beginning of the hike

Nice contrast of tree with foliage and snow.

A bunch of downed trees along the side of the trail,
freshly downed from Hurricane Sandy.

Trees chainsawed a few days ago that was blocking the trail.
The entire bottom part of Kakiat Park looked like this, due to
the large amount of downed trees.

Mountain Trail

Beautiful Elm Tree while Ascending

Lower Kakiat Viewpoint. Facing South.
Note the tree foliage and the snow.

Lower View, Facing Southeast.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Cascade of Slid and Halfway Mountain,
Harriman State Park

Rockland County,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Pine Meadow Trail Trail: Red blaze
Stony Brook Trail: Yellow blaze
Kakiat Trail: White blaze
Hillburn-Torne-Sebago Trail: Orange blaze

Total Time:
  1:30 hour
Estimated Distance: 2.7 miles
Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Level of Recommendation: Recommended
Points Of Interest: Scenic brook, waterfall, and view

Google Map of Parking:

View 2012 Hiking in a larger map

This was my first hike after Hurricane Sandy. Sandy brought major destruction to the New York area. Although the coastal regions were pounded by a terrible storm surge, further inland including Harriman only received strong wind damage in the form of downed trees. Though there were downed trees everywhere, the part of the park was spared, and was open and available to hiking. There was still minor fall foliage left, but for the most part the trees were already bare.

I parked at the Reeves Meadow area, took the Pine Meadow Trail to the Stony Brook Trail, to the Kakiat Trail, and then to the Cascade of Slid waterfall. The waterfall had a healthy amount of water, which made for nice photographs. I climbed up the short climb on the Hillburn-Torne-Sebago Trail to the Halfway Mountain lookout, and then climbed back down, crossed the brook on the washed-out bridge, and then too the Pine Meadow Trail all the way back.

Map of the Route

Remainder Foliage Along the Trail

More Foliage

Approaching the Cascade of Slid on the Rocky Part of the  Kakiat Trail

Cascade of Slid Waterfall

Cascade of Slid Waterfall

Cascade of Slid Waterfall - Main Waterfall

Spring with Water Coming Out of Rock

Halfway Mountain View

Foliage While Descending Halfway Mountain