Sunday, March 31, 2013

Cheescote Mountain Loop

Cheescote Mountain County Park
Rockland County,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Long Path: Green blaze
Unmarked Trails

Total Time: 1:20 hour
Estimated Distance: 2.5 miles
Level of Difficulty: Moderate to Slightly Difficult
Level of Recommendation: Slightly Recommended
Points Of Interest: Pond and view
Pros: Scenic Pond and Nice view
Cons: Around a built-up area, path around pond recently paved, not enough marked trails, part of this area creepy

Hiking Partner:
Shimmy Rosenberg

Google Map of Parking:

View 2013 Hiking Locations in a larger map

Cheesecote Mountain is an individual mountain jutting out adjacent to the Ramapo Mountain escarpment. It is not part of Harriman State Park, and  half the mountain is built up with million-dollar homes, and the other half is preserved as parkland. There are many trails and paths in this park, though the only official marked trail is the Long Path, which enters on one side and comes out the other.

We parked on Call Hollow Road by the Cemetery Access area, and headed up the Long Path from there. In less than five minutes the trail hits a cemetery, and skirts around it. The cemetery looks like some sort of veteran's cemetery. From there the Long Path crosses under the power lines, and starts climbing the mountain. On the right side of the trail there are houses in the distance. We then walked around the pond, which was recently paved all around, taking away from its natural setting. We then took a northern spur trail up to the top of the mountain and a good viewpoint, and then down a little to a bushwack. We bushwacked to a wide trail skirting the northern part of the mountain, which eventually on to Call Hollow Road.

Map of the Route

Entrance of the Cemetary

The Long Path Skirting by the Cemetery

Cheesecoate Pond, from the Long  Path

Large House Behind  the Paved Path around Cheesecoate Pond.
This path was just recently paved for some reason.

View from the Cheesecoate Mountain Summit.
Facing west towards Jackie Jones Mountain and Tower.

Another view from the Summit, Facing West.
Note Gate Hill Road Snaking Up the Mountain
Shimmy Descending the Steep, Rocky Path
Along the Northern Flank of Cheesecoate Mountain

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Halfway Mountain Last Season Snow
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: 2.65 miles
Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Level of Recommendation: Recommended
Points Of Interest: Scenic brook, waterfall, and view
Pros: Very scenic area, especially after the gas pipeline
Cons: Often many people present on weekends

Hiking Partner:

Rachel Friedman

Google Map of Parking:

View 2013 Hiking Locations in a larger map

This was really the last hike in the snow. It was already late March and most of the snow had melted from the storm the prior week, but here in this deep valley the sun hadn't been able to reach the snow and melt it, so there was plenty around. I do this trail often, so apologize for all of you seeing this hike again, but this is a really pretty area and looks different in every season.

We parked at the Reeves Meadow area, and took the Pine Meadow Trail to the Stony Brook Trail, to the Kakiat Trail, and then to the Cascade of Slid waterfall. We then 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

Intersection of the Pine Meadow and Stony Brook Trails

Cascade of Slid Waterfall

Along the side of the Gorge after the pipeline.
This part of the hike is very scenic.

View from Halfway Mountain looking at North Hill.

View from Halfway Mountain looking northwest

Me at the Halfway Mountain View

Me at the Halfway Mountain View

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Monsey Glen County Park

Rockland County,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Monsey Glen Trail: White blaze

Total Time: 20 minutes
Estimated Distance: 0.7 miles
Level of Difficulty: Very Easy
Points Of Interest: Sandstone cliffs and caves
Pros: Historical valley and caves
Cons: Very urban feeling surrounded by busy roads, highways, and power lines

Google Map of Parking:

View 2013 Hiking Locations in a larger map

This is more of a walk in the woods than a hike. The area is right near my office, and I had a few extra minutes during lunch to do this short hike. I would not even list this in the blog because it is more of a walk than a hike, but the snow made it prettier than usual so I decided to post it with the photos.

Monsey Glen is an historical area where there are naturally formed caves have formed in the sandstone along a steep embankment on the sides of the Saddle River. Ancient Native American artifacts such as arrowheads have been found in these caves. Though the area is preserved, it is right outside a busy area, surrounded by Route 59, the Thruway, and Saddle River Road. There is a constant noise of trucks from the Thruway throughout, diminishing the tranquility. There is also heavy construction of multi-family homes immediately west of the park, which are clearly visible from the top of the stream embankment and take away from the natural area.

The trails in the park are all blazed white, and this trail can be taken as a loop through the park. There are some central cutback trails as well that are also blazed white. This hike is very short and easy.

Map of the Route

Beginning of the Trail at the Parking Area

Evergreen Mountain Laurel Along the Trail
View Across to some of the Caves

View of some of the caves with the multi-family
home construction just outside the park

Interesting Carved Step in the Sandstone

The Saddle River, with a downed tree from Sandy

A Sandstone Cave

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Fawn Trail And West Mountain

Rockland and Orange Counties,
New York

Hiking Trails:

Anthony Wayne Trail: White blaze
Fawn Trail: Red blaze
Appalachian Trail: White blaze
Timp-Torne Trail: Blue blaze

Total Time: 1:30 hour
Estimated Distance: 2.75 miles
Level of Difficulty: Difficult
Level of Recommendation: Highly Recommended
Points Of Interest: Great climb, amazing views, rock scrambles
Pros: Some of the best scenery and climbing in the area
Cons: None

Google Map of Parking:

View 2013 Hiking Locations in a larger map

The winter season seems to be going well into March. There was another fresh coating of snow of about 1 to 2 inches, and this entirely coated everything and presented me with yet another snow hike. The area of West Mountain provides some of the best hiking in the region, with rugged climbs and excellent views. This hike is particularly pretty in the snow, but does present challenges with ice and is slippery on the rocky climbs.

I parked in the Anthony Wayne Rec Area off the Palisades Parkway, and took the Anthony Wayne Trail for a short period of time to the Fawn Trail. The Fawn Trail climbs up the foot of West Mountain, and then skirts along its northern side. I took the Fawn Trail in its entirety to the Appalachian Trail, which climbs all the way up the mountain. There is an amazing view facing north at the intersection with the Timp-Torne Trail, and then across the ridge on the other side facing west and south. I went the short distance across the ridge to the other view, and then took the Timp-Torne Trail down the mountain along this rocky part which has some very good scrambles. I then took the Fawn Trail back to the Anthony Wayne Trail back to my car.

Map of the Route

Snow Covered Fawn Trail along the Foot of  West Mnt

Ascending West Mountain Along the Snowy Appalachian Trail

View Near the Top Facing East
Towards the Hudson River and Dunderberg Mountain

Bear Mountain from the Eastern View. Looking North.

The Western Slope of Bear Mountain and the Northern Highlands

Another View of  Bear Mountain, Zoomed Out.
Note the Red Color on the Trees as they Attempt to Bloom

View Across the Ridge as the Summit is Reached.
Facing West.

View from the Summit. Facing  East Across the Palisades Parkway

View of the Anthony Wayne Parking  Area from the Summit.
View Facing North from the Summit

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Irish Potato
Harriman State Park

Rockland County,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Suffern-Bear Mountain Trai: Yellow blaze

Total Time: 0:35 hour
Estimated Distance: 1.2 miles
Level of Difficulty: Easy
Points Of Interest: Short hike in a tranquil area, interesting rock formation
Pros: Peaceful area with nice streams, nice rock formation
Cons: No good view

Hiking Partner:
Shimmy Rosenberg

Google Map of Parking:

View 2013 Hiking Locations in a larger map

Though much of the snow from Friday had melted, there was still good coverage in the mountains, so I am happy to present yet another snow hike. Though this winter has been disappointing in that the lakes were never fully frozen and accessible for walking upon, there were so many snow events, even small ones, that allowed the mountains to be covered in  snow for almost the entire season.

I had a trade show to attend in New Jersey this Sunday, so I really had to do a short hike. I was a bit disappointed to do such a short hike considering the snow and the bright blue sky, which always create an amazing contrast together. But sometimes that's the reality, so I take what I can get.

We parked at the trailhead on County Route 106 right after the entrance to Harriman State Park. We took the Suffern-Bear Mountain Trail north along the stream and then up the hill to the top where the Irish Potato sits. The Irish Potato is a very large glacial rock sitting atop the bedrock floor. There are sticks setup on the north side to climb it, but my attempt at this was dissuaded due to the icy conditions. After walking around the rock we turned around and headed back along the same route.

Map of the route

Hiking along the stream

SBM Trail before the ascent up Irish Mountain

The Irish Potato

The other side of the Irish Potato,
with me unsuccessfully attempting to climb it

View atop Irish Mountain where the Potato is

Friday, March 8, 2013

Kakiat Late Season Snowstorm

Kakiat County Park
Rockland County,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Old Mill Trail: Blue blaze
Kakiat Trail: White blaze

Total Time: 0:30 hour
Estimated Distance: 1.3 miles
Level of Difficulty: Very easy
Points Of Interest: Beautiful walk alongside river
Pros: Tranquil, quick, and easy
Cons: Trails are too wide

Google Map of Parking:

View 2013 Hiking Locations in a larger map

This hike was during a snowstorm - likely the last one of the season. The forecasters had predicted only a few inches, but in the morning we all woke up to about 5 inches and it kept on snowing. The National Weather Service promptly issued a Winter Storm Warning. I drove during the storm to Kakiat Park. The roads were not so good but were still drivable, especially for a 4 wheel drive. Being that it was actively snowing and was a weekday, I didn't have the time to climb the mountain, so just hiked around the foot. This hike was incredible because of the type of snow - a heavy wet snow that had clinged to everything. The trees were absolutely beautiful, fully covered on all branches.

I crossed the bridge over the Mahwah River, took the Old Mill Trail alongside the river, and then at the end continued on the parallel Kakiat Trail. I then veered off to one of the small unmarked trails (Kakiat is full of these wide unmarked trail crisscrossing the foot of the mountain), to a big open meadow, and then along back a loop on some other trails back to the bridge and back to my car.

(Please excuse the watermarks - I forgot to turn them off for a different project I was working on for and did not want to have to go through the hassle of redoing all the pictures.)

Map of the Route

Snow covered trail kiosk at the beginning of the hike

Slush-covered swamp at the beginning of the hike

Heading into the park about to cross the bridge

Mahwah River. Looking south from the bridge.

Mahwah River. Looking north from the bridge into the marshy area.

Snow-covered bridge over the Mahwah River

Hiking along the Old Mill Trail
Snow-covered evergreens near the end of the hike